Headquarters: Washington, DC
Annual sales: $25 million
• Bechara Nammour, chairman & c.e.o.
• Paul J. Cohn, senior executive officer
• Martin Craft, c.f.o.
• Bryan Yealy, corporate chef
• Old Glory Bar-B-Que (regional barbecue from around the country)
• Georgia Brown’s (low-country cuisine)
• Neyla (Mediterranean)
• Ovations Restaurant (buffet and picnic dining at a music venue)
• J. Paul’s (a “dining saloon” in DC and Baltimore)
• Paolo’s (traditional Italian in DC and Reston, VA)
Why it’s cool
How many other restaurateurs have managed music acts whose album went gold? That’s exactly what Paul J. Cohn did before making restaurants his full-time focus, helping lead ’70s disco duo Peaches & Herb to the top with the album “2 Hot,” which sold more than five million copies (remember “Reunited” … and it feels so good?). What feels even better is a cold J. Paul’s 1889 Amber Ale, or six, and a couple dozen fresh oysters at J. Paul’s, the restaurant he opened in 1983 after leaving music full-time. Described as a “dining saloon,” J. Paul’s offers everything from a burger to a filet, with a full raw bar and a lively drinks bar, too. In 1984, international hotelier and restaurateur Bechara Nammour bought the company and his entrepreneurial expertise matched with Cohn’s creative vision led to the company’s rapid growth. Paulo’s, traditional Italian made “California fresh,” opened in 1987 and both J. Paul’s and Paulo’s now have second locations. Old Glory Bar-B-Que serves barbecue, while Georgia Brown’s offers “low country cuisine and the soul of Washington DC.” Neyla is a Mediterranean grill and Ovations provides pre-event buffet dining and picnic baskets for the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA. For those scoring at home, that’s six entirely different concepts, all equally successful. The secret? High-profile locations, high-energy atmospheres with open kitchens and good food.