Persimmon in Bethesda assumes new ownership after 25 years. Credit: Akira Kyles

Correction: This article was updated at 12:12 p.m. May 9, 2023, to correct the location of Wild Tomato and Sal’s Italian Kitchen.

The owners of Persimmon in Bethesda passed the torch of ownership to three employees Monday afternoon after 25 years.

Stephanie and Damian Salvatore had been contemplating selling Persimmon for the past couple of years.  

“It wasn’t an overnight decision,” Stephanie said. “It just evolved to where we were able to connect, and when we finally talked to the employees, I was really excited that they wanted to purchase it. It just took a while to make sure that’s what we wanted to do, both personally [and] professionally.”

The three new owners are Zaki Azeddine, who has been with the restaurant for a decade; chef Elmy Cecillo, who has been with the restaurant for two decades; and Said Moslin, who has been with the restaurant for 16 years.

Persimmon, located at 7003 Wisconsin Ave., is an American bistro that offers menu options including filet mignon, braised short ribs, pan-seared sea scallops, Atlantic bouillabaisse, and tuna and avocado tartar with crispy wontons and seaweed salad.


In addition to Persimmon, the couple also owns Wild Tomato and Sal’s Italian Kitchen in Cabin John. The demands of owning multiple restaurants also played a role in the decision to sell Persimmon, according to Stephanie. Stephanie said she’s excited about what’s to come from the trio.

“They remind me of when we were young,” she said. “When we first started, [when we] worked every single shift. … [N]ow that we’re older [and] in multiple locations, that’s just impossible for us to do. …They’re going to work it and I’m excited for them, I’m really excited for them.”

Azeddine said there will be minor changes, but nothing is expected to start until at least next month. He mentioned the restaurant would be opening Mondays and for lunch, which the restaurant is currently closed for, and the team might make some additions to the menu.


The decision for the trio to purchase the establishment stemmed from their dedication to the members of community, Azeddine said.

“The neighbors come in almost every day. We’ve built better relationships with them,” he said. “I know what I am doing. I’ve been doing this for years, so … I was just [more] comfortable to [go into business] with Persimmon than somebody else.”

Although Stephanie said Persimmon is being passed to good hands that the couple trust, it still feels bittersweet to let it go.


“[Persimmon has] kind of been an extension of my own dining room, and my kids have grown up there and don’t know life without it. But at the same time, [the transition] is really peaceful,” she said. “It’s a good feeling. I’m calm. I’m not like, ‘Oh, my god. Who is this person coming in?’ I’ve worked side by side with them and laughed with them and created with them.”

With the new ownership, Azeddine said nothing is more important than ensuring the happiness of the community that supported the eatery through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I always say Persimmon is alive because of the neighbors,” he said. “We want to give something back; we want to be open; we want to satisfy them. We want to listen to them and what they want…We’re sticking with the neighborhood. The neighborhood is very important to us.”