The Bethesda restaurant Chef Tony’s, specializing in Mediterranean-style seafood, is opening a second location in the Promenade — a residential cooperative building on Pooks Hill Road.
Tony Marciante, who owns Chef Tony’s with his wife, Sonia, told Bethesda Beat on Friday that the restaurant will be in the bottom of the high-rise building. It will replace a restaurant that was there prior to a flood a couple of years ago.
A cooperative building is one in which the residents own and manage the building.
Marciante said he thinks the flood happened in late 2018 or early 2019. He said the building’s leaders decided to redo the space where the restaurant was.
“We started talking early last year and we ended up signing our lease in November of last year. The anticipated turnover was somewhere in April, but with the COVID scenario, things were delayed a bit,” he said.
Marciante said he can move his restaurant in at the end of this month, but it likely won’t be open until mid-October.
The restaurant will normally seat about 100, he said, but will operate initially at 25% capacity due to the pandemic. Restaurants in Montgomery County may currently operate at 50% capacity indoors.
“We’ll be opening extremely conservatively. We may even start with carryout [only] for the first week. We’ll have to see how it all transpires,” he said.
Marciante said the Promenade location probably will have a wider selection on its menu than the downtown Bethesda location. It will include some lighter options and sandwiches, he said.
The Promenade location, according to the restaurant’s website, is hiring for the positions of general manager, sous chef, assistant manager, server, line cook, bartender and personal assistant.
Although the restaurant will serve the residents in the co-op, it is open to the public, Marciante said. He said he is pleased with the location.
“It comes at a good time because obviously the restaurant industry is being impacted by COVID and this is a good situation with people being in the building. It’s kind of a captive audience, if you will,” he said.
Marciante closed his Woodmont Triangle restaurant in April temporarily, explaining in an emotional video that he didn’t want to risk transmitting the virus. The restaurant reopened about a month later.
Marciante said that although the pandemic has cut down on business, it is still getting a good deal of carryout and curbside pickup customers.
“We’re definitely doing OK. We’re happy with where we are. We’re certainly down from where we were before [the pandemic]. But we’re still blessed and we’re still keeping busy,” he said.
Dan Schere can be reached at email@example.com