Citing a lack of adequate foot traffic, 15-month-old Tapabar in Bethesda, Maryland will serve its last smoked octopus and gin and tonic on New Year’s Eve.
Chef Alonso Roche and Alvaro Roche, brothers and co-founders of Bold Family Restaurant Group, “have come to realize it is not quite the right fit for the neighborhood,” according to a release.
Starting on Tuesday, January 2, the former Spanish-themed restaurant (4901 A Fairmont Avenue) will transform into a pop-up lab for lunch and dinner to test out new ideas. Roche is experimenting with pho as a pop-up lunch option in the space, and the plan is to reopen as a full-blown restaurant again — with more of a family-friendly feel — in the next few months.
The restaurateurs, who also operate neighboring sweets shop 202 Donuts and homegrown chain Bold Bite, said and Tapabar could make a comeback elsewhere; they are currently scouring other D.C. area neighborhoods for a new location.
The restaurant group does, however, have lots of eggs in Bethesda’s basket. Fast-casual newcomer Tacoarepa is still on track to open nearby on Fairmont Avenue in early January, and an attached patio bar likely called Sirena Beer Garden will open in March when it warms up. The group planted Bold Bite Market in downtown D.C. this fall.