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The short, exuberant life of Washington's Café République

The restaurant business is famously risky, and perhaps the greatest risks are taken by those who invest in elaborate new eateries without a sound plan for making them profitable. Such is the cautionary tale of the posh Café République, an extravagant enterprise that flourished for just a few years in downtown Washington in the 1910s, serving as a quintessential expression of the fragile exuberance of its times. The main dining room of the Cafe Republique. In September 1911, a certain Maggie Mae sent this postcard to her friend Agnes Collins in Auburn, New York. She wrote: "Your pal Magie is---having one fine time. Just had luncheon at this cafe. Some class-Washington. Gee Agnes its a case of When Dreams Come True." (Author's collection.)

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