A year after Cosi closed and months after Secolari shut its doors, a familiar local restaurant is preparing to take over both Bethesda Row spaces.
Fish Taco, a local chain with three restaurants, will move its Wisconsin Avenue location to 7249 and 7251 Woodmont Ave., owner Francis Namin said.
At 3,300 square feet, the new space will be about three times the size of the current space and allow about 30 or 40 more seats on the patio.
“[The Wisconsin Avenue space] only sits a few people—we grew out of it basically,” Namin said. “I think we can give better service to the neighborhood with a bigger space.”
Namin said the move was a tough decision, but he thinks it will pay off to offer quick food near Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema, where most of the other nearby restaurants nearby have sit-down service.
Namin, who signed the lease for the space Friday, plans to open the Fish Taco on Bethesda Row next spring. He said the current downtown Bethesda space will close about 30 days before that one opens to give him time to transfer the staff and retrain everyone in the new space.
To “pull away from the industrial look that every single restaurant in this town is implementing,” Namin said, the new Fish Taco will have a “softer” Spanish revival design, with a modernized mission-church look, comfortable seating and bright colors.
It will serve the same menu of tacos, burritos and rice bowls with chicken, barbacoa, blackened fish or other options. All restaurants will now offer individual tacos, as well as platters.
Using the layout of the Bethesda Row restaurant as a model, Namin plans to open other Fish Tacos in Gaithersburg, Tysons Corner and Arlington.
The Wisconsin Avenue Fish Taco had been City Burger, another Namin-run concept, before that restaurant closed in February 2016. Namin said Monday he hasn’t decided whether he’ll try a new concept in the space after the move or if he’ll sell it to another restaurant.