Rising from ashes, Hank Dietle’s Tavern could reopen by summer

NORTH BETHESDA, Md. — The owner of Hank Dietle’s Tavern said it could reopen by summer.

The Rockville Pike roadhouse caught fire on Valentine’s Day after someone tossed a cigarette butt into a flowerpot.

Dietle’s has stood for more than 100 years, and was awarded Montgomery County’s first liquor license.

To say it will be “as good as new” is to miss the point of the timeworn Dietle’s, but owner Tony Huniak and manager Kiti Gartner said the plan is to rebuild the Rockville Pike roadhouse as it had been before the Feb. 14 fire.

Huniak and his architect met with Montgomery County officials Monday. He said the county approved a preliminary plan to repair the bar, rather than consider the project a total rebuild.

“Our main thing is making it exactly as it used to be,” Gartner told Bethesda Magazine.

After permits clear, Huniak said electrical and plumbing systems will be replaced.

Huniak and Gartner said volunteers continue to visit the site often. The interior has been cleared, and burned furniture removed.

Gartner said people have offered to donate benches, table tops, doors and window. Someone has volunteered to remake the sign reading “Hank Dietle’s Cold Beer,” which melted in the fire, which started  just before 3 a.m.

A fundraiser will be held in April, featuring bands that have played Dietle’s over the years.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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