Before opening Ev & Maddy’s in Rockville Town Square last week, Executive Chef Patrick Pak cooked at some venerable D.C. restaurants including Blue Duck Tavern, the former Cleveland Park fixture Palena and the exclusive Mediterranean restaurant Komi.
After stints at those three restaurants he headed up the butcher department at Ceriello Fine Italian Foods in Baltimore, where he pursued an interest in butchering meats and making charcuterie.
On Feb. 10, Pak and his wife Eunice opened Ev & Maddy’s, a 50-seat bistro tucked away on Gibbs Street, a block off the main strip of Rockville Town Square. Eunice serves as the restaurant’s general manager as well as co-owner.
“We’d always been looking to open a restaurant together,” Patrick said. “I’ve been working in other restaurants, doing things here and there, but my dream was always to have a restaurant, to have it a certain way and serve the food the way I see it.”
The couple, who live in Olney, hopes their concept can succeed where others haven’t. No. 82 Steak Out closed in January after being open for less than a year at the location and before that Tippy’s Taco House operated for a little more than two years at the spot.
So what’s the plan? A refined French-focused menu with prices even a college student could afford. Entrees are priced at $20 or less and include French classics like beef bourguignon, hanger steak and marinated duck breast. Appetizers like duck confit, pork pate and Parisian gnocchi are priced at $10 or less.
“We want people to feel like they’re coming to our house,” said Patrick, 36, sitting inside the restaurant on Monday. The space features exposed brick walls, a small bar in the rear and an open layout dotted with uncovered wood tables and chairs.
The Paks named the restaurant after their 1- and 4-year-old daughters.
“We want to be that neighborhood bistro, that place where it doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, or if it’s a special occasion or just a regular day,” Eunice, 34, said. “We want to serve all kinds of people and make them feel special. It’s just like our family to yours, that’s why we named it after our daughters, it’s our family.”
The restaurant had a fast opening. No. 82 Steak Out closed Jan. 17 and less than a month later Ev & Maddy’s opened. The interior is largely the same as Steak Out, although with some fresh paint. The new owners are using the former restaurant’s tables and chairs.
Patrick said they avoided publicity before opening the restaurant so they could start with manageable crowds and gain experience. He says they’re trying to keep the restaurant simple in its early days and focus on good food and great service. For Patrick that means making everything in-house, from butchering the ducks to crafting the lamb sausage.
Ev & Maddy’s
101 Gibbs Street, Unit C, Rockville, MD.
Opens at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday through Sunday; 9:30 p.m. closing time Tuesday through Thursday, later on the weekends
Menus: First menu – Dinner, Second menu – Lunch