D.C.-based Mediterranean chain CAVA continues to branch out, this time with a new fine casual Greek restaurant named Melina in North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose development.
It joins CAVA’s nearby French restaurant, Julii, which opened at Pike & Rose in 2018.
Melina, named after the daughter of co-founder Dimitri Moshovitis, is a 3,600-square-foot restaurant at 909 Rose.
“At Melina, we modernize the Greek experience while remaining deeply rooted in our Greek culture,” said Moshovitis. “We are passionate about our cuisine with fresh, quality ingredients offered in a fine casual setting.”
The menu includes roasted beets with yogurt, pickled blackberries, smoked walnuts, carob and basil; crispy fingerling potatoes with Tzatziki, feta cream, thyme and cured egg yolk; roasted heirloom carrots with smoked Manouri cheese, spiced granola and pickled raisins; and slow-roasted lamb neck Kelfitkid with Kelfalograviera cheese, roasted peppers, grapes, tomatoes, parsley and pickled onion salad.
The name Melina is also a play on the Greek word meli, which means “honey,” an ingredient in several of the cocktails on the menu.
The restaurant seats 90, and has floor-to-ceiling windows that open to a patio along Rose Avenue. Its main feature is a Koroneiki olive tree.
CAVA was founded in 2006 by three Maryland natives — Moshovitis, Ted Xenohristos and Ike Grigoropoulos – and has grown to more than 130 restaurants across the country. It also owns Zoës Kitchen, a restaurant chain it acquired in 2018 for $300 million.
Its hummus spreads, tzatziki sauces and other products are carried in thousands of grocery stores.
In September, it announced a $30 million investment in a new processing and packaging facility in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, near Staunton. In April, CAVA raised $190 million in new investments to fund further expansion.