Local wood-fired pizza chain Matchbox plans to plant a restaurant in Bethesda this summer, the brand announced today.
The new 3,000-square-foot location will take over the space in the Bethesda Row development formerly occupied by fellow Thompson Hospitality Group spot American Tap Room at 7278 Woodmont Avenue. That continues a shakeup for the restaurant group, which closed the Penn Quarter location of Hen Quarter near the end of 2018.
Matchbox’s regional expansion plan is to open its a second Silver Spring location along with another to-be-announced location this year. After Thompson took over management of Matchbox with an $11 million investment last summer, the brand hatched a new strategy to open smaller, neighborhood-focused restaurants with an intimate feel. Thompson also got into the hotel restaurant game this year by debuting the The Delegate inside the new Courtyard and Residence Inn next to the Convention Center in late 2018.
At the new Matchbox in Bethesda, Streetsense will create a vintage-meets-industrial design, anchored by a pizza bar and wood-fired ovens. The 190-seat restaurant, which will feature an open bar area with high-top perches and a private dining room, will offer additional seating on two patios along Woodmont Avenue and Elm Street.
Culinary director Jim Drost will add new items to Matchbox’s existing lineup of wood-fired pizzas, mini burgers, tuna tartare tacos, and supersized meatballs. Expect lunch and dinner, brunch, and happy hour.
The pizza parlor currently has 11 outposts in the D.C. area; Richmond, Virginia; Dallas, Texas; and Sunrise, Florida.
Meanwhile, Thompson just shuttered its 2-year-old Southern fried chicken destination Hen Quarter (750 E Street NW). Taylor Gourmet’s companywide demise also left a fast-casual hole in the neighborhood.
A sign spelling out Hen Quarter’s closure on Monday, December 31, was first spotted by Washington City Paper. Its Silver Spring location shuttered in October, which means Alexandria is the only remaining Hen Quarter.