The Box Bar & Grill is closed according to the restaurant’s Facebook page, which blames the owner of the failed Dry Fried Wing Bar and Grille for its unsuccessful attempt at a comeback.
Jason McCarther, who opened the original Box Bar & Grill (7525 Old Georgetown Rd.) in 2011, said in February that he had bought back the space from Dry Fried Wings.
McCarther said then that George Farrell, who opened Dry Fried Wings in the space in January, defaulted on payments and came to him to buy back the bar. McCarther had planned to reopen the bar as Roc Bar Live, featuring local live music, in March.
That never happened. Neither McCarther nor Farrell responded to requests for comment. McCarther’s downtown D.C. Roc Bar Nightclub, which opened in September, appears to have also closed.
“The box is closed, thanks to the negligence of George Farrell. i woulnt recomend doing business with him,” reads the Facebook post, which includes links to Farrell’s Facebook page and profile. “Jason and I apologize and thank all of our loyal customers that showed us so much love.”
UPDATE Friday 9:35 a.m. Ri Ra Irish Pub in Bethesda is closing once its lease ends in September, according to an employee who confirmed an earlier report from Bethesda Magazine.
Regional manager Andrew Christie said “it did not make business sense to renew the lease in Bethesda.”
Manager Paul Corey said the Connecticut-based pub chain, which has locations in 11 other cities including Arlington, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, will leave town when its 10-year lease dries up.
Ri Ra will be opening a new location in Georgetown in the fall.
Ri Ra (a Gaelic phrase that translates to “uproar,” or “fun and merriment”) became a spot to watch European soccer matches and drew people in with its beer and whiskey samplers.
The bar and restaurant (4931 Elm St.) was named by On Tap Magazine as the best Irish pub in D.C. in 2012.
The property is part of the Shoppes of Bethesda, managed by Rockville-based The Draiman Companies.
The full text from the announcement Ri Ra will be sharing with customers over the next few weeks is after the jump.
Blogger Robert Dyer reported the restaurant at 4932 St Elmo Ave. posted a note on its door last weekend that it would be closed and that “We hope to be able to serve you again soon, once we have resolved matters.”
Those matters apparently weren’t resolved. A For Lease sign went up in the window of the restaurant on Tuesday.
When reached for comment, a representative for the restaurant said he was heading into a meeting with a lawyer and that the situation was “quite the story.” We haven’t heard back.
The restaurant opened in 2011 and earned mixed reviews, but was perhaps best known for its Saturday night Flamenco dancing.
Owner Stefan Lalos bought the former Gaffney’s restaurant in December 2011, gave the place a new look and opened for business in February 2012.
His PR rep told Bethesda Magazine last year the bar hoped to attract the 30-plus demographic, but that business apparently never materialized.
Executive chef Damon Hersh posted the following message on the restaurant’s Facebook page yesterday:
As of this morning the majestic bar and grille in Bethesda is closed. Thank you to all our great guests, friends, customers, and staff. Good luck in all future endeavors. We wish great success on the next establishment that fills this space.
Thank you all
Chef Damon Hersh
Not even a month after it opened, the Dry Fried Wing Bar and Grille in the old Box Bar space downtown is closed and the owner of the Box is coming back with a new concept.
McCarther said Dry Fried Wing owner George Farrell, who together with the Dry Fried Wing company put on a January grand opening celebration touting the wings and the importance of minority-owned businesses, defaulted on payments and came to him to buy back the bar.
“I love Bethesda, have for 20 years,” McCarther said.
McCarther, whose Hooters-themed Box Bar and Grill gained quite the reputation after it opened in 2011, said Rockville native Mike Westcott will perform when Roc Bar Live (7525 Old Georgetown Rd.) opens next weekend.
A message for James Boyd, the new CEO of Dry Fried Wings, was not immediately returned. But a publicist for Dry Fried Wings at the time of the bar’s opening said the company never did own a controlling interest in the bar, as the company announced immediately before the grand opening ceremony.
The grand opening ceremony included civil rights leader and former CEO of Dry Fried Wings Dr. Ben Chavis and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. They spoke about empowering minorities through business ownership.
O’Malley Could Have Active 2013 — After seeing three major bills he backed approved by referendum in last month’s election, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) could use that political capital to try for a state gas tax increase. Montgomery County officials last week went to Annapolis to plead for a gas tax hike to help fund the Purple Line. [The Gazette]
Wisconsin Avenue Steakhouse Closes? — Divino, the Argentine steakhouse that opened at 7345 Wisconsin Ave. 10 years ago, appears to be closed. The owner of a restaurant next door saw a dishwasher removed. [Bethesda Magazine]
Metro Escalator, Elevator Fixers Trained At Special Lab — Training to repair the oft-broken escalators at the Bethesda Metro station and yet-to-be reopened elevator happens at the group’s special lab. [Washington Post]
Flickr photo by crthomas888
Police Arrest 16-Year-Old For Capital Crescent Tunnel Mugging — Police on Friday announced they arrested a Rockville 16-year-old for the attempted robbery of two Bethesda 16-year-olds in the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel on Saturday, Sept. 29. Police say the male suspect demanded money and punched one of the victims in the head and the face. [Montgomery County Police]
Tragara Closing, To Be Replaced By 4935 Bar and Kitchen — The 26-year-old Italian restaurant on Cordell Avenue is shutting down because the owner has health problems. Chef Ashish Alfred is taking over. [Bethesda Magazine]
Bethesda Row Cinema Could Add Beer, Wine To Menu — The Landmark Cinema-owned movie theater is applying for an alcohol permit. [Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row]
Bag Tax Revenues Too High, County Might Tweak Rules — With revenues from the county’s nine-month-old bag tax higher than expected, County Council President Roger Berliner discussed the idea of no bag tax at certain types of retailers. [Washington Examiner]
Flickr photo by Bill in DC
Tonight will be his last under the familiar green awning at the corner of Norfolk and Fairmont Avenues.
