Merchants in Bethesda are currently immersed in an effort to revive business almost a full year after the pandemic started its havoc. Through the end of the month, every purchase over $20 at a Bethesda restaurant or retailer earns a chance to win a $150 Bethesda Bucks Gift Card, with up to three such winners announced each week.
The gift cards can be redeemed at more than 50 participating locations in this promotion helmed by the Bethesda Urban Partnership. To enter, shoppers and diners must send a copy of their receipts by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or upload photos of their receipts as posts to Facebook tagging @BethesdaUP or Instagram with @bethesdabup.
If you don’t live or work in Bethesda, why not plan a “Shop & Dine” excursion to the upscale Montgomery County suburb, known for its funky, urban feel with a notable and eclectic restaurant scene? A few central blocks, all but one in the Woodmont Triangle section of town, have also been cordoned off to create a communal, open-air “Bethesda Streetery” with socially distanced four-top tables available for use by carryout customers of local restaurants.
Among those worthy of your culinary consideration are relatively new establishments from two acclaimed chefs: Q by Peter Chang (www.qbypeterchang.com), the flagship of a restaurant empire led by the namesake Chinese émigré devoted to the spicier side of Szechuan, and Duck Duck Goose (www.ddgbethesda.com), the playfully named but seriously fowl-minded, French-inspired bistro from Ashish Alfred.
Another recent addition to the town’s dining scene is the similarly French-inspired yet unfussy Medium Rare (www.mediumrarerestaurant.com), the first suburban branch in the local steakhouse chain from Bethesda-based restaurateur Mark Bucher.
Meanwhile, fans of Logan Circle’s Pearl Dive Oyster Palace can pay homage to its Bethesda sister and proprietor Jeff Black’s first major venture, Black’s Bar & Kitchen (www.blacksbarandkitchen.com), which has been operating since 1999. A few years later, Bethesda started pouring original brews and serving complimentary brewpub grub at an outpost of the pioneering, Denver-originating craft beer chain Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery (www.rockbottom.com).
But the granddaddy of them all is The Original Pancake House (www.originalpancakehouse.com), founded in Portland, Oregon in the early ’50s, several years before the first IHOP. The Bethesda franchise is one of three in the area and looks like the classic that it is.
For more on these and all participating businesses in the Bethesda Shop & Dine, call 301-215-6660 or visit www.bethesda.org.
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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.