The supper club that's set to take over the former Bethesda Theatre space will debut in March, and a new chef will be heading up the kitchen when the doors open, Bethesda Magazine reports.
The Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club will open its doors March 1, according to the report. Owners have brought in Chef Scott Mullen, who was named by Philadelphia Magazine as one of the city’s “Top 25 Up and Coming Chefs” when he cooked in upscale kitchens there.
Mullen will still serve up the Louisiana cuisine that was part of the original vision for the supper club, but will also include shrimp scampi, prime rib and crab cakes on his menu, according to the report.
Following a $1.5 million renovation, the Wisconsin Avenue landmark, a former art deco movie theater, will feature “300 seats for dinner, a beautiful new 40 foot bar and lounge and 200 additional performance seats,” according to the club’s website.
“This is not a mosh pit or a stand-up concert venue, this is a sit-down venue [with] tablecloths, candlelight—it’s a very nice setting for high quality entertainment,” club proprietor Rick Brown told Patch last year.
The club also will feature a dance floor, Brown said.
Director of Operations Ralph Camilli, who spent the last 15 years of his 35-year career booking and promoting entertainment at the Blues Alley, will be charged with attracting acts to the club, Brown said.
The Bethesda Theatre first opened on Wisconsin Avenue in 1938 as an art deco movie house. In 2007, it became an off-Broadway performance hub following a $12 million renovation by the Bozutto Group. The nonprofit that operated the theater, the Bethesda Cultural Alliance, partnered with Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment to produce several shows there.
But in 2008, the theater suffered a financial hit when a flood caused it to go dark temporarily as it began a run of "Smokey Joe's Café.” Following the dissolution of the partnership with Nederlander in 2009, the theater remained open as a rental venue until a 2010 foreclosure.
In February of 2012, Bethesda Blues LLC purchased the theater for $2,895,000 and announced its vision to “re-incarnate” the space as a blues and jazz supper club.
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