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Herb’s Restaurant


(Closed) Herb’s Restaurant

Herb White was a restaurateur and a patron of the arts. His restaurant, Herb’s, at 2111 P St, NW Washington, DC was the center of the DC arts scene and opened in 1982.  Herb’s second location opened in 1987 and was located at 17th & Rhode Island Ave.

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Herb White

On Friday, June 8, 2007, Herb White passed away at Sibley Hospital in Washington, DC at the age of 71. Herb was one of the founders of DC Arts Center and had contributed the facilities in Adams Morgan, Washington DC, since 1989. Over those years he was instrumental in making sure that there was a place in DC for new, emerging, off-beat and adventurous artists to show their work and develop their craft. Without his vision and support, there would be no DC Arts Center.

A cultivated man who once studied art and served as a stand in for Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, Herb had been a major player in the Washington real estate market since the 1960′s. He gained his highest profile in the 80′s and early 90′s with two popular restaurants, both called Herb’s, near Dupont Circle.

He staged countless benefits for theaters, ballet troupes and writers’ groups at his restaurants and served on the boards of many arts organizations. He founded the DC Arts Center in the building he owned in Adams Morgan, charging an annual rent of $1.

“More likely, his first love was artists. For people like Joe White (no relation), Noche Crist, and Al “Big Al” Carter, he opened doors throughout the region, whether at his houses in Baltimore and Washington (which he made his home in 1963) or through his Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle restaurants…read more
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“One of my best memories with Herb White was the book signing and birthday celebration for William S. Burroughs. It must have been his 70th in 1984. I remember tons of people lined up with dozens of books, each for him to sign. He was sitting at a table smoking and with a bottle of vodka. I felt sorry for him because people had so many books for him to sign. I got in line with nothing. When it was my turn to sit down with him I broke the ice by saying that I enjoyed his Tarzan books. He got a big laugh out of that. I said I had nothing for him to sign but we could pretend to have an intense conversation in order to give him a rest. I must have been there for 15 minutes talking trash and nonsense, while drinking his vodka. When I got up he thanked me; and everyone wanted to know what we talked about. I just said “nothing much” which was true but no one believed me.”   -Tom Egly

Herb was invited to curate an exhibit at DCAC, the art center he supported.

“You would think that restaurant owners would be in competition with one another but that’s not the relationship Herb White and I had. Herb White was always a supporter of both of my restaurants The Collector Art Gallery at U & 17th St, NW & Dupont Circle. He always supported my art exhibits, fundraisers and  The Millennium Arts Center along with other projects; likewise, I  supported his endeavors. We traveled together and I will always have happy memories of Herb.  It was a great loss to the Washington Art Community when Herb White passed away. We were best friends to the end.” -William Wooby