“There’s a lot of history at The Guards, which from what I have heard was once the playground of celebrities and politicians alike, and we’ve quickly come to realize that the sign is sentimental to many locals,” says restaurant co-owner and entrepreneur, Ben Kirane, who along with co-owners Moe and Joe Idrissi, who also own Thunder Burger & Bar, and Bodega Spanish Tapas & Lounge.
DC locals aren't the only ones who covet the treasures from The Guards. As the unconfirmed legend goes, Elton John once dined there, and fell so in love with the fireplace on the lower level that he offered to buy it for $100,000 on the spot. The owner graciously declined the offer. Rialto owners aren't expecting quite as much for the sign, however they anticipate the sign will go for around $10,000 or more.
The closing of The Guards is emotional for many, but locals have a lot to look forward to with the opening of Rialto, whose menu and décor have been designed to transport diners to Venice with every dish. Featuring partially open kitchens, Rialto will serve up fresh-made pasta, imported specialty ingredients, and fresh seafood, and offers a cheese counter. The décor is unique, custom made, and most of the items have been imported from Europe. The menu features a variety of dishes that are meat- and seafood-based, as well as a variety of vegetarian-friendly dishes.
“It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that we bring Rialto to Georgetown, a place where the residents celebrate the history of their surroundings, and we look forward to becoming a part of that history,” adds Kirane.