Alumni Stories

Richard McCooey (C’52)

Founder, The Tombs

Location: Wagner Alumni House
Interviewer/Producer: Anneliesa Clump Alprin (G’06)
Editor: Lisa Fthenakis (C’10) Richard McCooey

Since his first year at Georgetown, McCooey had dreams of opening a restaurant near campus. The idea for The Tombs and 1789 Restaurant came from Nassau Tavern at Yale. In 1960 McCooey founded the trio of restaurants, including F. Scott’s, when he acquired the buildings, which then housed a Chinese laundry and Hilltop Cafe. Here, McCooey tells the story of gutting the properties, digging out a basement and the three years it took to obtain a liquor license. The Tombs and the upstairs 1789 Restaurant opened in the summer of 1962.

McCooey has worked in business for more than 50 years. He was the founder, owner and operator of The Tombs, 1789 Restaurant and F. Scott’s from 1961-1986. In 1963, McCooey was honored with the esteemed John Carroll Award, he and received Catholic Charities’ Caritas Award in 1992. Since 1986, he has been the founder, president and chief design consultant for Persona Studios, a restaurant design consulting firm based in Washington, D.C.

Additional Resources

The Tombs

Persona Studios

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