Updated: Matchbox Opened Saturday in Downtown Bethesda

Updated: Matchbox Opened Saturday in Downtown Bethesda

It is the chain‘s third Montgomery County location

| Published:
Matchbox outside

Matchbox opened Saturday morning in downtown Bethesda

Photo by Dan Schere

Updated 6 p.m. Saturday. Photos by Dan Schere.

Matchbox, an upscale pizza bistro, opened in downtown Bethesda Saturday morning.

The restaurant opened at 10 a.m. and within an hour it was full, according to wait staff. Fred Herrmann, the vice president of operations for Matchbox, said Saturday that as of 4:30 p.m., 457 customers had come to the restaurant.

Saturday afternoon, customers had filled the bar area to talk and drink while watching the Washington Nationals play their second game against the St. Louis Cardinals in their second-round, best-of-seven playoff series.

“It’s been busy nonstop. The Nats [Washington Nationals] just started playing. Bar’s full,” Herrmann said.

Matchbox Bar
Customers watch the Washington Nationals at the Matchbox Bar.

The restaurant seats about 130, Herrmann said, and includes a private event space with a poster of a historic theater in Bethesda.

Matchbox event room
Matchbox private event space.

Toward the back of the restaurant, a portion of the kitchen is visible where chefs are preparing pizzas and placing them in the oven.

Matchbox prep area
Chefs prepare pizzas in part of the kitchen that is visible from the dining area.

Matchbox, a chain of pizza restaurants throughout the Washington, D.C., region, announced last year that it was expanding in Montgomery County by opening restaurants in Silver Spring and Bethesda.

The Silver Spring location opened in April. Matchbox also has a free-standing restaurant in Rockville’s Congressional Plaza.

The Bethesda restaurant is at 7278 Woodmont Ave., which formerly was American Tap Room.

Herrmann said earlier this week that the restaurant held several “mock services” for invited guests as employees were in training. He said currently they have 70 employees and need to hire about 30 more for positions that include bartender, server, line cook and support.

Herrmann said he thinks the downtown Bethesda spot will be popular.

“We’re bullish on Montgomery county, and we like Bethesda,” he said.

Asked how he expected Matchbox to compete with other pizza restaurants in the area, Herrmann said the restaurant’s fresh ingredients help the restaurant stand out.

“We make our dough in house. We stretch our dough in house. We use a high grade of pepperoni that makes those little cups and makes the black ring,” he said.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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