The Washington Post put a heart-tugging story about the closing of Fran's on page B-1 today that should have every power player in DC picking up the phone and raising hell. I have now officially forgiven the editors for that horrible Tom Toles cartoon (I'm sure they're relieved, haha!).
First, a bit of good news: according to story, the Italian Embassy has told Marty O'Brien that the embassy would like offer their facilities for the dinners until Marty gets something else sorted out. That is a lovely gesture by citizens of a country that has been one of our stronger allies in the war. Count on the Italians to understand the importance of food and fellowship, huh? It sounds like a wonderful solution for the short-term, full of the warmth and solidarity that has been so important in the atmosphere at Fran's.
It's a balanced story that mentions both the Hilton's statements and the concerns of O'Brien's supporters. The article also mentions that there have been ongoing "negotiations," though quotes no one specifically on it. That seems to contradict what the owners put out through their friends' emails, so I'm very interested to find out for sure whether Capital Hilton ever made a firm offer.
Anyway, kudos to reporter Petula Dvorak, who obviously "gets it." She closed her article this way:
Retired Army Staff Sgt. Michael Cain will never forget the porterhouse he had on his first night at O'Brien's, in 2003 after five months in the hospital. "It beat the hell out of hospital food," said Cain, who lost part of a leg in an explosion in Tikrit.Go read it all. [H/T Andi's World]
He spent many nights at O'Brien's regaining his appetite, his humor and his dignity. "I really hope they don't end this," Cain said. "It's a great thing that a lot of guys look forward to."
Updates: Mudville Gazette here (read the comments) and here, Michelle Malkin
[Background on the Fran O'Brien's story here.]