The ever-evolving restaurant scene saw a lot of change in 2012 -- old favorites left, making room for new foodie ventures. Some of the year's biggest changes included:
Woodmont Triangle Development Includes Four Restaurants, Roof-Top Deck (Sept. 10, 2012) -- A lot at the corner of Cordell and Norfolk is soon to be developed into a vibrant commercial space with up to four restaurants and the owner of Tommy Joe’s is planning a new restaurant for the top floors. In the development, however, Bethesda is slated to lose favorite local restaurants including the buildings that formerly housed restaurants Foong Lin, Haandi and Sweet Basil.
Tragara Ristorante Closes, 4935 Cordell Opens in Location (Oct. 8, 2012) -- A local Italian institution has moved out to make room for a young new-comer with a fusion twist. Tragara Ristorante closed in October. A new restaurant with a French-Indian flair, named after its address, will take its place at 4935 Cordell Ave.
Wine Bar and Lounge Opens in Bethesda (Nov. 12, 2012) – Several new restaurants opened this year on Bethesda Row – Boloco, Luke’s Lobster and most recently, Vino Volo. The stand-alone store brings the airport wine bar to some of its top customers in Bethesda. Meanwhile, Bethesda Row beer house Mussel Bar had a mini name change in December, now called Mussel Bar & Grille. 100 Montaditos is slated for 2013.
On Bethesda Avenue, Adam’s Morgan favorite Himalayan Heritage opened in November.
Celebrity Chef Bryan Voltaggio Opens New Restaurant In Chevy Chase (Dec. 20, 2012) – Range, celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio's newest restaurant, opened on Dec. 18 in the newly renovated Chevy Chase Pavilion. Range's menu is meat-centric, offering menu items such as potted foie gras, rabbit, scrapple, pork shanks and cheeks, beef marrow bones, veal heart, veal sweetbreads and whole roasted rabbit, "hunter style." The restaurant also makes its own breads, pizzas, pastas and candies. Pizza chef Edan MacQuaid has worked in many well-known pizza kitchens in the Washington, DC, area.
Sugo Cicchetti Opens in Potomac Park (May 1, 2012) – Buzz started building in 2010 about Sugo Cicchetti—the result of the union between the owners of Cava and Mamma Lucia restaurants. The opening of the store in Park Potomac in May was the third most widely read story on Potomac Patch in 2012.
The Tavern At River Falls Opens In Potomac After Years of Construction (March 27, 2012) – Community members watched construction at the Potomac Village location for months, after the planned restaurant was announced last January. Since the announcement, building and construction reviews pushed the business's opening back, but owner Jeff Grolig finally opened in April.
Jade Billows Closes Doors For Good (July 24, 2012) – After more than 20 years in business, the owners of the popular Chinese restaurant, Jade Billows, decided to close up shop. "Twenty years here, it feels like a mission accomplished," said owner Richie Lee.
Grilled Oyster Company Opens In Potomac’s Cabin John Shopping Center (Sept. 5, 2012) – Potomac’s latest seafood joint opened Sept. 5 in the Cabin John Shopping Center. Bethesda and Chevy Chase residents may recognize the founders from Clyde’s Restaurant Group and O’Donnell’s Sea Grill.
Chef Geoff's Opens in Rockville (Sept. 6, 2012) -- The restaurant group opened its first location in 2000 and has since made a name—that of owner Geoff Tracy—serving contemporary American cuisine in a casual atmosphere. The new Rockville location opened on Sept. 12.
Bethesda Theatre To Reopen as Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club (Sept. 17, 2012) -- The Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, set to take over the Bethesda Theatre, according to club proprietor Rick Brown. Following its renovation, the Wisconsin Avenue landmark will feature “300 seats for dinner, a beautiful new 40 foot bar and lounge and 200 additional performance seats,” according to the club’s website.
Israeli Restaurant Chain To Debut At Montgomery Mall (Sept. 12, 2012) -- Israel’s largest restaurant franchise is coming to the Westfield Montgomery Mall. Aroma Espresso Bar, which serves up coffee, soups, salads, and pastries, was set to open in mid-November.
Bethesda’s Puree Launches Vegan Kitchen, Offers Home Delivery (Dec. 14, 2012) -- Amy Waldman owner of Puree Juice Bar in Bethesda has launched a home delivery service, and with it a vegan commercial kitchen based in Kensington. The delivery service opened in December and delivers Puree’s juices, raw foods and soups to homes across the DC area, as first reported by Bethesda Magazine’s Table Talk blog. All of the products are freshly made in Waldman’s new vegan commercial kitchen.
Employees Take On Ownership of Wildwood Kitchen (Nov. 27, 2012) – When celebrity chef Robert Wiedmaier opened his newest restaurant, Wildwood Kitchen in Bethesda, he made five of his long-time employees part-owners. Wiedmaier drew key staff from his Mussel Bar in Bethesda and the popular Brasserie Beck and Marcel’s in Washington, DC, to become partners in his latest venture. Wildwood Kitchen came to the area with another new neighbor -- Chop't Salad, which opened in November in the shopping center.
For more top foodie news, check out our rundown of the Bethesda burger scene in 2012 on Monday -- it's a whole new plate of restaurant news.