2011 | Dine

Chef Geoff’s in Rockville a done deal, Gillian Clark drives a limo, and more

Plus, how you can become a food TV reality star

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A bunch of unrelated food items (a smorgasbord?) have crossed my desk in recent days. Here’s a sampling:

* Geoff Tracy, who told me back in early August that he had a tentative deal to open a Chef Geoff’s in the old Houston’s space in the Towne Plaza at 12256 Rockville Pike, has now signed a lease.

After Houston’s closed, Againn Tavern opened in June 2010 but shuttered last May. Tracy said he was competing with Legal Sea Foods for the space, and the landlord, Lerner Enterprises, selected the seafood chain.

But according to Tracy, at the 11th hour, Legal Sea Foods pulled out, and he was offered the space. “You’ve got to stay in the game,” Tracy said. “It’s not over until it’s over.”

The dark and tavern-like interior will undergo a $1.5 million upgrade. “It’s so overtly masculine, it needs a more feminine feel,” Tracy said of the current “brown-on-brown-on-brown” décor. The transformation will give it a bistro feel with more light and openness, he said.

Chef Geoff’s Rockville will have the same core items as the other three Chef Geoff’s, including Korean Fried Chicken, White Truffle Parmesan Popcorn, Wedge with Pepper Bacon, Jumbo Lump Crabcake Sandwich, Big Shrimp & Very Gouda Grits and Sea Scallops with Risotto.

Like the other restaurants, the new Chef Geoff’s will have a robust happy hour, $19.95 sunset specials, Sunday brunch, lots of beer on tap, over 100 wines and wine dinners. Tracy said he expects to hire an opening executive chef and manager from within his “team.” He’s shooting for a May opening.

Artist renderings of Chef Geoff's in Rockville. Illustrations courtesy of Chef Geoff's

Chef Gillian Clark.* Gillian Clark, the controversial sourpuss chef who most recently owned The General Store and Post Office Tavern in Silver Spring, is writing a blog for the Huffington Post.

In an early October posting, she explains what she’s doing now: “Currently I am a terribly underpaid line cook at a steak house where no one has ever heard of me. And because I'm accustomed to working 16 hours a day (and I really need the money) I drive a limo part-time.”

Clark then goes on to complain about complaining customers in both of her new jobs. The DC NoMa blog reported on October 25 that Clark’s plans to open the Kitchen on K Street in the Loree Grand apartments in Northeast Washington D.C. had fallen through.

* Potomac’s Founding Farmers, the sister restaurant to Foggy Bottom’s Founding Farmers—the country’s most booked eatery on Open Table—is opening on November 3. The new restaurant is located in the Park Potomac development in Potomac at 12505 Park Potomac Ave (the ground floor of the Shulman Rogers law firm building).

For reservations, go to www.wearefoundingfarmers.com

* The Sunday Bethesda Central Farm Market will remain open all year round in its location on Elm Street (9 a.m. to 1 p.m. between Wisconsin and Woodmont Aves.) Aside from the terrific eats, the market has become a real community gathering place.

* Calling all great home cooks who want to be reality TV stars! Fox TV’s MasterChef is holding open casting calls for its third season in cities around the country.

The Washington D.C. area tryouts are on Saturday, November 12 at Trinity Washington University, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

You’ll need to bring a finished dish. For more information and registration instructions, go to www.masterchefcasting.com