Tag Archives: opening

First Look: Cava Grill in Bethesda

17 Jan

Rachel and I had the opportunity this past weekend to check out Cava Grill, the fast-casual offshoot of the popular Cava Mezze restaurants, scheduled to open this Tuesday in Bethesda Row.

Located in a prime location on Bethesda Avenue, Cava Grill is targeting visitors looking for authentic, freshly-prepared Greek cuisine in a time and budget-conscious setting.

Think of it as a Greek spinoff of Chipotle.

Cava Grill

Diners first decide how they want their meal constructed as they have a choice of their food being prepared in a pita, bowl with Basmati rice, three open-faced mini pitas, or a salad.

You then have a selection of dips and spreads to choose from, ranging from tzatziki to hummus to their contagious “Crazy Feta” (feta fused with jalapeno). Patrons can choose as many spreads as they want, although it is recommended to use two at most in order to avoid contesting flavors.

Cava Grill InteriorCava Grill MenuCava Grill Interior

The next step is selecting your protein. Options include chicken, ground sirloin, lamb, Loukaniko (pork sausage), or falafel.  All the meats are seasoned and grilled while the falafel is prepared in-house. Cava Grill also offers a veggie option without using any meat or falafel.

After that, you can top off your creation with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, shredded red cabbage, romaine lettuce, and of course, feta cheese.

Minis Platter

I ordered a chicken pita with hummus and eggplant & red pepper spread, and then topped it off with shredded cabbage, diced onions, and feta.

I took my first bite as the pita was overflowing with ingredients. While I may have overdone it on the spreads, it was still a very delicious wrap. Everything just tasted so fresh but didn’t leave me feeling full to the point of reaching a food coma like a burrito typically would.

Rachel ordered the minis platter, mixing and matching her lunch with chicken and hummus, falafel and tzatziki, and lamb and Crazy Feta. She felt the minis offered the proper balance of both variety and portion size.

Chicken pita with hummus and eggplant & red pepper spread

Meanwhile, it’s amazing how fast the space, previously occupied by Organic To Go, has been transformed. Cava Grill installed reclaimed wood which panels the walls and adorns the tabletops, while empty glass bottles are hung from the ceiling. Its modern interior makes the venue appear more upscale yet offers affordable selections.

Cava Grill has also embraced the composting approach used at other eateries such as Sweetgreen. Customers can place all of the restaurant’s disposable items, such as bowl and cutlery, for composting in designated bins.

Cava Grill ExteriorCava Grill InteriorCava Grill Wall Mural

Overall, we expect Cava Grill to be an instant hit when they open this week. Based on Cava’s already established brand in the area as well as their fast-casual approach, it’s hard not to envision them being slammed during lunch hour from nearby office workers in downtown Bethesda, or with families on the weekends.

Cava Grill is located on 4832 Bethesda Avenue and will open to the public this Tuesday.

Cava Mezze Grill on Urbanspoon

Bethesda Restaurant News

15 Dec

It seems Bethesda has lately become a revolving door for restaurants. After a flurry of new restaurant openings in late summer and early fall, it had seemed that things cooled off a bit as Bethesda residents were busy trying out the new arrivals.

Well, it looks like new spots are on the horizon as we head towards 2011.

We already told you about Cava Grill, and it seems the place is coming along quite nicely and should open as planned by the end of December.

In other news on the Bethesda Row side, it looks like Rock Creek is closing its doors on December 31st to make way for a new restaurant, Newton’s Table.

Dennis Friedman, the former chef at Bezu in Rockville, will take over the space and hopes to reopen in March 2011 offering American food with an Asian twist while focusing on farm fresh ingredients. Thanks to BethesdaPatch for the heads up!

Friedman can also be seen on Sundays at the Bethesda Central Farmers Market serving woodfire pizza from his food truck, Fired Up Pizzas, so he already has a relationship with local farmers.

Moving to the Woodmont Triangle area, it looks like Grapeseed chef Jeff Heineman is opening a casual eatery next door to his formal restaurant, Freddie’s Lobster and Clams.

It will be a seafood shack serving food such as lobster rolls, clams, and fish and chips. This seems like a great new addition of a more casual dining establishment, and I can always go for more lobster roll options! Heineman plans to open by the end of the year. Thanks to Table Talk for the tip.

In another scoop from Table Talk, Jetties, a sandwich and salad eatery, will open in the Spring of 2011 on Fairmont Avenue next to BGR. There is already a location in Northwest DC on Foxhall Road, and they are known best for their carved turkey sandwiches.

I’m always glad when a new sandwich and salad place opens, since there never seems to be quite enough options around lunch time aside from old standbys like Sweetgreen, Potbelly, and of course, the new Taylor Deli.

