Lately, it seems like Bethesda is the place to open up an outpost of some of the DMV’s (and NYC’s) hippest restaurant chains. This tony neighborhood in the Maryland suburbs is historically not known as a restaurant hotspot, thanks to many corporate chain options, but that reputation is steadily changing.
In 2020, celebrity chef and humanitarian José Andrés brought his NYC comfort food destination Spanish Diner to Bethesda, and D.C.’s beloved Chinese-Korean fast-casual chain Chiko landed in the neighborhood too. This year, there’s plenty of restaurant news about buzzy new Bethesda eateries.
Here are 11 Bethesda restaurants and bars either brand new or slated to open in 2022 to know about.
AP Pizza Shop
The team behind D.C. favorites like All-Purpose Pizzeria, Boundary Stone Public House, and The Red Hen is plotting two openings in Bethesda. Colin McDonough, Gareth Croke, Mike O’Malley, and chef Mike Friedman expect to open AP Pizza Shop this year at 4747 Bethesda Avenue. Inspired by the neighborhood pizzerias of their youth, the team’s all-day restaurant will whip up Italian coffee and pastries in the morning, then offer paninis and salads for lunch, and pizza in the evening.
The second outpost from Friedman, McDonough, Croke, and O’Malley is Aventino, slated to open this year in the same building as AP Pizza Shop at 4747 Bethesda Avenue. Chef Friedman will hone in on Roman cuisine at Aventino, with a menu of antipasti, pasta, and more Italian dishes. At the bar, find classic cocktails like spritzes and negronis.
An NYC bakery and cafe with a cookie that’s Oprah-approved is headed to Bethesda Row. The List Are You On It reports that Maman is slated to open a Bethesda shop in late spring/early summer, with D.C. locations planned for Georgetown and Union Market.
The Salt Line
This New England seafood house from Long Shot Hospitality is invading the suburbs. An offshoot of the Navy Yard original opened in Ballston in 2021, and a Bethesda location is coming soon. The plan is to open in the long-empty space at 4900 Hampden Lane, with a slated opening planned for 2022.
A Cuban restaurant based in Sterling is going to make the jump from Virginia to Maryland. Bethesda magazine reports that Cubasi Bistro will open this month at 4710 Bethesda Avenue. The Sterling menu spans roast pork sandwich, cod fish fritters, rice bowls, and Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo.
A Bethesda location of NYC-based Mexicue is slated to open this month at 4733 Elm Street, according to Bethesda magazine. Mexicue brought its quirky mashups of Mexican food and Southern cuisine to D.C. in 2019 with a 14th Street outpost serving burnt end brisket bowls and Nashville hot chicken tacos.
Popular NYC taqueria Tacombi landed in the DMV this fall with the opening of an outpost in Arlington, right near Amazon HQ2. That was the first of several area restaurants for Tacombi, and now a Bethesda location is open at 4749 Bethesda Ave.
Tacombi is known for beer-battered Alaskan cod tacos, wrapped in homemade corn and flour tortillas. Other popular dishes include quesadillas with thinly-sliced Mexico City-style al pastor roasted pork; sweet potato, kale, and poblano pepper burritos; and corn esquites. Located on the corner of Bethesda Avenue, Tacombi’s second DMV restaurant spans 4,500 square feet and includes an open kitchen where diners can watch the team’s taqueros at work. Views from the dining room also look out to the Capital Crescent Trail and green space currently in development.
Tacombi’s Bethesda location is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and takeout and delivery service will be available through its website and app.
Butter Me Up
The breakfast sandwich virtual kitchen offshoot Shaw’s HalfSmoke earned its own brick-and-mortar location in Bethesda’s Montgomery Mall located at 7101 Democracy Boulevard. Butter Me Up launched during the pandemic, serving over-the-top breakfast sandwiches with cheeky names like the “Staycation” with scrambled eggs, goat cheese, caramelized onions, avocado, and sriracha mayo all served on butter brioche rolls. The Bethesda outpost opened in the beginning of May and also serves juice, smoothies, toasts, and coffee drinks.
Paris in Town
A French bistro serving up crepes, quiche du jour, panini sandwiches, and onion soup is now open in Bethesda as of April. Located at 4903 Cordell Avenue, Paris in Town also exists in Florida in Palm Beach under the same ownership, Bethesda magazine reports. The restaurant includes a case with macarons and desserts and a French language book exchange wall as well.
Maryland “crab” dip at Bethesda’s chic new plant-based restaurant Planta involves hearts of palm, creamy cashew mozzarella, and Old Bay remoulade. The Bethesda Row outpost of the vegan North American chain opened this February in a space at 4910 Elm Street that’s outfitted with soothing wood tones and vibrant green.
All-veggie taco purveyor Chaia grew from a farmers market stall to now three brick-and-mortar locations: Georgetown, Chinatown, and now Bethesda. Chaia opened up at 7237 Woodmont Avenue in September 2021 on a one-year lease with hopes to possibly extend the contract. Order sweet potato nachos, rainbow carrot tacos, and kids’ meals (a one-off for the Bethesda location).
The wait for a high-rise rooftop bar in Bethesda is over with the opening this month of Hip Flask, which sits atop the new 12-story Marriott Bethesda Downtown at Marriott HQ. This hotel bar at 7707 Woodmont Avenue is awash in nautical blues, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a terrace to take in the Bethesda skyline. Order local Maryland brews, speakeasy-style cocktails served in flasks, and small bites like pimento cheese deviled egs.
Call Your Mother
The rapidly-expanding local bagel shop picked its newest location at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda to debut its first dinner menu. Opened in September 2021 at 11807 Grand Park Avenue, the “Jew-ish” deli serves pizza bagels, pastrami brisket tacos, and breakfast sandwiches starting at 4 p.m., while breakfast starts at 8 a.m.
A Cali-style seafood destination is now open at North Bethesda’s Canopy by Hilton at 940 Rose Avenue in the Pike & Rose development. Hello Betty debuted in April, unveiling a colorful dining room decorated with beach blankets. The menu is beachy too, focusing on blue crabs tossed in Old Bay vinegar, tacos assembled tableside, and orange crushes. A 40-foot boat parked on the patio will be used as an outdoor bar this summer.
Update, June 10, 2022 at 10 a.m.: Added Pizza Shop and Aventino and indicated Tacombi is now open.