202 Next Door Opens in Bethesda
Restaurant serves new menu of Latin American-inspired dinner, lunch and brunch dishes
Diners in 202 Next Door on Friday.
The owners of Bold Bite and TacoArepa have opened their latest concept in downtown Bethesda.
The restaurant 202 Next Door opened quietly Thursday night on the corner of Norfolk and Fairmont avenues in Woodmont Triangle.
Though billed as an expansion of the adjacent 202 Donuts & Coffee, the concept is also a restaurant in itself. It shares 202’s morning menu of sandwiches and coffee, but the new establishment branches out with new menus for brunch, lunch and dinner.
202 Next Door is the third concept that brothers Alonso and Alvaro Roche have opened in the space in the past two years. TapaBar opened in September 2016 before closing at the end of last year, while R Family Kitchen opened shortly after and closed May 19. But Alonso Roche said he’s confident about the newest iteration, largely because they’re building off an already successful brand.
“I’m super excited about this, I think people are going to respond well to it,” Roche said. “We have a really loyal following at 202. … I think expanding it to a brand is definitely going to work.”
The café-restaurant is meant to be an all-day destination, Roche said. It is furnished both with armchairs and coffee tables as well as the standard tables and bar seating that TapaBar and R Family offered.
It operates as a pure extension of 202 in the mornings, with customers able to order the same items from either side, but for lunch 202 Next Door functions more in a fast-casual style, with pressed sandwiches, salads and avocado toast available at the bar, which they can eat there or at the tables.
For dinner, 202 Next Door becomes a full-service restaurant. Roche described the menu as Latin American-inspired with some fusion and Spanish items. Most items are small plates, and some ingredients and items are holdovers from TapaBar. For example, Roche repurposed the braised, smoked and grilled octopus into a new dish, and has brought back garlic shrimp.
“I think people are going to recognize the style of the food, and the bold flavors and combination of flavors,” he said. “My biggest thing is to make food accessible, that’s not pretentious and is simple and uses really good ingredients.” Roche stressed the restaurant is focusing on using mostly locally sourced food.
The dinner menu includes four entrees—such as “Pulpo,” the octopus dish, for $36, and a half chicken with brussel sprouts and roasted vegetables for $28. The rest of the items are small plates, including salmon avocado toast for $9.50, mini arepas with boiled provolone and chimichurri for $7.50 and steamed Chinese buns with shredded Cuban pork for $9.50.
For drinks, 202 Next Door will offer beer, wine and a selection of craft cocktails.
The Roches also own Bold Bite at 4903 Cordell Ave. and in Union Station. Their Bold Bite Market in D.C. closed in January after opening last year.