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the Hilton Corporation - Where a Steak is just a steak

Posted By Blackfive • [April 18, 2006]

04172006_hilton_1
Day By Day by Chris Muir

Background:  This started with Have You Ever Been to Fran O'Brien's on a Friday Night?

I've been tracking a lot of conversations (well, some are turning into arguments) about the Hilton cancelling the lease of Fran O'Brien's.  Many believe it to be simply business as usual.  Others see both pros and cons of either keeping Fran O'Brien's in the Hilton family or relocating it somewhere else in DC.

It's an emotional issue for some of us.  In Fran O'Brien's, we have a successful restaurant business run by Vietnam Vets - the generation that served before mine - that ensures that our wounded young men and women have a place to go and have a nice steak dinner on a Friday night, free of charge.  It's a very welcome and supportive place for our wounded troops run by very caring people.  I've been there.  So have many of you.

Now, some people are saying that you could have someone else provide the steak dinners, say, with a voucher system or something.

From the WashPo:

...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. "I have these guys' numbers in my cellphone. I talk to them. We check on them. Hal picks them up. . . . He brings them milkshakes."

Of course, atmosphere might have something to do with the appeal to veterans. O'Brien's is a virile place, with deep red booths and a long, polished bar. Sports memorabilia everywhere. A longtime hangout for Redskins players. The pool tournament on television. American flags on the walls.

Some veterans have called it the first place where they've felt at home since they left the battlefield and months of sterile hospitals...

Again, simply put, it would not be the same environment as Fran O'Brien's.  Most of you get it.  After all, that's why you're here reading this blog.  But a lot of people don't.  Or they take the easy road where they rationalize a business decision.

And, the fact that there are Vietnam Vets running the op pretty much seals the deal for me.  I owe 'em.  They did a hell of job and they're still serving their country - small spheres of influence again.

So.  You can disagree with me, examine leases, talk big business talk all you want.  Maybe it's about ADA issues (probably is), maybe not.

For me, it's personal.  It's damn personal.  While I hope that this can be resolved for everyone's benefit (especially our wounded troops), I doubt that the Hilton Corporation understands the reaction that they are going to cause.

I doubt that they see it coming...which is exactly why Fran O'Brien's needs to stay where it is and keep doing what's been doing for years - taking care of their customers and their country.


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference the Hilton Corporation - Where a Steak is just a steak:

» Let Them Eat Steak from The Indepundit
PUBLIC. RELATIONS. DISASTER. The steaks are great, of course.But it isn't the T-bones, the porterhouses or the rib-eyes that will be sorely, even painfully, missed when Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse loses its lease and closes its doors this month.T... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 18, 2006 4:19:45 PM

» Let Them Eat Steak from The Indepundit
PUBLIC. RELATIONS. DISASTER. The steaks are great, of course.But it isn't the T-bones, the porterhouses or the rib-eyes that will be sorely, even painfully, missed when Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse loses its lease and closes its doors this month.T... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 18, 2006 4:24:18 PM

» Let Them Eat Steak from The Indepundit
PUBLIC. RELATIONS. DISASTER. The steaks are great, of course.But it isn't the T-bones, the porterhouses or the rib-eyes that will be sorely, even painfully, missed when Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse loses its lease and closes its doors this month.T... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 18, 2006 4:26:00 PM

» Let Them Eat Steak from The Indepundit
PUBLIC. RELATIONS. DISASTER. The steaks are great, of course.But it isn't the T-bones, the porterhouses or the rib-eyes that will be sorely, even painfully, missed when Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse loses its lease and closes its doors this month.T... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 18, 2006 4:36:47 PM

» Let Them Eat Steak from The Indepundit
PUBLIC. RELATIONS. DISASTER. The steaks are great, of course.But it isn't the T-bones, the porterhouses or the rib-eyes that will be sorely, even painfully, missed when Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse loses its lease and closes its doors this month.T... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 18, 2006 4:44:24 PM

» Fran OBriens Update from Blue Crab Boulevard
Mudville Gazette and Blackfive have the details. Heres a direct link to the Hilton GMs answers to questions at Andis World. Im with Blackfive on this, Hilton does not know what is going to hit them because of this. They ar... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 19, 2006 12:16:53 PM

» SAVING FRAN O'BRIEN'S from Michelle Malkin
Here's an update from Greyhawk on the ongoing battle to save Fran O'Brien's, the D.C. restaurant that holds weekly free steak dinners for wounded soldiers. A new charity is in the works to preserve the tradition (via WaPo): The owners... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 19, 2006 2:13:06 PM