Photos by Dan Schere

Java Nation, a coffee shop and café that started in Kensington nearly six years ago, opened its second location Sunday in North Bethesda.

The café serves brunch foods such as omelettes, crepes and French toast, along with sandwiches, soups and salads. In the evening, the café serves tacos.

Most menu items are between $7 and $12. In addition to coffee, Java Nation also serves cocktails, wine and beer.

Customers order at a counter, where there are baked goods behind a glass display case. Servers bring food to their tables.Java 2

Java Nation’s second location, at 11120 Rockville Pike, is considerably larger and more open than its Kensington eatery, which opened in April 2014. The North Bethesda location also has a separate bar with barstools and an outdoor patio for special events.


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Owner Simona Cabana said the café is in its “soft opening” phase. It will have a “social house” concept and feature entertainment such as live music, comedy shows, dramatic readings and other community events.

There is another distinctive feature of the North Bethesda eatery.

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At the bar is a coffee roaster special ordered from Germany, said Simona Cabana, because it can handle a large volume of coffee and doesn’t use a conventional heating system.

“The final product comes out very clean and balanced,” she said.

Cabana joked that it was difficult to schlep the roaster through airport customs because no one understood what it was used for.


Cabana said the roaster has been placed in the bar area because the café includes coffee signature cocktails among its mixed drink offerings. She said each coffee flavor is paired with a liquor.

“If there’s Colombian coffee, we’re gonna make sure the liquor meets the flavor profile,” she said.

Cabana said the hours starting next week will be 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.


Java Nation is in the building that formerly housed Helen’s on the Pike, which closed in February 2018. It is also next to the site of Hank Dietle’s Tavern, which closed the same month following a large fire. A new set of owners hope to reopen the Hank Dietle’s Tavern this year.

Dan Schere can be reached at

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