“Bringing the concept to life, it’s the greatest part of the process.” This says Popovsky with intensity. And so he does.
Originally from a small town in Southern New Jersey, Alan Popovsky’s interest in the hospitality industry developed early as he worked during high school and college at the then flourishing casinos of Atlantic City, including Caesars and Resorts International, “It was a place where my hospitality interest really took off.” Popovsky continued to follow his path while at Temple University working for the Four Seasons Hotel at Logan Circle. Following his completion at Temple, he moved to Washington, DC, and his “passion for the hospitality” has kept him near the Nation’s Capital ever since.
If asked what inspired him to own and run a restaurant, his answer, “It was a lot of hard work and some incredible luck,” may say it all.
In the late 1980s Popovsky was employed with the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown. Popovsky worked in concierge, banquets, room service, anything to help the hotel and restaurant run smoothly. An early catalyst of his chosen career path was the influence of then Banquet Manager Gunther Karsch and internationally renowned executive chef Douglas McNeil.
Popovsky continued to season his hospitality experience as an event planner for Rita Bloom’s Creative Parties Ltd. in Bethesda, Maryland. It was through planning a bar mitzvah that he met his business partner, well known Washington business person Melvyn J. Estrin. Mr Estrin took Popovsky under his wing and together founded Chameleon Productions, a restaurant and hospitality promotions and branding firm. In 1995, they opened the doors to Adams Morgan favorites Felix and Spy Lounge and Grille 88. Establishing himself in one of DC’s most diverse and colorful neighborhoods was something that Popovsky always reflects upon with respect and appreciation. In 2006, Popovsky’s dreams followed him downtown as he and Estrin opened Hudson Restaurant in 2007.
In 2010 Popovsky and Estrin had a vision of restaurants that pay homage to generational presidents. They chose Lincoln as the first PRG (Presidential Restaurant Group) Restaurant and opened it with much fanfare in April of 2011. After visits from many dignitaries including the POTUS and several Supreme Court Justices, they expanded their brand in June 2013 with the opening of Teddy & The Bully Bar. Most recently in February 2016 they opened Declaration in the Shaw neighborhood of Northwest Washington DC. Melvyn J. Estrin passed away in July 2014 but Popovsky continues to honor his business partner, mentor and friend by operating the businesses with “thoughtfulness and respect.”
Always inspired by his father Harry’s work ethic, Popovsky’s start and continued success in restaurants is attributed to everything he learned along the way. His secrets to success? “Patience, effective delegation and empowerment are the three key components of restaurant management,” advises Popovsky.
Popovsky also enjoys time with his wonderful family including wife Christina, daughter Arielle (14), and new son Alec. They enjoy cooking, swimming, playing tennis and biking around DC together.