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After more than 20 years in business, Old Georgetown Grille will close its doors at the end of 2025, owner Joseph Ham confirmed on Wednesday. The restaurant, the office building above it and a property next door are to be transformed into a 225-unit mixed-use multi-family building.

In June, Bethesda-based Stonebridge announced a joint venture with the Thomas P. Brown Family and Lenkin Companies to develop the property. The development application was submitted in July with hopes that construction would begin by January 2026.

Ham told MoCo360 that this past week he was shown a social media post on X (formerly known as Twitter) about the Grille closing and expressed that the post did not accurately reflect the reality the restaurant owner is facing.

He said that the restaurant’s lease will be finished by the end of 2025, which is just in time for when construction is expected to begin. Ham also said that he was not offered a lease by the developers and expressed that he was not “devastated” by the notion of the restaurant closing, contrary to the social media post.

“That is wrong,” Ham said. He added that he has known the new development would be coming and his landlords — whom he described as “very good people” — advised him about the timeline of events.

Stonebridge did not immediately respond Thursday morning to requests for comment.


Old Georgetown Grille is a diner-style establishment that serves traditional American diner food, such as omelets, pancakes, home fries, club sandwiches, burgers and a crab cake sandwich. It is located on the corner of Old Georgetown Road and St. Elmo Avenue and is part of the Old Georgetown Building. Other businesses located in the building are Colonial Opticians and TOBE Design Group.

According to the press release, in the summer of 2022 Stonebridge acquired 7749 Old Georgetown Road, which was formerly the Jewelry Exchange. UrbanTurf first reported the sale of the property, which Stonebridge bought for $3.6 million. The company later reached out to the neighboring property owners, Mark Brown and Eddie Lenkin, and had meetings about their ideas for the future of the site, according to the release.

“This unique site will allow us to create an iconic building that will be a visual gateway to Bethesda and allow our future residents to have dramatic southern and western views,” Douglas M. Firstenberg, principal at Stonebridge, said in the release.


The Brown family have owned their portion of the site – Old Georgetown Building – for more than 60 years, the release stated, and the Lenkin Companies have owned their portion since 2014 and owned property on St. Elmo Avenue for more than 50 years.

“This was a very difficult decision for my family,” Mark Brown said in the release. “My parents, in their early thirties, bought the property and had a 3-story building constructed. …  We have had wonderful tenants over that time. Colonial Opticians was our first tenant and is still with us 60 years later!”  

Plans for the development lay out a mixed-use building, with commercial spaces on the street level and residential units towering above Old Georgetown Road. There would also be an underground parking garage. According to its planning documents, the project hits a number of goals and recommendations within the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan, such as creating visually distinctive buildings, improved and enhanced intersections and providing integrated retail and residential uses.


Ham said that he does not know what he or his family has next in store for them after the restaurant closes. He added that there was not much he could do about the proposed development project but expressed that he wasn’t upset at all and sees it as part of the evolution of the area.

“Bethesda is changing, and the city wants to make it into a different city,” he said.