Longtime restaurateur Jackie Greenbaum is excited to bring a bit of D.C. sensibility to the suburbs.
Greenbaum and her partners Gordon Banks and chef Adam Harvey just announced that a version of their subterranean Dupont Circle steakhouse and watering hole Bar Charley will open this fall in Gaithersburg’s Rio Lakefront Mall.
The new location will occupy the former Tara Thai space (9811 Washingtonian Boulevard, Gaithersburg), which sits right on the boardwalk and includes a 100-seat patio with lake views. The plan is to broaden Bar Charley’s steak-centric menu with additions like homemade pasta, like it does at Petworth sibling Little Coco’s. Harvey will helm the kitchen along with Russell Pike, currently the chef de cuisine at Little Coco’s.
Banks and Harvey both have Maryland ties and had been eyeing an expansion to Gaithersburg long before the pandemic.
“The full-on suburbs — which Gaithersburg is — is really craving something like Bar Charley,” Greenbaum tells Eater. Her email inbox and phone’s been blowing up since the news of their impending Rio location broke, she says.
“I can not tell you how many people have said, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you’re coming out near me. I won’t have to drive downtown,’” she says of Maryland fans of Bar Charley, many of whom may have uprooted themselves from the District in the past few years. “They’ve gotten a little bit older, maybe they are having a family or they want a place with grass. It’s very exciting to a lot of people that we’re coming to them.”
The team’s portfolio of restaurants includes Little Coco’s, El Chucho, and Quarry House Tavern, but Bar Charley’s crowd-pleasing menu of steaks and fun cocktails seemed like it would best fit this location.
“It really buzzes in Bar Charley,” Greenbaum says. “We aim is to attract a breadth of people for the dining aspect and also offer an exciting bar culture that that area doesn’t really have in our opinion.”
For Greenbaum and her team, one big plus for the suburbs is lots of space, from the 90-seat dining room to the kitchen. “This is like ten times the kitchen we have anywhere,” she says.
The group turned to Editlab@Streetsense to translate Bar Charley’s moody sensibility to a big space, and Greenbaum isn’t revealing many details about the design quite yet.
“We’re looking for something that is timeless but cheeky,” she says.
Look for the new Rio Lakefront restaurant to open around October.