D.C.’s Clyde’s group sold to former Washington Post owner

The purchase price of the 13-restaurant group was not disclosed.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Clyde’s Restaurant Group, the Washington, D.C., operator of Old Ebbitt Grill and the eight-unit Clyde’s saloon chain, has been acquired by the holding company of Washington’s famed Graham family, best known as the former owner and operator of The Washington Post. 

The price paid by Graham Holdings Co., formerly known as The Washington Post Co., were not disclosed.

The deal keeps a Washington institution in the hands of another one. Since 1963, the Clyde’s brand has been a prominent fixture in the nighttime scene of D.C.’s Georgetown area, providing a favorite watering hole to politicians, diplomats, students of Georgetown University and businesspeople from the area. It branched out in 1970 to fine dining with the purchase in 1970 of Ebbitt Grill, a downtown Washington landmark. The 160-year-old restaurant ranks as No. 5 on Restaurant Business’  list of the 100 top-grossing independent restaurants, with annual revenues of nearly $34 million. 

Clyde’s also operates one-of-a-kinds such as The Hamilton, 1789 Restaurant, The Soundry and The Tombs. It owns and manages 13 restaurants in the D.C. area in total.

The fate of the company has been in question since the death early this year of longtime CEO John Laytham, who started as a dishwasher in the original Clyde's in 1963. 

Graham Holdings is the investment arm of the Graham family, whose ancestor, Eugene Meyer, bought the Post in 1933. The company would later add Newsweek magazine to its holdings.

Today, many of its holdings are in the educational field.

It is currently headed by Don Graham, the son of Katharine Graham, publisher of the Post during its coverage of the Watergate scandal by reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. 

 Clyde’s is led by President Tom Meyer. 

“For 56 years, Clyde’s Restaurant Group has served the Washington, D.C., area and has built a great business based on our commitment to quality and service,” he said in a statement. “Graham Holdings Co. is well suited to be the new steward of the Clyde’s brands in that we share the same values and dedication to the region. We are excited to join such a well-respected company and equally excited about the future.” 

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