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Missing Gusti's

I visited DC this weekend and beat it over to M St. NW & 19th, hoping to eat at Gusti's Italian restaurant, but IT'S GONE! A couple of new restaurants are there. Anyone know when Gusti's departed? I hope they had a nice send-off.

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  1. I'm surprised anyone misses the place, it's been gone for years and years. What did you have there that you liked?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      Lobster fra diavolo; Brolio chianti (tough to find in CT)

    2. I went there once in the 90's but haven't thought about it since. I can't even remember what I had there.

      1. I believe Gusti's disappeared in the early 1990s, right before Roma moved to Mount Pleasant, then folded. Of all the old Italian places, I preferred A.V. and Famous Luigi's to Gusti's. Bistro Italiano near Union Station is a similar style and reasonably priced.

        Bistro Italiano
        320 D St Ne, Washington, DC

        1. I looks like it closed in that late 90's circa 98. There is a Gusti's restaurant supply in Ronoake, I don't know if it's any relation.

          My boss and I went to Gusti's on a business trip. We didn't know anything about any restaurants. We ordered the Escargot in garlic cream sauce for an appetizer. It was the best damn Escargot I have had ever. We used French bread to mop up the sauce.

          Never have I seen anything that good before or since. It had been a special so when we went back two years later we couldn't get it. But I will always remember.

          1. I have a very, very vague recollection that there was some issue over the amount of the rent. Rather than pay the increase, they folded their tent. Of course, I could be remembering it wrong. I also recall that they had undergone something of a renovation within a few years before they closed, which would cast doubt on my original recollection.

            2 Replies
            1. re: pgreen

              Correct. Gusti's shrank their dining area prior to closing. I'd be inclined to agree with the rent assessment. Rents in Dupont are still very strong. The former Gusti's site was the home of Panang, which also closed recently. I imagine it will either be a burger place or an upscale cupcakery.

              1. re: monkeyrotica

                "I imagine it will either be a burger place or an upscale cupcakery."


            2. In the mis-1960s pizza to die for. Their personal pizza was outstanding. A real treat going there for lunch, even waiting in line.

              1. This is so uosetting! Gusti's was a part of my personal history as I celebrated my 21st Bthday there while I was a student at Howard U. What a fantastic restaurant it was then: gorgeous and excellent food. I will miss it

                1 Reply
                1. re: shastiny1

                  I also first experienced it in college (circa 1968). Great memories.

                2. 1837-1839 "M" Street NW

                  In the mid-60's, it was de rigueur for our high school's seniors prom night. Because I cooked at a couple of places, starting when I was a sophomore, I took dates there regularly, which did wonders for my reputation with girls who appreciated the finer things.

                  They had very good lasagne and reasonable prices. When I moved to Fresno, I started eating at Di Cicco's and never looked back.

                  1. Going to Gusti's was a right of passage if you were born in DC in the 30's 40's 50's, you could drink beer at 18,eat Pizza, cheap date. Gusti's much like Maggies, leaves me with great memories.

                    1. In December of 1994 I started my first full-time job after college. I worked at a long-since-defunct legal publisher in Washington DC, near 20th and L Streets, NW. At the end of my first week there, a few of us went to get dinner and drinks at Gusti's, just a stone's throw from the office. I was so young, I remember ordering white wine with my ravioli and feeling sophisticated.

                      At the time, I was still living with my parents in Northern Virginia. My commute was 90 minutes … That night I got on the Orange Line at Farragut West and rode it to Vienna, then drove the 1985 Honda Civic 30 minutes home. When I got home, I was excited to have finished my first week at my first job. It was fun to hang out with coworkers outside the office. I told my mom about how we went out to dinner at an Italian place in a cool old white brick mansion near the office, not far from Dupont Circle. She stopped me and asked me specifically where the restaurant was. 19th and M. "That's where I met your father," she said.

                      It was a set-up, a blind date, with a group of friends all out on the town. At the time, my mom lived in Arlington off Rt. 29 and was a secretary at the CIA. Her friend Kim was dating a Navy guy, Barry, who happened to be friends with my dad (also a Navy guy), so they were set up. 1968, I believe.

                      Little did they know they'd get married and have kids and that about 26 after that date at Gusti's, their son would be working two streets away.

                      I took them back to Gusti's for their 24th wedding anniversary.

                      I saw today that Gusti's is gone. In the basement of the old building is a Chipotle.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Mikely

                        great story. thanks for sharing it with us.

                      2. I miss it too..........a wonderful date spot when I was in High School (Annandale class of '64). Tried to find The Cellar Door as well, but that has been gone since early 80s. Oh well, they always say, "you can't go back"!! Fond memories!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Annegriswold

                          but cellar door productions carries on in corporate longevity, though the physical club is long gone (great shows there in the day).