not a Democrat or a Republican," syndicated columnist Art
Buchwald was saying into the microphone. "I�m against whoever is
The lunchtime crowd at Nathan�s� the well-known
bar and restaurant at 3150 M Street�had paid $25 each for a
plate of jambalaya, dessert, and the opportunity to see and hear
the legendary humorist up close.
Buchwald, who made his name writing for American
newspapers about the good life in Paris and lived for many years
at the Westbridge in the West End, shared his memories of the
"old" Washington crowd and their haunts.
He reminisced about "in" places like Doc
Delinsky�s pharmacy on Wisconsin Avenue, where he and David
Brinkley and Ben Bradlee used to go every Sunday morning; and
about the Sans Souci restaurant downtown, where he always had
the same table.
"It was the place to be," he said of the Sans
Souci. "That�s gone, and there�s no hangout like it since."
Nathan�s, in a way, would like to be that kind
of place, a new Washington institution.
Since the fall of 2001, owner Carol Joynt has
been inviting some of Washington�s most interesting and
important people to come and talk.
"The catalyst that made me start in earnest was
September 11th," she told the Guide. "I felt there was a
real need for communication and a hunger for information."
Her first guest was Chuck Vance, the Secret
Service "body man" for President Gerald Ford, and a regular
guest on cable news talk shows on the subject of terrorism and
A longtime television producer, Joynt took
ownership of the bar when her husband Howard, then the owner,
died in 1997. She had no background in the restaurant business,
but she had been a senior producer for CNN�s "Larry King Live,"
and had done similar duty for David Brinkley, Ted Koppel, and
Charlie Rose. Her main job was to book the guests, and she
transferred that skill to the restaurant.
February was a big month for Nathan�s. In
addition to Buchwald, the bar also hosted Richard Perle, the
chairman of the Pentagon�s Defense Policy Board.
And on February 29, Nathan�s celebrated its 35th
anniversary with a dinner featuring Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee,
the reporter and editor from the Washington Post who
broke the Watergate story.
"As the lunches have taken on a life of their
own, I am starting to book people I don�t know," Joynt told the
Guide. And the guests aren�t paid. "They do it out of the
kindness of their heart."
The March schedule isn�t complete, but will
include: Mark Plotkin, the WTOP radio commentator and political
analyst, on March 3 ... MSNBC�s Hardball host Chris
Matthews and his wife Kathleen Matthews of WJLA-TV on St.
Patrick�s Day, March 17 ... and Bill Dunlap, the painter and
WETA arts commentator, on March 30.