2015 | Dine

New Restaurant Planned for Former BlackFinn Space in Bethesda

The owners of Bold Bite signed a lease for the space earlier this week

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Bold Bite is adjacent to the new restaurant location, which will take up part of the former BlackFinn space

Andrew Metcalf

The former BlackFinn space in Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle that’s been vacant for over a year will soon be home to a new restaurant.

Alonso Roche, who operates the adjacent Bold Bite fast casual restaurant, confirmed Wednesday that he has signed a 10-year lease to take over a 1,500-square foot portion of the former bar where he’ll open a new restaurant with his brother Alvaro Roche.

Alonso Roche wouldn’t discuss what the cuisine will be, but said the menu is in development now.

“My background is as a chef and I’ve been itching to get back in the kitchen,” Roche said. “It’s an opportunity to create a menu of exciting food.”

Roche said the plan is to use the Bold Bite kitchen for the new restaurant. An opening between the two spaces will be built.  

After BlackFinn closed, the property owner, Greenhill Capital, gutted the space and removed the kitchen.

Roche said the restaurant will have outdoor seating at the corner of Norfolk and Fairmont avenues as well as a “great bar.”

Before founding the lunchtime spot Bold Bite in Bethesda four years ago, Roche worked as a chef at Persimmon in Bethesda and Willow, a now-closed restaurant in Arlington. He also served as an instructor at L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda as well as a cook in Spain for a few years.

“I can tell you my food is all about really good ingredients and simple, uncomplicated preparations,” Roche said.

Bold Bite currently specializes in hamburgers, half-smokes and salads, and Roche said he’s currently updating its menu as well. The eatery often attracts a sizeable lunch time crowd and it also offers donuts under the 202 Artisanal Donut Company brand. Roche, who operates Bold Bite with his wife Maria, opened a second Bold Bite location in 2013 at the Union Station food court in Washington, D.C.

Roche said he doesn’t know for sure when his new restaurant will open, as he’s currently waiting on the landlord to finish some work on the building. He said he hopes to open about three months after the space is delivered to him.  Lenny Greenberg, owner of Greenhill Capital, said Wednesday he estimates the additional work would take about four to six weeks.

Greenberg also said the other tenant space inside the building would be renovated by raising the floor to make it at grade and by adding a new façade. That space is about 2,500 square feet and Greenhill plans to find a new tenant for that location.

BlackFinn abruptly closed in April 2014 after reportedly falling behind on rent.