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Noted here yesterday: ...if the Hilton thinks the attention will fade over the holiday weekend, they're in for a rude surprise.
And today the Fran O'Brien's story has made the local papers - which in this case is the Washington Post
"It looks like they're kicking us out," sighed Marty O'Brien, son of the late Redskins offensive lineman Fran O'Brien, before closing the restaurant yesterday afternoon for the Easter weekend.The media loves stories like this on holiday weekends.
For the past 2 1/2 years, O'Brien and business partner Hal Koster have made their thick steak dinners and a night of bottomless drinks one of the rites of passage for the soldiers who are steeling themselves for their postwar lives in wheelchairs or with prosthetic limbs.
They come to the subterranean restaurant, at the corner of 16th and L streets NW in the basement of the Capital Hilton, in volunteer's vans and trucks. They're carefully wheeled down the stairs or slowly negotiate the steps on crutches. It has become a tradition so beloved among veterans that Garry Trudeau featured the dinners in his Doonesbury comic strip.
"We're going to try to relocate. And we'd like to stay in downtown D.C.," O'Brien said.
The Hilton has offered to help take over the Friday night dinner tradition. Management has suggested the dinners could move to a ballroom or the hotel's other restaurant, Twigs.
"Twigs? Nah, . . . they don't get it. It's not just about a place and some food," he said.
A great look at the back story of the dinners (Do not miss this!)
An opportunity for you to submit questions to Hilton management (Andi has been doing the hard work on this story even while finalizing the details of the milblog conference. She's awesome.)
Follow the links, trackbacks, and comments and you'll see a great example of an army of Davids at work. This isn't about the Hilton screwing the wounded troops - it's about the guys who were supporting the troops being kicked to the curb. At this point it seems nothing's going to stop that. So while the dinners at Fran O'Brien's have always been quiet affairs conducted by those not seeking a spotlight it's time to make sure the Hilton's actions occur in the bright light of day.
Update: Fran O'Brien's has a great web page.
And Michelle Malkin is on board. Awesome.