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Struggling Bethesda Diner Shuts Down for Burger Revamp

Community has closed to overhaul its menu

The bar at Community.
Photo by Warren Rojas / Eater DC

Not-quite-year-old Community diner in Bethesda, Maryland, closed Wednesday, October 25, due to “tremendous training and service issues.”

Founder Marc Bucher, who continues to have a hand in steak frites chain Medium Rare and previously built up quick-service eatery BGR, told Bethesda Magazine that he plans to reopen the throwback restaurant at 7776 Norfolk Avenue in a few weeks.

Rather than stick with the comfort foods and photogenic sweets (think: fried chicken, cotton candy) he’d started with, Bucher said the new menu will showcase gourmet burgers, cocktails, and boozy milkshakes. One thing that will remain: the sugary doughnuts and hot coffee that lured passersby to the strategically placed walk-up window at the front of the restaurant.

Bucher discussed some of the growing pains he was experiencing in Bethesda with Eater earlier this summer. While he was aware of the mounting dissatisfaction with the service provided within the restaurant, Bucher vowed to stand his ground for what he perceived to be an investment in the whole area’s future.

“These are high school kids that no one hires because they don’t want to have short-term employees,” he said of his youthful workforce. Some, he noted, had never worked in the hospitality trade before.

“We get knocks for service. I don’t care,” Bucher arged, adding, “The food’s good, the value’s good [and] they’ll get better with more experience.”

A plate of freshly dipped doughnuts at Community.
Photo by Warren Rojas / Eater DC

In fact, he’d like to bring even more outsiders into the dining universe.

“I think everyone should work in a restaurant in life. It’s good training for the world,” Bucher said.