Going Out with the Gips Family

Going Out with the Gips Family

A Bethesda family reflects on eating at 192 Bethesda restaurants in 2014

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Many local residents dine out frequently, but the Gips family of Bethesda took grabbing a bite to the next level: At the start of 2014, the family resolved to eat at all 192 restaurants, delis, sandwich chains and coffee shops in downtown Bethesda over the coming year. Mike, head of publishing for a security magazine; Michelle, a school learning specialist; and their two children, Lauren, 13, and Ellie, 10, had a fulfilling time, to say the least. Here, Mike Gips reflects on the family’s culinary tour.

From left to right: Lauren, Mike, Michelle and Ellie Gips share baked Alaska at Le Vieux Logis in Bethesda, a family favorite. Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

HOW OFTERN DID YOU EAT OUT DURING 2014? About four times a week. Some days we had all three meals out. A few places we went to multiple times.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHAT TO ORDER? It had to be something substantial, and made on the premises. We couldn’t buy a bag of Doritos and call it a day. But one kid is gluten free and my wife restricts carbohydrates. So Ellie and I would eat the bread.

HOW MUCH MONEY DID YOU SPEND? I sort of don’t want to know. The rest of my hair will fall out.

DID ANYONE GAIN WEIGHT? I have a fairly active family, but I had to adjust my belt in and out a few times. And when I put on my tuxedo, I could swear I had the wrong pants.

WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS? Le Vieux Logis, we loved it. I had the duck leg—it was fantastic. My wife had the steak frites—she raved about it. Other standouts: Chef Tony’s, Gringos & Mariachis, Olazzo. In the next tier, I’d put Black’s and Persimmon.

DID YOU THINK ANY RESTAURANTS WERE OVERRATED? They’ll be mad at me, but I think Woodmont Grill is overrated. I don’t understand why it’s packed all the time. It also seems annoyingly busy and not worth waiting in line for what you get. Rio Grande is similar to that.

ANY HIDDEN TREASURES? Shangri-La, it’s really good. All the Indian restaurants are pretty good, like Bethesda Curry House. Saphire Café was a really good neighborhood bar. Rice Paddies and Kabob Bazaar are overlooked. I like Heckman’s [Delicatessen & Bar], too, they have a chicken in a pot; and the kid who runs it, you kind of root for him to make it. Guardado’s is also good.

WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST? How many little delis are hidden in office buildings that are probably known only to the people who work there.

WHAT ABOUT SERVICE? The small business owners are exceedingly friendly. There were very few places where the service was poor.

ANY INSIDER TIPS? Happy hour. You get by far the best deal.

ANY RESOLUTIONS FOR 2015? We should try every gym in Bethesda.

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