2015 | Dine

Small Bites: Spanish Tapas Concept Coming to Former BlackFinn Space in Bethesda

Plus: Buyer selected for Steamers site; Potomac market moves closer to opening

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A new Spanish tapas concept from the owner of Bold Bite is planned for the former BlackFinn space in Woodmont Triangle

New restaurant offering Spanish tapas coming to former Blackfinn space

Before Bold Bite owner Alonso Roche opened the Bethesda hamburger and hot dog lunch spot in Woodmont Triangle in 2011, he worked for two years as a cook at a now-closed one-star Michelin restaurant in Madrid called Zaranda. Now he’s trying to reconnect with his past with a new restaurant—tentatively named De Tapas—which will offer Spanish tapas in what he describes as a lively bar setting next door to Bold Bite.

“I’m going for informal, fun and modern, but keeping the tradition of how they serve tapas in Spain,” Roche, of Chevy Chase, said Wednesday.

As for why he pursued the Bold Bite concept rather than a more traditional restaurant initially, Roche said he wanted to spend his evenings at home with his young children. Now that they’re older, he’s itching to cook more refined cuisine again.

The restaurant will take up a portion of the former Blackfinn space adjacent to Bold Bite and both restaurants will share Bold Bite’s kitchen. Roche said he hopes to open the new concept in the spring.

He hasn’t settled on formal menu items, but he said they’ll change as ingredients become available seasonally. As far as drinks go, expect several gin and tonic varieties. Roche said the drink is popular in Spain and one of his favorites. He’s planning variations that involve different gins, tonics and garnishes such as cucumbers, blood oranges and Meyer lemons.

As for the potential cross-town competition from Jaleó—the Spanish tapas concept near Bethesda Row—Roche said his restaurant will be different.

“We’re going to be more informal, more of a bar kind of thing,” Roche said. “I’m striving to do something that’s lively and fun.”

Buyer selected for Steamers site, but deal not done

Josh Feldman, the Marcus & Millichap real estate broker handling the sale of the former Steamers site in Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle, said Wednesday that a buyer has been selected for the restauarant. Feldman said the property is under a letter-of-intent, but details of the contract remain under negotiation. Because of the negotiations, Feldman would not reveal the potential buyer or the sale price. He said negotiations could wrap up in about a week.

The 8,300-square-foot property is a combination of four lots owned by two families who no longer live in the area, including a person who grew up in one of the houses that were later cobbled together to create the restaurant, according to Feldman. Steamers closed at the site in August after a series of alcohol violations. The property is expected to fetch a high price due to its redevelopment potential on a corner lot at the intersection of Norfolk and Auburn avenues.

O’Donnell’s Market moves closer to opening

After some construction delays, the new Potomac market O’Donnell’s is coming together and is now planning to open before Thanksgiving, according to a report in the local retail blog Store Reporter. The market is owned by Bill Edelblut, a member of the O’Donnell family. The family ran the O’Donnell’s Sea Grill restaurants for nearly a century before Edelblut retired and sold the last restaurant—in the Kentlands—about two years ago. The new market will include the O’Donnell’s signature rum buns and crabcakes as well as prepared meals, meats and fresh seafood. The market is currently under construction at 1073 Seven Locks Road, near where Wootton Parkway passes under over I-270.