KENSINGTON – After spending many years polishing and touching up cars, Steven Harris is looking to improve the image of a local dining establishment.
Harris is the owner of Mr. Wash, a Kensington car wash on Connecticut Avenue, which his father opened in 1972. In 1997, Harris purchased the building adjacent to the car wash, which had previously been a Roy Rogers restaurant and earlier a Gino’s.
The new tenants opened Savannah’s American Grill, a table-service restaurant featuring burgers, pizza, seafood, and other traditional American dishes. While Savannah’s has remained in business since then, it has received negative reviews from customers on Yelp and other sites. Last month, Harris took the reins of the restaurant and hopes to steer it in a new direction.
“We want to make it better, have better service and fresher, tastier food,” Harris said. “We will rename it the Kensington Tavern. It will look like a place where Paul Revere might have stopped to eat. We want it to be a fun, welcoming family place.”
In pursuit of the new image, Harris has begun ordering brisket burgers from Capital Beef, which he says have been well-received by patrons. He has also eliminated Keno and Saturday night karaoke from the restaurant’s offerings, though he said he may reinstate karaoke night if there is a demand for it.
“They’ve made some good changes,” said Mike Dudzik, who has been a regular patron of Savannah’s for several years. “It’s much cleaner, and the food is better. They’re planning on making some new enhancements, and I look forward to seeing them.”
Harris said that he will follow the lead of several other area restaurants in purchasing ingredients from local farmers markets to make the menu appealing to health-conscious diners. While Savannah’s only offered brunch on weekends, Harris said that the Kensington Tavern will have an everyday breakfast menu.