Updated 6 p.m. Wednesday: Sister restaurants Oakville Grille Wine Bar and Wildwood Italian Cuisine in Bethesda will close in mid-February, owner Abby Ansari said Wednesday.
“Rent was too high, that’s the truth,” Ansari said.
The restaurants in the Wildwood Shopping Center on Old Georgetown Road opened in 2006, with Oakville offering modern California-style cuisine and Wildwood serving authentic Italian pasta and pizzas.
The property is owned by Federal Realty Investment Trust, one of the Washington region’s largest retail property companies.
Ansari said she tried to work out a reduced rent but was unable to reach an agreement with the landlord.
“Out of respect to our tenants and in keeping with company policy we are unable to comment at this time,” a spokeswoman for Federal Realty said.
The doors will close on Feb. 18 and there are no plans to relocate, Ansari said, despite the best efforts of customers.
Patrons have brought forward alternate locations since word spread of the pending closing, and reservations have been plentiful.
“They love this place,” Ansari said. “They love us, we love them.”
Ansari notified her staff early in the process and has spoken to managers at soon-to-arrive Flower Child and other Wildwood Shopping Center restaurants to find jobs for her employees. Many have been with the restaurant for all 12 years.
“They’re the most important part of the restaurant,” Ansari said.
Store Reporter first reported the closing.
This story will be updated.