1789 Restaurant takes its name from a significant year in Washington’s history: That year, its original site was purchased by Archbishop John Carroll, the founding father of Georgetown University, the Constitution of the United States was adopted and Mayor Robert Peter incorporated the village of Georgetown.
The restaurant originated in 1960 when Richard J. McCooey, a Georgetown alumnus, bought two enterprises that occupied a Federal home dating from the mid-1800s. The building’s basement was opened as The Tombs, a casual restaurant geared to Georgetown University students and faculty. The upstairs evolved into 1789 Restaurant, which offered the ambiance of a stately home with its handsome prints and working fireplace. Its original classic French menu and gracious service were hailed by Washingtonians, and it soon became one of the city’s most noteworthy restaurants.