Gourmet Hot Dog Restaurant Planned for Ben and Jerry's Space
Local ice cream parlor closes its doors, but Bold Bites is on the way.
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor has long been a favorite neighborhood stop for Bethesda families. So, you can imagine the dismay felt by parents everywhere when they heard Ben & Jerry’s was closing its doors on 4901 Fairmont Ave. in the Woodmont Triangle.
Typically during the summer months, lines at Ben and Jerry’s were out the door and down the sidewalk; but staying alive during the winter months can put strain on the best cold food business. (The owner of the franchise recently told Patch he's looking to relocate within Bethesda.)
But alas — all is not lost. Bethesda families will not have long to wait for a welcome alternative. Enter Bold Bites, a restaurant with an entirely original concept — gourmet hot dogs! Bold Bites is the brainchild of two Venezuelan brothers Alonso and Alvero Roche. The former is a graduate of and current instructor at L’Academie de Cuisine. He also cooked at Persimmon and Willow.
The brothers were inspired by their childhood in Caracas, where the most popular street food consisted of hot dogs and sausages with a variety of toppings and sauces on soft rolls. Alonso tells Patch, “Growing up in Caracas, we were exposed to different street food, different ways of doing hot dogs. It’s the type of food we ate all the time. After a night out, we would have amazing hot dogs on the street made a certain way.”
He continued, “As I traveled, I realized everybody has their own style of hot dog, regardless of where they come from. In Latin America, every country has one.”
Despite experiencing a savory-food upbringing, Alonso is now the father of two, and he understands what many American kids want to eat. Bold Bites will have a kids’ menu with a “Naked Dog," a hot dog on a bun, nothing else, for the purist. He plans to include three kinds of freshly squeezed lemonades and — wait for it — handmade ice cream sandwiches dipped in chocolate!
For the more adventurous, the brothers plan to incorporate five locally-made sausages, a choice of ten sauces, three kinds of artisanal rolls and 15 toppings.
“It’s going to be fun! We found a guy here who makes his own sausages to our specifications. It’s Simply Sausage in Landover, and Stanley Fedder is the owner,” Alonso explained. They're also offering some authentic specials — the Chicago dog will be on a poppy seed bun, the Argentinean dog will be a chorizo, and the New York style hot dog will be on steamed buns.
Reminiscent of a Chipotle-style restaurant, Bold Bite customers walk through the line and build their own sandwich. Alonso says, “Building your own goes back to the concept of street food. In Venezuelan hot dogs, you have a cart, you have all these choices. You don’t have to put them on, but you can build it how you want it.”
Bold Bites will also carry some other favorites like churros, flavored ice teas and Belgian French Fries. While Alonso lived and taught cooking in Spain, he traveled through Europe, falling in love with true Belgian/Dutch fries. Bold Bites will serve its Belgian fries in a cone with a choice of foamed sauces. He said he hopes to keep the prices reasonable, and their goal is to open in late May or early June. “We’re starting the build-out now.”
It sounds like Bold Bites will combine the best cuisine from many worlds into one easy-to-navigate eatery. Bethesda families and the late-night crowd are likely to welcome Bold Bites and the Roche brothers to the neighborhood with open arms … and mouths.