The Life

June 30, 2010 2:59 PM

Ex-McKee Nelson Partner Finds Success in Trendy Restaurant Biz

Posted by Brian Baxter


UPDATE: 10/17/14, 8:50 a.m. EDT. The Washington Post reports that Kuller has died at 61 after battling pancreatic cancer.

The past week has been a busy one for former lawyers branching out into the food and beverage business.

The Washington Post reports that former McKee Nelson tax partner Mark Kuller is set to open a new Spanish-themed restaurant called Estadio in Washington, D.C. It isn't Kuller's first foray into the ultracompetitive restaurant industry.

In a story that almost made our mouth water just reading it, a WaPo reporter traveled with Kuller from the nation's capital throughout Spain as the former lawyer and his business partner sampled the Iberian peninsula's finest foods.

The National Law Journal, an Am Law Daily sibling publication, previously wrote about Kuller in May 2007 when he was putting the finishing touches on Proof, a well-regarded restaurant and wine bar in D.C.'s Penn Quarter neighborhood.

Kuller (pictured here) credits former McKee Nelson founding partner Bill McKee--now the cohead of the tax group at Bingham McCutchen, which acquired the firm last year--with helping him develop his taste in wine. (Kuller and McKee worked together at King & Spalding before moving on to McKee Nelson when it was founded in 1999, according to The NLJ story, which also includes a list of Kuller's favorite wines.)

Kuller's time at the firm wasn't without controversy. The former tax litigator got caught up in a dispute over advice he gave a client in connection with the collapse of hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management, according to another NLJ story, this one from September 2004. Four pages from the judge's opinion in the case challenged Kuller's credibility, according to The New York Times.

But Kuller has found a new calling, with Proof becoming a major success and its owner becoming a prominent figure on the local restaurant scene.

The WaPo notes that Estadio is scheduled to open in early July, and that many D.C. foodies are eagerly waiting to find out what delicious Spanish dishes Kuller and his team will be serving up at the Logan Circle restaurant.


Photo courtesy of Proof

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