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Jaleo's 25th Anniversary

May 2018

"Friends, family - the ones who've always been here for us - and those who will be here for the next 25 years, making sure that not just this restaurant, but that every restaurant in Washington, DC will be an amazing agent of change, one restaurant at a time, one neighborhood at a time, one community at a time." José's speech at Jaleo's 25th anniversary celebration was full of thanks - for his co-founders, his staff, his supporters, and the people of Washington and beyond who have been central to the success and longevity of Jaleo.

Washington, and the Penn Quarter neighborhood, were very different places in 1993 than they are today. José and his co-founders Rob Wilder and Roberto Alvarez, who together 25 years ago opened Jaleo on 7th Street in Washington, all mentioned how the restaurant was an unlikely outpost for Spanish food in America. But the team showed how a restaurant could be a part of a bigger movement, from the neighborhood level to the national level. Jaleo is now a cornerstone of DC's dining scene, and Spanish food has grown in popularity all around the country.

Some of José's favorite dishes and bites were served, including the iconic liquid olives inspired by José's culinary mentor Ferran Adrià; bite-size cones filled with Spanish cheese and quince paste; and Fermin's Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, the classic cured meat from the south of Spain. There was live music from Kamel Zennia, a Cava toast, and an oyster-shucking station from Rappahannock Oyster Company. The amazing Jaleo-themed cake, pictured above, was made by Charm City Cakes, the Baltimore bakery run by José's friend Duff Goldman. It was a celebration of the past, and a glimpse of what's in store for the next 25 years and beyond.

And for anyone who has been to Jaleo over the years, or any of José's restaurants, José had a final message at the end of the night: "For all of you, for your friendship, thank you for being here, and thank you for your support!"