Photo by Emma Patti

Geoff Tracy’s longtime wish to open a restaurant in the old Houston’s space on Rockville Pike is finally coming true: With a $1.6 million renovation and more than 100 new employees, Chef Geoff’s Rockville will start serving food and drinks on Wednesday, September 12.

This will be Tracy’s fourth local eponymous restaurant; he also owns Lia’s in Chevy Chase, and is partners with his brother Chris at Hank’s Tavern & Eats in Hyattsville.

The Rockville space, which briefly and most recently housed Againn Tavern, the British gastropub that shuttered in May 2011 after barely a year in business, has been brightened and lightened.

The dark brown décor has been replaced with cream-colored walls, gold carpeting and light fixtures with Mason jar lampshades, and the façade has a bright red awning that you can spot from the Pike.

The open kitchen that clanked in the back of Againn Tavern has been silenced with a wall, and the old rectangular-shaped bar was dismantled and stretched out along the right side of the restaurant. Two private party rooms and outdoor seating for drinking and dining complete the space.

As for the menu, it’ll feature Tracy’s “greatest hits” from his other restaurants—shrimp and grits, burgers, pizza and more, according to Courtney Fitzgerald, executive director of hospitality.


But there will also be some new additions, mostly when it comes to drinks.

That includes homemade sodas made with fresh fruit (think spiced pineapple, orange cream, cinnamon apple), craft cocktails with a tiki theme (e.g. a tiki-style Old Fashioned, made with tiki bitters, bourbon, grapefruit juice and date syrup), alcoholic slushies and 30 beers on tap.

In keeping with Tracy’s tradition to promote and transfer staff within his company, Santos Fuentes will be the top toque at the new place. Fuentes has worked at all the other Chef Geoff restaurants, and most recently was the executive chef of the downtown location.


As for what’s next, Fitzgerald said that Tracy’s grand plan is to open five more local restaurants by 2020. Stay tuned.

Chef Geoff’s Rockville will open for lunch on Wednesday, September 12 in the Towne Plaza, 12256 Rockville Pike, Rockville.