The Young & Hungry columnin the Washington City Paper (which abhors the name Washington but uses it anyway) revealed today that Sam Fitz, beverage director at Pizzeria Paradiso, will soon depart after only a few months on the job.
Jessica Sidman reported: “Beer aficionado Sam Fitz is leaving his position as bar manager of Pizzeria Paradiso over the next month to open his own place with his sister Rachel Fitz. He’s not revealing a lot of the details at this time, but the business will be in D.C. and take inspiration from a cider-focused trip he took to the French and Spanish Basque country last February. He’s registered an LLC for Basque Bar.”
In a statement to the City Paper, Pizzeria Paradiso owner Ruth Gresser said, “Sam’s tenure at Pizzeria Paradiso was always seen as a transitional one, both for him and for Pizzeria Paradiso.”
Longtime Paradiso manager Josh Fernands is slated to take over the beer program after Fitz’s departure sometime in the next month.
The first clue that something was going to happen at Duffy’s Irish Pub (2106 Vermont Ave. NW), for me, came yesterday when the Satellite Room (2047 9th St. NW), the diner located behind the 9:30 Club, announced it would start giving a free shot of Jameson to anyone who produced a 9:30 Club ticket stub after seeing a show when they bought a beer.
Hey, I said, they stole that idea from Duffy’s.
Except PoPville already reported rumors that Duffy’s was set to close at midnight last night, and other sources indicated that owner Andy Duffy couldn’t afford to keep the place afloat any longer. Duffy would offer $5 beer and free wings, long rated the best in the city by the Washington CityPaper’s Best of DC readers poll, as long as they lasted.
Sam Fitz and Matt Pollard of Pizzeria Paradiso
I’ve long been a fan of the Pizzeria Paradiso chain and its beer program in particular.
I was a fixture on Wednesdays at the beer bar in the basement of the pizzeria’s Georgetown location (3282 M St. NW, DC) for many years after its inauguration. I drifted from the Georgetown location to the Dupont Circle location for the past several years, but new beer director Sam Fitz has given us good reason to visit Georgetown.
On the first Monday of the month, Sam hosts the Monday Night Beer Club, where Pizzeria Paradiso offers the chain’s happy hour deal from 6-10pm. Beers on tap are half price, and small pizzas are $10. Sam likes to give the Monday Night Beer Club a theme — it could be built around a type of beer or a brewery.