Change of Guard for Pizzeria Paradiso’s Beer Program


Pizzeria Paradiso bar manager Greg Jasgur is leaving his post after 10 years with the restaurant to move to Portland, Maine. Taking his place will be Sam Fitz, who formerly ran the beer programs at Meridian Pint and Smoke and Barrel.

"I love D.C. and love Paradiso and am proud of what I've done there," says Jasgur. "But for the last few years, I have been looking for a new challenge."

That challenge? Opening and running the tasting room at Oxbow Brewing's forthcoming barrel house. The small farmhouse brewery in Newcastle, Maine, founded by Tim Adams and Geoff Maslund in 2011, is known for its Belgo-American-style beers. Construction on the second location in downtown Portland, a blending and bottling facility with a new tasting room, will begin in August.

"We think we are the luckiest brewery in the world to have Greg Jasgur," says Adams. "He's been a pivotal person for Washington, D.C.'s beer scene and we've seen that first hand."

After managing the beer program at Paradiso's Georgetown restaurant and helping to open and run the bars at the Dupont and Alexandria locations, Jasgur's last day as bar manager will be July 20. (He says he may stay on in a consulting role; he looks forward to continuing some of his creatively themed events and seeing through his collaboration with 3 Stars Brewing Company, a series of nine beers based on the spheres of heaven in Dante’s Divine Comedy.) For his final evening, Jasgur plans to bartend a special event at the Dupont location celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.

"I have all the confidence in world that Paradiso is left in very capable hands with Sam," says Jasgur.

Fitz left the beer director role at Meridian Pint and Smoke and Barrel in April, at the same time as his deputy, Tim Prendergast, who is now working as a beer specialist for Kysela Pere Et Fils, a Winchester, Va.-based wine company. Since then, Fitz has been bartending temporarily at Eat the Rich while figuring out his next step.

"I have the right skills and passion for beer to do the job, but I'm interested in learning how they do things and then down the line putting in some of my own twists," says Fitz. "I'm not trying to change one of the best programs in the city."

Fitz says his passion for local products, which was evident in his beer menu at Meridian Pint, is one thing D.C. beer fans can expect to see him bring to the new role at Paradiso. His first day is July 7.

Photo of Pizzeria Paradiso's Greg Jasgur by Darrow Montgomery