Wrecking Corporation of America Announces Winners of The Blackies Restaurant Memories Contest

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Five winners of the Blackies Restaurant Memories Contest, sponsored by Alexandria, VA-based Wrecking Corporation of America, will be awarded a commemorative brick from the restaurant and a copy of Lulu Auger's "My Life with Blackie the Greek" will be awarded to the authors of the winning stories.

Wrecking Corporation of America (WCA), which has helped pave the way for the future of the DC area through numerous high-profile demolition projects, today announced the winners of its Blackies Restaurant Memories contest. Wrecking Corp., which is the demolition contractor for the landmark, sponsored the contest to recognize the restaurant's contribution to the culture of the community.

Many former Blackies patrons contributed their stories, and a panel of judges selected five winners. The winning entries were submitted by Frank J. Blanch Jr. of Woodbridge, VA; Richard Gookin of Warrenton, VA; Christine Tate of Dale City, VA; Colleen Murillo of Germantown, MD; and Linda and John Derrick of Washington, DC.

Winning Stories

Frank Blanch celebrated his 1957 graduation from George Washington University with his parents at Blackies, and he subsequently became the plumbing superintendent for the Marriott that was constructed above the restaurant. "I have enjoyed a brisket from one of Blackies menus," Blanch said, "now I would like a brick from one of Blackies walls."

In the late 1980s, Richard Gookin was serving as Associate Chief of Protocol at the Department of State, tells of his lunch with the then Charge d'affaires ad interim of the Guatemalan Embassy to discuss several matters of protocol. Early in their conversation, the woman mentioned that it was her birthday. "I wished her a very Happy Birthday and many happy returns of the day," he said. Then, after being asked to guess her age, Gookin guessed five years too many.

"You would think that as a senior representative of the Protocol Office I would have learned not to guess a woman's age. Well, I did my best to change the subject and smooth over this embarrassing faux pas, but, as you can tell, the memory of it has stuck with me over the years."

In May 1968, Christine Tate, her prom date and another couple made the trip from Vienna to Blackies for dinner before the prom. "This was quite a drive from Vienna and seemed like such a cosmopolitan place!" Her pink empire waist dress had a long bow in the back that ended up in the toilet before the night was over. A handy hair dryer solved the problem, but the memory lingered on.

Colleen Murillo made her first trip to Blackies in 1981as the winner of a bet with the banquet manager at the hotel where she worked as a secretary. "I made him a bet that I would get a tip from the huge wedding party that we were hosting that upcoming weekend… I won! I went out and spent my entire tip on a formal black dinner dress and we went to Blackies for dinner." After dinner, the couple danced the night away next door at Déjà Vu. "That was 25 years ago and we are celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary [this year]… Blackies and Deja Vu will always be in our hearts!"

In October of this year, Linda and John Derrick celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary, bringing back many memories of their wedding dinner at Blackies in 1961. After the ceremony and a reception at the Chevy Chase Club, the couple made their "getaway in a shower of rice and headed to Blackies House of Beef for dinner, as we hadn't had anything much to eat at the reception." Dressed in their going away clothes, John and Linda enjoyed a prime rib dinner with cheesecake for dessert. At the end of the meal, the waiter asked if they were newlyweds, and, wondering how he knew, they said yes. He then asked them if they knew they had rice stuck all over them. "It was a great start to a wonderful marriage," the couple says. "Do you think there was something in the food that blessed our marriage? …The memory of many wonderful meals and family celebrations at Blackies lingers to this day!"

The complete winning entries can be viewed on the Wrecking Corp. web site at http://www.wreckingcorp.com/blackies

Presentation of Prizes

Wrecking Corp. announced the contest in October, promising a commemorative brick from the restaurant as a prize for each winner. An additional prize was added when Blackie's widow, Lulu Auger, called Wrecking Corp. and offered a signed copy of her book, My Life with Blackie the Greek, to the winners.

Prizes will be awarded on Saturday, December 9, at 11 am, at the Wrecking Corp. offices at 3680 Wheeler Avenue in Alexandria.

About Wrecking Corporation of America

Wrecking Corporation of America took down its first downtown DC building 30 years ago. Headquartered in Alexandria, VA, Wrecking Corp. has worked on a number of high-profile projects downtown and in the surrounding metropolitan areas, including the George Washington Hospital and the former Washington Convention Center. Wrecking Corp. specializes in the challenges of demolishing high-profile commercial projects and cramped urban sites as well as sprawling multi-building complexes. For more information, visit the Wrecking Corp. web site at http://www.wreckingcorp.com or call 703.823.3850.

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ROSANNE DESMONE
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