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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 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  He also cooked at 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.

Michael Shapiro March 07, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Let's see...Gourmet Hot Dogs as a new concept? Can they match the quality of almost any "Hot Dog Joint" in Chicago? Maybe they can take a cue from Doug's Dogs, also in Chicago. Great idea, but certainly nothing new.
Eric S. March 07, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Not sure how "original" this is, since Haute Dawg in Adams Morgan does this, and possibly another place in DC. Original to MoCo, maybe. That said, I'd totally eat here, especially if they can do either a decent Chicago style, or recreate the awesome toppings I had on hot dogs in Brazil.
Renee Sklarew March 08, 2011 at 02:46 AM
Thanks for broadening my horizons on these other hot-dog hot-spots. Oh and there's Nathan's. But Bold Bites' owners sound like they plan to serve some novel accoutrements with their dogs, brats and sausages.
Alonso Roche March 08, 2011 at 09:55 AM
Hey, just wanted to give you my thoughts. I definitely agree that we're not reinventing the wheel! We just want to be a great hot dog and sausage sandwich place and bring this delicious food to the good people of Bethesda. To answer a couple of your questions, we will have an authentic Chicago dog also with its Vienna Beef sausage, steamed poppy seed bun, onions, relish, pickle, tomato slices!, sport peppers, mustard and celery salt! We will also have an authentic New York Dog as well as a couple of our own creations. Here are a few examples: The Bold Dog (very similar to the ones I grew up with in Venezuela) which will come with a steamed bun, Applegate Farms all-beef organic frank, diced red onion, shredded cabbage, crunchy matchstick potatoes, ketchup, mayo and mustard. We'll have a Chipotle Chorizo Sandwich served on a French baguette, diced tomatoes, guacamole, grated jack cheese, shredded crispy tortilla chips and our house made cilantro lime mayo. One final example is the Butifarra “Truffle” Sandwich...French baguette, Butifarra pork sausage, butter braised cabbage, matchstick potato chips and truffle foam sauce. I hope this helps.
Corinne March 08, 2011 at 10:49 AM
Why don't you open one in Alicante/ Spain????????
Michael Shapiro March 08, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Very glad to hear that you are going to have a true Chicago style dog. BTW, you should explain "sport peppers". Oh, wait, maybe not.
PartyManiaMD March 08, 2011 at 08:26 PM
Just out of curiosity will you be having a deep-fried hotdog? If so, I might have to relocate my business closer, we're a block away but that is entirely too far! Maybe you might consider relocating to Cordell Ave, you haven't even opened yet! I'm excited to see what you guys bring out, just remember to stay innovative, and don't forget to stop by to see about doing some cross promoting!
Alonso Roche March 08, 2011 at 08:58 PM
By the way, if you are interested in following the craziness that is opening a restaurant, follow our adventure on twitter: @boldbite PS: No plans yet on the deep fried dog... but, who knows?
Mark metzger March 09, 2011 at 08:22 PM
having grown up in the two hot dog meccas of the usa ny and chicago i am excited to see you coming to town. in chicago they deep fried the polish sausage and then served it like they do the dogs . it was crisp and then mouth watering juicy on the inside. id love to see them on the menu ( just call it a polish and skip the fact its deep fried ) :-)
Michael Shapiro March 09, 2011 at 08:52 PM
I would question whether they deep fry a Polish in Chicago. To the best of my knowledge, there are two possibilities, Boiled or Char broiled. I prefer the charbroiled. I'll just ask for a "CharPolish", thank you. I think that New Jersey is the home of the deep fried dog (including something called a ripper). BTW, there was a place, in DC, that used to fry dogs, if requested (listed on the menu board), and it was just inside the District line, on Wisconsin ave.
Mark metzger March 09, 2011 at 09:10 PM
mike question all you want ......I grew up there and had a polish (deep fried) after school just about everyday along with the other malicious malcontents that hung around Big Als hot dog joint!!
Renee Sklarew March 10, 2011 at 03:04 AM
Adding my two cents-- too many deep fried sausages, and you'll be ejected for buying one seat on an airplane. This reviewer frowns upon feeding young children (and grown up children) such things.
Alonso Roche March 10, 2011 at 04:36 AM
I'm all for deep fried! We'll have to put something on the menu!
rp March 13, 2011 at 01:33 AM
will there be a vegetarian dog -- a bit like the stalls in Vancouver
Anonymous May 22, 2011 at 12:52 AM
Alonso, Wish you much success with your new concept. Be careful with your landlord. The people at Greenhill are a bunch of SOBs (to the letter of the lease) starting with the leader. They always take advantage of the small business person trying to make it.

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