Von's has been a staple of downtown cocktails for over two decades: The full name is actually Von's Roasthouse Martini Manhattan Memorial, but it's probably best known for its $3.50 martinis (gin or vodka). The first restaurant created by Tim Firnstahl after his breakup with 1980s partner MicMcHugh, Von's has one of the best locations in town, at 619 Pine Street, next to the Roosevelt Hotel and just down the street from the Washington State Convention Center. But the popularity of its casual bar probably worked against its reputation as a serious restaurant (almost a dozen different roasts). At any rate, with Cheesecake Factory and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse both a block away, there's an increased level of competition along the street.
Firnstahl is an old-school owner, a thoughtful Harvard MBA grad who believes in designing a unique "system" for each restaurant and coming up with long names that tell a story. The operating manuals for his stores can run to several hundred pages; it's the opposite of a "chef-driven" company.
His daughter, Marissa, confirmed to Eater that Von's will close on February 1st and move to the space vacated by Ipanema on the First Avenue level of Harbor Steps. The new name: Von's 1000 Spirits Gusto Bistro. Opening date is set for February 15th.