Dino owners hope to crowd-fund their next project

Reprinted from Washington Business Journal

Jan 6, 2014, 2:53pm EST UPDATED: Jan 6, 2014, 5:12pm EST

Dino owners hope to crowd-fund their next project

Staff Reporter-Washington Business Journal

It’s been a few weeks since Dino owners Dean Gold and Kay Zimmerman said they will close their Cleveland Park Italian restaurant and teased their next move: a new restaurant in Shaw.

Now plans for that restaurant seem to be taking further shape — if the owners can raise the cash. Gold and Zimmerman launched an indiegogo crowd-funding campaign Jan. 4 to raise $50,000 for the project, which will be called Dino’s Grotto.

They have raised $4,720, or nearly 10 percent of the goal, by Monday morning. The campaign lasts until Feb. 6. Dino’s owners hope to raise some of their startup costs through the campaign “so we can have the freedom to do what we do best: support our sustainable network of small family farms and wineries and artisan producers,” according to the site.

Gold said this week that the crowd-sourcing was always something he hoped to capitalize on.

“We have an email list of 3,500 people, and 38 percent of them opened the email [about the campaign], and that doesn’t include smartphones,” he said. “It’s an unbelievably motivated group of people and it seemed silly not to do something that was designed to get them excited about the new place.”

All told, the owners will need more than $200,000 in startup capital, Gold said. The money from indiegogo will help fund special projects such as a walk-in refrigerator and tap lines so the restaurant can offer up to a dozen beers on tap.

“What we’re trying to do with the indiegogo campaign, is take some of these things that I want to do but don’t need to do to get open, and move them to the before we open list,” he said.

Gold and Zimmerman expect Dino’s Grotto to have some of the same menu items as Dino but also offer a wider range of cocktails, craft beers and local spirits.

“I have no idea what our new neighbors will want from us, but I do know that we will continue to be a local joint,” Gold wrote on the site. The entrees and pastas will probably be fewer, and the menu of “fun”items — including perhaps a rotating burger of the month, Gold said — will likely be expanded.

They’re going for a lively atmosphere, “a friendly hubbub of fun,” according to indiegogo. Gold envisions the ground floor will be largely dominated by a bar area — “the grotto” and then the dining area will be concentrated upstairs.

Gold and Zimmerman have not yet provided the future address of Dino’s Grotto — they’re still finalizing a lease. They plan to do minimal construction inside the space, however, so an opening could happen as soon as March, Gold said.

Dino in Cleveland Park is set to close Jan. 12.

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