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CESCO Osteria and Co2 Lounge Open in Bethesda

High-profile chef has ambitious plans at former McCormick & Schmick's spot on Woodmont.

The long-awaited CESCO Osteria and Co2 Lounge, featuring Tuscan cuisine, opened last week in the space formerly occupied by McCormick & Schmick's.

Chef Francesco Ricchi has grand plans for the trendy, new place which offers a choice of two restaurants-one for more casual fare such as pizza and pasta and the other for more formal, traditional Italian fare.

The architect, who totally redesigned the old McCormick & Schmick's space, shares Ricchi's aspirations and believes CESCO Osteria and the Co2 will change the way people live in Bethesda.

On the surface that may sound a bit ambitious, but one look around the place and well…maybe he’s onto something.

It’s a performance space as much as a restaurant with live shows, DJ music and various types of arts and entertainment in one place.

"This place is not only a design that gives people the wow factor but it’s a place people are saying is going to change the way they live in Bethesda” architect Mitch Weber told the Washington Examiner last week.

The Co2 Lounge will also have an after-hours club for members only with fees set at $1,200. Membership also brings with it partnership and ‘tie in’ deals with other Bethesda businesses such as , and upscale fitness gym .

After a successful 15-year run as Cesco Trattoria on Cordell Avenue, the new venue appears to be a big hit.

“We have been extremely busy,” said Elaine Sheetz, director of events. “We’ve had 28 parties in our first week…holiday parties every night since we’ve been open.”

The restaurant seats 260 with additional space for 115 outside on the patio.  There’s also live music Wednesday through Saturday evenings.

“Absolutely, we are very very pleased with the new location,” chef Ricchi told Patch.  “It’s definitely above our expectations."

The new design is considerably lighter and brighter than the former McCormick & Schmick’s. “We really tried to lighten it up and let the sun shine in, taking out all the heavy curtains and shades,” Sheetz said.

CESCO Osteria and Co2 Lounge is located at 7401 Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda. Call 301-654-8333 for reservations and more information.

Ddad99 December 21, 2011 at 05:02 PM
Not so nice of them to block the sidewalk with a fence. This had always been an open walkway outside the restaurant.

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