|Rendering of the exterior|
of Medium Rare along
Fairmont Avenue in Bethesda
While that arrangement might lead one to assume an operation similar to the shared kitchen of Bold Bite/Tapabar across Fairmont Avenue, nothing could be further from the case. Community and Medium Rare have different ownership partners, and will have separate staff, leases and kitchen facilities, despite sharing a ground floor. Bucher said 7770 Norfolk's developer, The JBG Companies, sought his advice for what would work best in their remaining retail space. "JBG is a very entrepreneurial company," he said. "They want to do the right thing for the community."
Don't expect too many tweaks to the successful Medium Rare formula here in Bethesda. "We like to keep Medium Rare exactly the same everywhere we do it," Bucher said. That means for around $20, you'll dine on culotte steak with secret sauce, hand-cut fries, mixed-green salad and artisan rustic bread. A wine list of four reds and four whites - and a choice of four beers - will be available, as well as dessert options like apple pie, carrot cake or a hot fudge sundae. Medium Rare only serves dinner, as well as offering brunch on weekends.
The DC wine list likely won't translate to the Bethesda outpost, as the distribution system is different here. Keeping the wine selection affordable may require finding labels of equal quality and price that will have the same profit margin. What else will be different at the Bethesda Medium Rare? There'll be a few more seats, and a separate private dining area the other Medium Rares don't have, Bucher said. He said he expects brunch at Medium Rare to be even more of a hit in Bethesda than in the District.
Richard Stokes Architecture of Philadelphia designed the Bethesda restaurant's interior, which will not be radically different from the other Medium Rare locations. Bucher said the new restaurant is about two-and-a-half weeks away from final inspections.
Medium Rare had been rumored to be planning an expansion to Arlington, but Bethesda got the jump on Clarendon. "I live here. I have kids here," Bucher said of Bethesda. "I probably know the Woodmont Triangle better than any restaurateur." He said many other restaurateurs are fixated on Bethesda Row, and consider the Triangle as "a huge polar vortex." In reality, Bucher noted, the Triangle is home to downtown Bethesda's highest volume restaurant, Woodmont Grill, while offering lower rents.
The Triangle is already taking to his Community diner in a big way. When I arrived at the restaurant yesterday morning before it opened for lunch, a literal wall of shipping boxes stood inside near the entrance. In them were sixty-six dozen fresh donuts - the same ones Bethesdans are snapping up at the diner's outdoor pickup window - ordered by a customer, which were shortly picked up by an express delivery service.
Once the doors opened for lunch, Community was soon packed full, despite miserable rainy weather outside. Customers are zeroing in on the burgers with Bucher's reputation as the founder of BGR in mind, but "people are also going crazy for" the diner's fried chicken, he said. Bucher thinks that as time goes on, regular customers will find the veal parmigiana and prime rib to be equally worthy of attention.
Community added morning breakfast hours this morning at 7:00 AM. Now, expect Medium Rare to give quiet Fairmont Avenue a much needed jolt in the arm later this month. The D.C. Medium Rares have been named "Best Steakhouse" in the District by Thrillist, and were Diner's Choice award-winners among users of OpenTable in 2016.
Rendering courtesy Stokes Architecture
All rights reserved