Celebrity chef and humanitarian José Andrés is replacing the Bethesda location of pioneering tapas destination Jaleo with an offshoot of the casual Spanish Diner that has been a critical success in New York City. ThinkFoodGroup plans to announce the news later today (Wednesday, October 14).
Spanish Diner opened last year inside TFG’s Mercado Little Spain, a bright spot inside New York City’s mostly maligned Hudson Yards development. The second location for the egg-centric restaurant will move into Federal Realty’s Bethesda Row, taking over the Jaleo in the chef’s suburban Maryland neighborhood (7271 Woodmont Avenue).
The 6,500-square-foot replacement, billed as Andrés’s “Iberian take of the classic American all-day restaurant,” expects to open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in spring 2021. Jaleo attempted takeout in Bethesda for a short time at the start of the pandemic but went dark in May. Locations in Penn Quarter and Crystal City are open for indoor dining, patio seating, pickup, and delivery.
“I like to say that Spanish Diner is the place to go for food that a Spanish grandma would cook for you right in her kitchen … simple food made with love,” Andrés says in a statement
One of three distinct restaurants inside Mercado Little Spain, Spanish Diner drew instant praise from critics at Eater and GrubStreet for classic and homey dishes. New York Times critic Pete Wells also named its Basque cheesecakes, pan de cristal con tomate, gazpacho, and chocolate churros among the top 20 dishes served across the 35,000-square-foot food hall.
One best seller making its way to Bethesda is the huevos rotos (broken eggs) Casa Lucio — eggs fried in olive oil and balanced atop fat, crispy fries. They’re named after the famed Madrid restaurant that put the dish on the map.
“These fries are great and unusual in their flat, squared-off shape and relatively soft texture, seemingly designed to soak up egg yolk like sponges,” GrubStreet writes.
Catalan beef stew, Ibérico pork meatballs, and baked pastas join the menu later in the day along with family-style dishes and Spanish cocktails, beer, and wine.
Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup permanently closed America Eats Tavern in Georgetown at the end of June and has consolidated fast-casual, veggie-driven Beefsteak in the Foggy Bottom location.