2013 | Dine

New England-style seafood restaurant opening in North Potomac

Nantucket's Reef to feature lobster rolls, raw bar and more

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If a vacation to New England isn’t in the cards for this summer, not to worry. You’ll be able to get a taste of Nantucket at a new casual seafood restaurant opening mid-July in North Potomac.

Taking over the space on Traville Gateway Drive that formerly housed Stella’s restaurant, Nantucket’s Reef will offer lobster rolls, mussels, oysters, fish and shrimp tacos, crab cakes, fresh fish and other entrees mostly under $20.

The co-founder and manager is Christian Ekburg, a 27-year-old who grew up in Bethesda and went to St. John’s College High School and the University of Maryland. Most recently, he was at Copper Canyon restaurant in Gaithersburg, where he had worked his way up from server to bartender to manager.

In renovating the new restaurant, Ekburg said he sought to recreate the ambience of Nantucket, where he went on vacations as a kid. The nautical décor includes red oak benches, wainscoting, and Sonoma-blue walls.

Business partner Steve Deffinbaugh, a Johnson and Wales graduate who was involved in the opening of a number of Cheesecake Factory restaurants around the country, will serve as the restaurant’s culinary architect. He’ll be turning out mussels with Cajun broth and andouille sausage, fried lobster tails, coconut-and-almond crusted haddock and hopefully, some authentic New England-style clam “chowda.”

9755 Traville Gateway Drive, North Potomac, 301-279-7333, www.nantucketsreef.com