2018 | Dine

Updated: Isabella’s Kapnos Kouzina Bethesda Restaurant Closes

Social media posting suggests a potential return for ‘neighborhood Greek restaurant’

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Via Kapnos Kouzina on Instagram

Updated at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday: Kapnos Kouzina in downtown Bethesda, one of two restaurants previously unaffected by the shutdown of Mike Isabella Concepts, closed on Saturday.

The Greek-themed restaurant announced on Instagram last weekend it would be closing after nearly three years.

“Our team is eternally grateful to all of our patrons that dined with us, enjoyed a drink, or celebrated a special occasion,” the social-media post said. “Thanks for making us Bethesda’s neighborhood Greek restaurant.”

The restaurant did not rule out a return, ending the post by saying, “We hope to serve you again soon.”

Kapnos Kouzina remained open in mid-December despite the pending liquidation of Mike Isabella Concepts, and  Washingtonian magazine reported majority owner Santana Row wanted to operate the restaurant without Isabella.

Santana Row is an affiliate of Federal Realty Investment Trust, and a representative from the retail real estate group said they cannot comment on lease-related matters.

Isabella filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in early December, following an initial Chapter 11 reorganization filing in September.

Kapnos Kouzina wasn’t affected in either filing, and a manager in Bethesda at the time said the restaurant expected to stay open.

When asked about the closing, Isabella spokesperson Edward Segal referred to a statement issued earlier this month regarding Kapnos Kouzina and Requin, also unaffected by the bankruptcy filings.

“We’re fighting to keep those restaurants open, but we don’t know how long they can last,” Segal said. “Constant bad press keeps customers from coming in and staff is scared and they quit. You can’t keep any restaurant open with 9 months of negative press.”

Segal did not have any information regarding a potential reopening for Kapnos Kouzina.

A sexual harassment lawsuit against Isabella and partners, filed by a former employee in March, started what has been described as a swift decline in the fortunes of Isabella, who was named Restaurateur of the Year for 2016 by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.

In November, a Washingtonian report raised the question of whether the celebrity chef was being pushed to the side by his business partners.

“Under the present circumstances, I am facing the sad realization that I no longer believe that any restaurant associated with my name can recover from the negative press that has enveloped me for nearly the entirety of 2018,” Isabella said in this month’s bankruptcy court filing, according to a report earlier this month on the Washington Post’s website.