The Capital Grille

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The Capital Grille
GenreFine dining
FoundedProvidence, Rhode Island (1990; 30 years ago (1990))
FounderNed Grace
Headquarters1000 Darden Center Drive
Orlando, Florida, U.S. 32837
Number of locations
59 (2019)
Key people
Eugene Lee
(CEO/Chairman of Darden)
ProductsUSDA Choice Steaks
ParentRare Hospitality International
Darden Restaurants
Footnotes / references
The Capital Grille at Wayside Commons
in Burlington, Massachusetts

The Capital Grille is an American restaurant chain of upscale steakhouses owned by Darden Restaurants. The brand has locations in twenty states and the District of Columbia.[2][3]


The original Capital Grille was founded by Ned Grace, in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1990.[4] The opening was curious for several reasons: the upscale steakhouse contrasted with the then-rundown downtown area of Providence, and the opening occurred amidst an ongoing recession. Grace envisioned the restaurant being popular with business and political elite, and proved to be accurate. Seven years after opening, the original location pulled in over $4 million in annual sales.[4]

Under the leadership of Grace's Bugaboo Creek Steak House Inc. (the name of Grace's other chain), the chain expanded to several major markets. By 1996, The Capital Grille had locations in Washington, D.C. and Boston. In 1997, aided by a $20 million credit line from two banks, it expanded with four more locations.[4] Bugaboo Creek Steak House Inc. went public in 1994, and later changed its name to RARE Hospitality International, Inc.[5] According to The Washington Business Journal, the chain was acquired by Darden Restaurants as a "part of a $1.19 billion acquisition of RARE Hospitality in 2007".[6]

The Capital Grille operates under the Specialty Restaurant Group division of Darden.[7]

In March 2018, a spinoff restaurant called The Capital Burger was opened in Washington, DC.[8] In January 2020, The Capital Burger opened their 2nd location in Reston, Virginia.


As of May 2019 there were 59 locations.[3]


In 2012, employees in five states filed lawsuits against the company alleging racial discrimination and wage violations. The lawsuit alleges that the company favored white workers over people of color for lucrative tipped jobs as well as requiring tipped workers to share their earnings with non-tipped workers.[9]

Thanksgiving controversy[edit]

In 2013, the Capital Grille in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was open for Thanksgiving for the first time in its history. Capital Grille employees at the Pittsburgh location and members of the Restaurant Opportunities Center protested having to work on Thanksgiving without receiving holiday pay.[10] In addition, the Pittsburgh City Council passed a Will of Council opposing Capital Grille's decision to force employees to work on Thanksgiving without holiday pay.[11]


  1. ^ "Darden 2011 Annual Report" (PDF). Darden Restaurants, Inc. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Darden Restaurants, Inc. (May 29, 2011). "FY 2011 10-K". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "The Capital Grille Restaurant Locations". The Capital Grille. 2011. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Robin Lee Allen (May 20, 1996). "Capital Grille: an upscale steak house approaching its prime". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  5. ^ History of Rare Hospitality International
  6. ^ Jeff Clabaugh (March 18, 2009). "Capital Grille sales fall 19 percent". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  7. ^ "Darden Fact Sheet" (PDF) (Press release). Darden Restaurants, Inc. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  8. ^ Carman, Tim. "A steakhouse chain makes the cut with its tasty new burger joint". The Washington Post. The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  9. ^ Lisa Fickenscher (May 2, 2012). "Capital Grille lawsuit shifts to several states". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  10. ^ "Protesters target Capital Grille over Thanksgiving plans". Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  11. ^ "City of Pittsburgh Legislative Information Center". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-01-25.

External links[edit]