Potomac’s Cabin John Shopping Center & Mall, built in 1968, is really getting jazzed up these days. A bunch of new stores and restaurants have opened on Tuckerman Lane, and there’s more to come:
Benny’s Bar & Grill
There’s not much Benson J. Fischer hasn’t done in the food world.
“If you’ve eaten it, I’ve made it or sold it in some form…in this market or throughout the country,” says Fischer, a self-described “entrepreneur, turnaround specialist and business developer” who co-founded the old Yummy Yogurt chain; created Red Neck Premium Beer; bought and sold Real Rich Ice Cream, Gifford’s Ice Cream and Washington’s Papa John’s pizza franchise; purchased the bankruptcy assets of the now-defunct Montgomery Donut Company; developed several restaurant concepts, and more.
Now Fischer will be opening Benny’s Bar & Grill, a 240-seat American restaurant with “good-size portions, fair prices and the best damn drinks in town,” he says. Slated to start serving in late April or early May, Benny’s will be located in the old Popeye’s restaurant space; with an addition, it’ll total 5,200 square feet.
Aside from big drinks, the food—overseen by Chef Andrew LaPorta—will feature familiar favorites such as meat loaf, pork chops, rib eye steaks and burgers. “Servers will not need to explain the menu to you,” Fischer says.
As for the décor, it’ll have a 1940s look—in keeping with the era of the restaurant’s namesake, Fischer’s late grandfather Benny Bortnick, a boxer, wrestler, referee and restaurateur who lived in the District.
Live entertainment is in the works as well, with jazz musicians, piano players and perhaps comedians. (7747 Tuckerman Lane)
Greg Kahn, who grew up in Potomac and went to Churchill High School, used to work for Mamma Lucia’s restaurants. In 2008, he and his father Donald bought the chain’s location in Reston, and have since tweaked and expanded the original menu.
Now the two Kahns are opening Gregorio’s Trattoria—hopefully by the end of the summer—and will be serving the same traditional Italian fare as they offer at Mamma Lucia’s (they’re also hoping to change the name of the Reston restaurant to Gregorio’s).
Greg Kahn said the former Umberto’s space is being totally gutted, and will feature an open kitchen. As for the name of the restaurant, says Kahn, it’s after his “Italian alter ego.” (7745 Tuckerman Lane)
You’ve probably already heard the hoopla about Attman’s, the Baltimore landmark that’s slated to open a branch next month in the shopping center.
This is the first expansion for the deli, which has been a fixture on Lombard Street’s Corned Beef Row since 1915. Check out my q-and-a with owner Marc Attman in the March-April issue of Bethesda Magazine. (7913 Tuckerman Lane)