Michael Darby — local reality star, developer and former owner of Oz in Clarendon — may be planning a new restaurant in the former Clarendon Ballroom.
County records show that Darby applied for a building permit earlier this month for the construction of a restaurant at 3185 Wilson Blvd, the one-time home of the expansive, long-time local nightlife and event venue.
In December 2020, Darby’s company Monument Realty purchased the building where Clarendon Ballroom was located for close to $7 million, the Washington Business Journal reported. The company then signed a 21-month lease with the owners of the Lot, the outdoor beer garden down the street, to operate a series of themed pop-up bars out of the space as longer term plans were figured out.
But that lease expires later this year and now it appears Darby could be moving into the Wilson Blvd location himself.
When reached for comment about the possibility of a new Darby-owned restaurant, a Monument Realty representative told ARLnow that they would be “in touch when we have additional information to share.”
Darby and wife Ashley star on the Bravo reality show “The Real Housewives of Potomac.” Ashley Darby recently confirmed that she will be returning to the show’s seventh season. Production on the new season is expected to start soon and Ashley said that locals can expect to “see some cameras around the summer.”
The couple opened Oz, featuring cuisine from Michael’s native Australia, in 2015. Its trials and tribulations ended up being a storyline on season two of the show, before the eatery closed in 2019. It’s unclear whether the new restaurant will feature into RHOP’s upcoming season.
The Oz space on Clarendon Blvd — a four minute walk from from the Ballroom space — has sat dormant ever since, but will soon become the first D.C. area location for Asian restaurant chain Wagamama.
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