Updated 10:50 a.m. Jan. 22: The owners of recently closed TapaBar have opened a new concept in its place.
R Family Kitchen & Bar opened Friday at the corner of Norfolk and Fairmont avenues, less than three weeks after TapaBar closed after New Year’s Eve.
The name is a play on the owners’ last name, Roche, and Alonso Roche said Monday he wants to use the restaurant to share his family’s favorite foods.
“So the idea behind it is, basically our family’s comfort food,” Roche said. “It’s what we grew up eating, what we love to eat on a regular basis.”
The restaurant takes influence from Venezuela—where Alonso and his brother, co-owner Alvaro Roche, grew up—as well as Cuban dishes their grandfather would make. Alonso Roche said there’s mac and cheese on the kids menu because it’s his daughter’s favorite.
The eclectic menu everything from chicken wings to spring rolls to tequeños, a Venezuelan cheese stick with smoky aioli. The main courses are “sizzle plates”—for $16.75 to $19.75, customers get a choice of sous-vide roasted chicken, seared Coulotte steak or seared Norwegian salmon served on a hot plate with chimicurri, mojo pico and a side.
The restaurant will also offer pho, which the Roches began serving as a pop-up lunch option at the location this winter. There’s a kids menu with steak, mac and cheese and chicken tenders.
Roche said he plans to continue building on the menu and wants to include more vegetarian options as well as other possible items like baby-back ribs.
With R Family, Roche opens what he sees as a more family-friendly option than TapaBar was. He hopes that the meals under $20 and the kids menu will appeal to a wider crowd, and he said he’s changing the interior of the restaurant to add a TV and create more of a “hangout space.”
“It’s important to be a little more obtainable,” Roche said. “Affordability is also important.”
The Roche brothers also own Bold Bite and 202 Artisanal Donuts in Bethesda. Their next restaurant, TacoArepa, is expected to open early this year next to their donut shop.
R Family is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily except for Sunday. For dinner, it’s open 4:30 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and closes an hour later on Friday and Saturday.