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2013 In Review: Out With The Old, In With The New

By Aaron Kraut

Tuesday - 12/24/2013, 2:00pm  ET

Max Brenner  Mi Cocina, photo via Amy Moore Ri Ra Irish Pub in Bethesda closed on Sunday

Without a doubt, one of Bethesda’s biggest selling points is its collection of restaurants. Food is a big topic in Bethesda and foodie news is among the most read about subjects on this site.

New restaurants of all shapes and types sprung up in 2013. A few favorites bit the dust and some of the new arrivals for 2014 are already on our radar.

What closed?: Du-par’s Hamburger Hamlet (10400 Old Georgetown Rd.) after an unsuccessful attempt at a revival, Ri Ra (4931 Elm St.), which is searching for greener pastures with a new location in Georgetown and Plaza Del Sol (4932 St Elmo Ave.), which couldn’t pay the rent. City Lights of China (4820 Bethesda Ave.) saw its rent go up and ShopHouse come in. It found a new space farther west on Bethesda Avenue and hopes to open soon.

What opened?: PizzaPass (4924 St Elmo Ave.), an interesting new take on pizza and pasta dining, Alan Phoryles’ Roof (7940 Norfolk Ave.), which opens this weekend, Wicked Waffle (7101 Democracy Blvd.), the waffle-inspired eatery part of Westfield Montgomery’s revamped food court. The chocolate and desert-only Max Brenner (7263 Woodmont Ave.) got a lot of attention when it opened in July.

Longtime restaurateur Steve Markham opened Markham’s (7155 Wisconsin Ave.) in the old Majestic Bar & Grille space, which meant the closing of his one3five food truck. House of Milae (4932 St Elmo Ave.) created some buzz as the only Bethesda restaurant dedicated solely to Korean food. Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar (11333 Woodglen Dr.) opened its push into the D.C. market with a restaurant at North Bethesda Market. Mi Cocina (5471 Wisconsin Ave.) made its move in Chevy Chase.

Also opening was Yuzu (7345 Wisconsin Ave.), Brickside Food & Drink (4866 Cordell Ave.) and Smoke BBQ (4858 Cordell Ave.).

What’s next in 2014?: Union Jack’s (4915 St Elmo Ave.) is listed as for sale, though its owner maintains it’s here to stay. Something is coming to 4848 Cordell Ave. after a men’s shelter in the space moves to North Bethesda. City Burger (7105 Wisconsin Ave.) is official, though its creators from Food Wine & Co. have been guarded about details. A batch of new restaurants — some familiar, some new to the area — will open in the new Pike & Rose development sometime in 2014. Gringos and Mariachis (4928 Cordell Ave.) is getting set to open in Woodmont Triangle. & Pizza (7620 Old Georgetown Rd.) is on its way.

Finally, could more traditional bars be on the way? A task force recommended major changes to county alcohol regulations that seem to have strong support from local government officials. La Piazza (7401 Woodmont Ave.) will put that desire for more nightlife to the test when it reopens after winter.

Fast casual fever: Fast casual eateries were introduced to Bethesda with a new intensity in 2013, especially when it came to the “better burger” segment. Look at the arrival of Smashburger (4903 Cordell Ave.) and Bobby’s Burger Palace (7101 Democracy Blvd.). There was also ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen (4820 Bethesda Ave.), 100 Montaditos (4922 Elm St.) and Bethesda’s first Panera Bread (7201 Wisconsin Ave.).