The owner of Bistro LaZeez is looking to sell his downtown Bethesda restaurant.
The Mediterranean eatery announced its temporary closure on its website last week and a paper sign saying “closed today” has been posted on its door since then.
Owner Ramzi Osseiran said Friday it’s closed because he’s dealing with an agent to sell to a new owner. He said health reasons lead to his decision.
A sign posted on the door of LaZeez this week indicated the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services ordered the restaurant closed. Department spokeswoman Mary Anderson said the order to close came because the restaurant didn’t renew its operating license, which every restaurant is required to do annually by Jan. 31 or face closure by the county.
Osseiran said the license expired without his knowing, though Anderson noted the county reminds restaurants several times before taking action.
In late 2014, Osseiran took over the restaurant and worked on updating the establishment, including adding a number of new menu items. He said he was thankful for his customers and proud of the restaurant’s favorable reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor.
“It was pretty much dead when I bought it,” he said. “I brought it to life.”
Though he has laid off the Bistro LaZeez staff, he maintained the restaurant’s closing is only temporary because he hopes someone else can take over under the same name, as he had. He said he also hasn’t ruled out renewing the license and reopening it himself.
“There’s so many possibilities, it’s really hard to say,” he said.