Last Friday we celebrated, in true glamorous fashion, the 30th anniversary of Cafe Milano with an evening full of superb live jazz music, tasty bites, champagne, and the who’s who of DC.
The celeb-loved Georgetown institution first opened its doors on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 1992, the day of former president Bill Clinton’s winning election, under the ownership of Franco Nuschese, and the restaurant has only grown in recognition and popularity since.
Cafe Milano has long been known as the classiest of bipartisan meeting locations and is riddled with stories of its famed guests, so naturally, the raucous party was one not to miss.
The grand event hosted celebrities and politicians from around the world, like Dionne Warwick, BET founder Bob Johnson, CNN Chairman and CEO Chris Licht, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAullife, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, British ambassador Karen Pierce, UAE ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden, CNN anchors Wolf Blitzer and Kaitlan Collins, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, among many notable names.
To host the lively affair, Jonathan Karl, ABC News chief Washington correspondent and co-anchor of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”, served as emcee. However, urban jazz harmonicist Frédéric Yonnet and his band performed dance-worthy covers of songs like “Love on Top,” and kept the party bumping all night long.
Later on, Tony Award-winning Hamilton performer Paul Oakley Stovall surprised Nuschese with a solo rendition of “The Room Where it Happens” and then rapper Doug E. Fresh took the stage to perform a few songs.
The event was held on Veteran’s Day so it only makes sense that there would be a few charitable contributions. Nuschese announced that Cafe Milano would be donating to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, Blue Star Families, and Dog Tag Bakery, all of which support veterans and their families.
Later on in the evening, Karl read a letter from President Joe Biden congratulating Nuschese on the anniversary, while DC’s Mayor Muriel Bowser presented Nuschese with a plaque commemorating Cafe Milano’s 30 years.
“I am incredibly honored and humbled by all of the love you are giving me tonight,” says Nuschese, “But I want you to know one thing – this party is for you. We would not be here tonight if it wasn’t for you and for all the support you have given us over the last thirty years.”
Cafe Milano has long been the place to be in DC. In 2018, the Washington Capitals celebrated their Stanley Cup championship win with more than ample champagne and the restaurant’s signature Italian dishes. Legendary singer, Lionel Richie celebrated his 65th birthday at the restaurant as well as other celebratory events.
Nuschese is extremely accomplished in his own right, apart from Cafe Milano. In 2008, he hosted the 81st birthday lunch for Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican Embassy and later received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor that same year. In 2013, Nuschese helped to create a global virus first-responders network while serving as a board member of the University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology, as well as the Global Virus Network.
Most recently, Cafe Milano opened a stylish second location in Abu Dhabi in 2016, located in the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island.
Photography by: Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Haddad Media