Werner's to reopen in March 2012 under new ownership

Werner's luncheonette, the downtown fixture that was a gathering spot for politicians and lawyers, will reopen under new ownership.

Werner's, which closed on April 15 after a 61-year run, has been sold to John Smoudianis, the owner of Never on Sunday, a Mount Vernon mainstay for late-night pizzas and gyros.

The sale was confirmed by Jerry Blumenthal of Business & Commercial Ventures, who brokered the sale to Smoudianis. "He's going to take it back to what it was," Blumenthal said. "He'll be serving the classic food, and he's working on finding movie posters."

A known film fan, Smoudianis named his Mount Vernon restaurant for a popular 1960 movie starring Melina Mercouri.

The April closing of Werner's came just a few months after the demise of Burke's restaurant, another downtown restaurant that had become part of the city's fabric. The announcement of Werner's reopening comes a week after the return of the historic luncheon room at the Woman's Industrial Exchange.

The Redwood Street luncheonette, which was opened by Werner Kloetzli Sr. in 1950, was a longtime favorite of movie and television location scouts, who found timeless appeal in the luncheonette's chrome and maple Art Deco interior. Barry Levinson filmed scenes there for "Liberty Heights." More recently, Werner's could be seen on HBO's "The Wire" as a lunch haunt for Mayor Tommy Carcetti.