Silver Spring and Bethesda Developers Look To Fill Vacant Restaurant Spaces

Several large locations remain unfilled

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Ellsworth Place in Silver Spring, where Noodles & Co. closed in May.

Joe Zimmermann

Several prominent restaurant spaces in downtown Silver Spring and Bethesda sit vacant as developers and landlords work to bring in new tenants.

The day Noodles & Co. closed in Ellsworth Place late last month, Petrie Richardson Ventures, which manages the property, was contacted by five different companies about the space, said Terry Richardson, president of the development company. Since then, three other companies have approached Petrie Richardson about the space on Ellsworth Drive, he said, describing them all as national, fast-casual chains.

“We’re entertaining proposals from eight different restaurant groups,” he said Wednesday. “We’re just trying to figure out who is the best fit for the market.” He said Petrie Richardson expects to announce the new tenant in the coming weeks and expects that tenant to open by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Ellsworth Place is looking to fill two other spaces on the inside of its mall with food-related businesses. One could be a candy shop, the other a sit-down restaurant, he said.

Richardson said that Silver Spring, with its walkability, high income and ethnic diversity, is an enticing opportunity for many restaurants. “We’ve seen a lot of appeal,” he said.

Elsewhere in Silver Spring, as well as downtown Bethesda, the process to fill vacant restaurant spaces is more opaque, and several spaces have stood empty for months without news of a replacement.

Among them is the large Lincoln’s Bar-B-Que space by the public fountain on Ellsworth Drive, which has been unfilled since the barbecue restaurant closed in January. It was The Restaurant Group’s second attempt to use the space, after it opened A.G. Kitchen in 2015, but after Lincoln’s failure, the group isn’t trying again.

“We don’t know what and how we could ever make it successful,” Jeremy Wladis, CEO of the group, said at the time.

On the other side of Colesville Road, the space that housed The Classics sits vacant since the restaurant closed in February after about 12 years in business. La Madeleine on the corner of Georgia Avenue and Wayne Avenue has been empty since it closed last April.

In the Woodmont Triangle area of Bethesda, there’s no news of a replacement for Community, which closed in January after a prolonged saga of closings and openings under a new name. There’s similarly little word on Bethesda Row properties Lebanese Taverna, which closed on the corner of Arlington Road and Elm Street in March, and Redwood, which closed New Year’s Day but waited until April to finalize its departure. Filling a massive space on Bethesda Lane, Redwood is being split into three separate storefronts for leasing.

Federal Realty, which manages Bethesda Row, has not announced tenants that will fill the spaces, and representatives of the developer have not responded to multiple requests for comment.

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