Check back for updates as these new spots get ready to open, and for other breaking restaurant news.

Bethesda Restaurant Openings and Closings

28 Oct

DMV Dining brings you a compilation of some comings and goings in the Bethesda restaurant scene.

There are certain places that have been in the DC area for decades and are thought of as institutions. Gifford’s Ice Cream is one such place, and we sadly learned that they have closed their doors at all locations due to a legal dispute.

I was walking past the Bethesda location yesterday, and was shocked to see the dark store and eviction notice taped on the door. There was a written note that said, “Closed for the weekend”, but it seems that the sign had been there for several days.

Inside a dark Gifford'sGifford's Closed signGifford's Eviction Notice

Looking into this further, the Washington Post confirmed that there has been a nasty legal battle spanning the last few months between the current and former owner, and the former alleged that the company had been swapping premium Gifford’s ice cream for a generic Hood ice cream brand. We hope this all can be worked out as it would be a sad day in Bethesda to see the beloved store close down for good.

tout de SWEETWhat’s great about working and living in Bethesda is that I can easily run some errands during lunch time. A few days ago, I was picking up some shoes I had repaired at Fortuna’s, a great shoe and leather repair store on Woodmont Avenue, when I spotted a sign on a storefront for a new dessert and pastry shop.

The sign covered the windows so it was hard to tell what was going on behind the scenes, but I was able to take a picture, and it looks like tout de SWEET pastry shop will be arriving soon. The only other description was on the bottom of the sign, which said, “tea, cakes, macaroons, coffee, cupcakes.” We’ll report more when we notice further developments, but as of now, there is no website to speak of for this establishment.

We may have missed the boat on this one, because is looks like Annie’s Bistro Francais is already open on Elm Street in Bethesda. We noticed a few months back that something was coming in the old Cafe Gelato space, but since we don’t live on that side of Bethesda anymore, that specific area is harder to keep track of.

While checking Yelp, it looks like the Bistro opened about a month ago and is already getting rave reviews. The story behind this restaurant is that there was a place with the same name in Middleburg, VA that had a great following. Sadly, they had to close down after too much damage from Snowmageddon, and decided to move up to Bethesda and start over. We can’t wait to try it and I have a feeling we’ll be really glad that they decided to make the move to Maryland.

One place we were always curious to try but never got around to was Javan Restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue. We always heard good things about the Persian restaurant, but now it looks like we’ll never have the opportunity to try it as we recently noticed it was closed for good.

We won’t have to hold out for Persian food for too long as Table Talk reported that a Kabob Bazaar will take its place. This restaurant has a long track record with their Arlington location, which has an average of four stars on Yelp. We will certainly have to check this one out, and based on its reputation, it definitely looks promising.

Finally, I have always found it interesting that there are so many rug stores in the area, yet before long, they all close and have huge signs hanging for months saying that they are going out of business and that everything must go. I noticed this when I was living in DC, and now the same case presents itself in Bethesda, next to Gaffney’s on Wisconsin Ave.

However, below their Going out of Business banners are green signs on the bottom of the windows that say, “Italian Cuisine Coming Soon.” Now, this is fairly vague, and we still have no idea what type of Italian cuisine they’ll be cooking, nor the name of the restaurant, nor any other details, but the signs are prominent in several places. It just seems odd to us that they are already posting signs for a new establishment while the current one has not shut its doors yet.

We’ll keep an eye on those signs and look for more details, but for now, we can tell you that there is yet another Italian restaurant coming to the Bethesda area, and that it will be “soon.”

Bobby's Burger Palace Coming to DC, Bethesda

21 Oct

To continue the trend from yesterday’s burger review, now comes news that Bobby Flay will be expanding his Bobby’s Burger Palace chain to Bethesda, DC, and Baltimore.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, Flay has a dozen or so locations planned to open up over the next year.

But does the DC area need yet another burger joint? Flay, and more importantly, his personality, seem to think so:

The “better burger” market is very crowded now, Flay said, “but I feel we have an advantage. When I open a restaurant, people come.”

“That doesn’t mean they’ll like it,” the chef noted. “It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it gives us a shot.”

Well now, I guess because Bobby Flay has his name on the restaurant, it MUST be good, right?

We’ll reserve judgment once his Burger Palace actually opens in the area, but in the meantime, dude really needs to keep his ego in check.

UPDATE – The Washington Business Journal reports that Flay will be opening his Burger Palace in two area locations. The first will be in College Park, Maryland at The Varsity, a luxury student housing complex. An opening is slated for September 1.

The second location will be located in DC proper at 2121 K Street NW. It is tentatively scheduled to open later this year.

UPDATE IIMetrocurean is reporting that the DC location of Bobby’s Burger Shack is expected to open on Tuesday, August 16.