Eddie Benaim and Ramiro Paez

Bezu, the seven-year-old upscale Potomac restaurant that served regional French and modern American dishes, is being reinvented as a casual, contemporary bistro.

Owner Eddie Benaim is revamping the restaurant with partner Ramiro Paez, who years ago co-owned Parioli Ristorante in Bethesda. Benaim and Paez are also franchise owners of Aroma Espresso Bar, the Israeli-based chain with an outlet in Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Benaim said that Mix Bar and Grill, slated to open at the end of August, will feature American cuisine with “a little Mediterranean touch.”

The decision to switch to a more informal menu and atmosphere was based on two factors, Benaim said. “People have changed their eating habits and are looking for more casual environments. They want to go out more than once every two weeks. They want to get more for their bucks.” Entrees at Mix Bar and Grill will range between $16 and $24.

In addition, Benaim said that his involvement with Aroma, plus plans to expand the coffee bar to other locations, has spread him thin. “With Aroma, I will be very busy and not able to give Bezu the time it needs. I made the decision to go casual so it [Mix Bar and Grill] is not so dependent on me.”

The elegant Bezu space, which is being totally renovated, will be “very cool” and relaxed, according to Benaim. In addition to an extended bar, the whole front of the restaurant will be opened up with additional seating and a larger front door. A brick oven will be installed to fire up personal flat breads.


Benaim said they are in the process of interviewing chefs, but that Bezu’s talented top toque, Francis Layrle, may still be part of the new concept. Efforts to reach Layrle were unsuccessful.

Benaim said he wanted to extend his thanks and appreciation to the community for “a great run,” and promised that the new restaurant will offer “something just as good if not better.”

9812 Falls Road, Potomac, 301-299-3000.