Update – 4:20 p.m. – The longtime neighborhood restaurant Jackie’s in Silver Spring will close in three months. The restaurant's sister bar Sidebar will also close.
Owner Jackie Greenbaum said the decision coincides with the opening of her new Italian restaurant, Little Coco’s, on 14th Street in Washington, D.C.
"When you decide to close something that's very dear to you, like your first restaurant, you go through a bit of the stages of grief," Greenbaum said in an interview Wednesday with Bethesda Beat. "But it's all good. It was amazing the run that Jackie's had up there. It was a very ambitious restaurant in an unlikely setting and I'm very proud of it."
While the restaurant winds down, it plans to showcase past favorites such as “mini-Elvis burgers and truffled cheese fries,” according to a press release. Greenbaum said events will be planned so regulars and those who have a special connection to the restaurant can "kind of pay their respects" before it officially closes in March.
She said the decision to shut down Jackie's came as Little Coco's operations grew and she realized the time and staff commitment to the new restaurant would be greater than first expected. She said almost all of the staff at Jackie's will move over to the new restaurant. Chef Adam Harvey of Jackie’s will become the executive chef at Little Coco’s.
Jackie’s has operated at 8081 Georgia Ave. for the past 11 years. The restaurant is known for its vibrant pink, yellow and orange color scheme and 1970s design. It has long embedded itself in the neighborhood by hosting "zombies" during the annual Silver Spring zombie walk at Halloween, throwing holiday parties and displaying local art.
“We’re passing the torch from Jackie’s to Little Coco’s and bringing the creative we were known for at Jackie’s to Italian cuisine,” Greenbaum said in the release.
Greenbaum also operates Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring as well as the D.C. restaurants El Chucho, Slash Run and Bar Charley.
Over the past two months, Greenbaum has participated in the debate about ending Montgomery County’s monopoly of the distribution of all alcohol in the county. She has supported efforts to end the monopoly by testifying at local meetings and last month hosted a press conference at Jackie’s featuring state Del. Bill Frick and Comptroller Peter Franchot—the elected officials leading the effort to end the monopoly.
She said the DLC issues didn't play a large role in her decision to close Jackie's–it was more about ensuring the success of the new restaurant. However, as to whether she would open a new restaurant in Silver Spring or a different town in Montgomery County, she said, "No way!"
"It's a pain in the butt to operate in Montgomery County," Greenbaum said. "My Silver Spring customers will hate me for saying that."
She added there are a lot of factors that go into deciding where to locate a restaurant, including rent, foot traffic, the type of menu and local demographics, but she said dealing with the DLC "presents difficulties in the county," especially for restaurants like hers that aim to offer a large craft beer, wine or spirits menu.
However, she says despite her ongoing frustration with the DLC, the Quarry House Tavern will remain open.
"I'm never going to give up the Quarry House," Greenbaum said.