Gumbo Ya Ya, a casual sit-down restaurant serving Louisiana Cajun and Puerto Rican cuisines, has moved from a strip shopping center in Germantown to Rockville Town Square.
The restaurant opened Nov. 1 at 101 C Gibbs St., next to Bonchon Chicken.
Owner Rick Ferrell said in an interview Friday morning that earlier this year, Federal Realty Investment Trust and its leasing partner, Rappaport, approached him with the idea of moving to Rockville. After initially hesitating, Ferrell said, he eventually accepted an offer.
“They came back to us with a couple deals and it was phenomenal,” he said. “Obviously from a business standpoint there’s way more foot traffic here than there was over there.”
Ferrell declined to discuss the specifics of the deal, but said it was “made for a small business they knew would be successful.”
Ferrell and his wife, Elizaida Galarza-Ferrell, started a food truck in Montgomery County with the same name four years ago, he said. Neither had worked in the restaurant business, but both learned how to cook from their parents and grandparents growing up. Rick is from Louisiana and Elizaida is from Puerto Rico.
A year later, they opened a brick-and-mortar eatery on Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County. Business was good, but the Ferrells wanted it to grow.
“We realized that as successful as we were out there, we were never gonna reach people that wanted we wanted to, and so we started looking for locations off of Andrews Air Force Base,” he said.
They moved the eatery to Germantown in late 2017. Foot traffic initially was high, but eventually died off.
“We started to see that customers were coming from Frederick and Rockville. We didn’t have as many customers in Germantown,” he said.
Ferrell said business has been good in the first week in its new spot. The restaurant can seat 66, which is about a third of the size of its Germantown dining room. It serves lunch and dinner during the week and brunch on Sunday, he said.
Gumbo Ya Ya serves various types of gumbo, empanadas, wings and other seafood-based delicacies. Menus items range from $5 to $17.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org