Foong Lin and the others will be shuttered to make way for a new 17-story apartment building.
A sign outside thanked customers “for 25 wonderful years.”
Cheung hopes it can be more than 25, but it might not come in Bethesda. He’s looking at a spot in the Woodmont Triangle area, but if that doesn’t work out, he said he’s likely headed up the road to Rockville.
A sign on the front door says the create-your-own-stir-fry restaurant is permanently closed. A spokeswoman confirmed the Minnesota-based company closed its Bethesda franchise yesterday.
The Bethesda location was bd’s only Maryland and Washington-area franchise. The restaurant is primarily concentrated in the midwest.
From the company’s official statement:
The bd’s Mongolian Grill in Bethesda made the difficult decision to close. While we can understand the disappointment many have expressed, this is not an indication or reflection of the health of the bd’s Mongolian Grill brand. This was an independently owned and operated franchise and its closing will neither impact operations elsewhere nor future growth plans for the region. bd’s Mongolian Grill has 33 restaurants, 32 domestically-based in 11 states and one in Mongolia, and continues to expand into new markets carving out a new niche in the casual-dining segment.
Fu Cheung has until Aug. 31.
Foong Lin, his popular Chinese restaurant with the green awning at the corner of Norfolk and Fairmont Avenues, will be shuttered to make way for construction of a 17-story apartment building.
After 26 years in Woodmont Triangle, Cheung and his staff of 18 employees will be without a home.
“We don’t know what to do next,” said hostess Ling Mok.
As Bethesda prepares to undergo a new wave of apartment and office development, established ethnic restaurants long thought to be the area’s lifeblood must adapt. For Cheung, that means the possibility of having to relocate to somewhere other than Bethesda. And that would be like “starting over again,” he said.
Cheung said he is waiting to hear back on one potential new location in Bethesda. But if that falls through, he’ll be forced to look to Rockville or Potomac.
The potential for redevelopment is always out there, said Marco Troino, owner of the Pines of Rome (4709 Hampden Lane).
“It’s always something people ask us,” Troino said. “As Bethesda has been rebuilt and rebuilt over the last 25, 30 years they come with this kind of gossip every so often.”
Troino celebrated his restaurant’s 40th anniversary earlier this month. Its patterned tablecloths, white pizza and homey atmosphere have made it a favorite among longtime Bethesda residents, even as the newer restaurants of nearby Bethesda Row have gained a foothold.
ExxonMobil, which owns the property next to Pines of Rome at 7340 Wisconsin Avenue, is preparing to sell the site, according to a report last year in Bethesda Magazine. Troino is confident if and when new development is proposed for the land, his property won’t be affected.
But things can change quickly.
Cheung originally thought he would be able to remain in Woodmont Triangle through the end of the year, but JBG Companies, developer of the 4900 Fairmont project advised him that he must be out of the building by September.
There are about a dozen apartment or office projects under review, in planning stages or under construction in the Woodmont Triangle area alone, according to the development map created earlier this summer by the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center.
Those projects would bring a projected 2,100 new apartment units and the accompanying ground floor retail space, space Cheung has found he can’t afford.
A quarter-century ago, he paid $14 per square foot a year at his 4,000 square-foot restaurant. Today, prices mostly range from $25 per square foot to as much as $50 per square foot, Cheung said, making the choice to keep the restaurant open somewhere else difficult.
Haandi, the Indian restaurant around the corner at 4904 Fairmont Avenue, was fortunate. Co-owner Madan Sundriyal found a new space nearby, in the old Uptown Deli at 7905 Norfolk Avenue. Sundriyal hopes to have the move finished in three months.
“We feel very lucky,” Sundriyal said.
“It’s changed a lot,” Cheung said. “I’d hate to go.”
UPDATED (Aug. 19 at 3:15 p.m.) A sign on the front door of Uptown Deli (7905 Norfolk Ave.) claims the “New York Jewish” style eatery is closed for a month of renovations, but a former employee said new ownership is closing it for good and changing it to an Indian restaurant.
The tipster said the original owner, who in November 2010 opened what was then the only restaurant of its kind in Bethesda, sold Uptown last October because he “didn’t want to sink more money into the operation.”
In March 2011, Uptown held a grand opening ceremony, complete with proclamations from County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and County Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda).
UPDATE: Uptown Deli is out on Norfolk Avenue. Bethesda Magazine’s Carole Sugarman reported Friday that nearby Haandi, the longtime Indian restaurant at 4904 Fairmont Ave., is moving into the space. Haandi’s last day in its current location will be Aug. 31, said co-owner Madan Sundriyal.
Its current building will soon be redeveloped into a 17-story apartment with ground-floor retail. Sundriyal said he hopes to reopen in the new location in three months.