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Jul 31, 201201:36 PMTable Talk

Big Changes Coming at Persimmon

Jul 31, 2012 - 01:36 PM
Big Changes Coming at Persimmon

Persimmon, the popular Bethesda restaurant, has closed its doors—but just for a while. The restaurant closed on Sunday (July 29) for about three months of renovations. When it reopens this fall, Persimmon will have a new look, a new menu and maybe even a new name.

Damian Salvatore, who runs Persimmon with his wife Stephanie, said that when Persimmon re-opens it will be less formal and less expensive, and will serve smaller portions. “People aren’t eating the same way as they used to,” he said. “Not everyone one wants to do the fine dining thing. A lot of time people just want to go out to eat.”

Damian said the new menu, which he is currently developing, will be the same for lunch and dinner, and will feature more “bistro” type fare, including a hamburger. “We’re trying to make it so that the food is a little more friendly,” he said. Some favorite Persimmon dishes, such as the rack of lamb, will still be available, although the portions will be smaller, he said.

The interior will be brighter and will no longer feature white table clothes. “It will look more like Wild Tomato,” Stephanie said, referring to the popular family restaurant the Salvatore’s opened in 2011 in Cabin John.

“We’re trying to take some of the stuffiness out of the place,” Damian said.

The Salvatores are debating whether to change the name of the restaurant. Damian said if they change the name the word “Persimmon” will likely be part of it.

The Salvatore’s opened Persimmon in 1997 with what Stephanie described as “$43 in the bank.” It quickly became one of the Bethesda-area’s most popular and highly acclaimed restaurants. It has been voted “Best Overall Restaurant” three times by Bethesda Magazine’s readers in the “Best of Bethesda” readers’ poll.

Stephanie said they hope to re-open the restaurant in October.

Old to new | New to old
Jul 31, 2012 03:34 pm
 Posted by  gaye

Persimmon has ALWAYS been our favorite "go to" restaurant for a more special fine dining menu and atmosphere. Be it a weeknight, a weekend OR a special occasion, ie, b'day, anniversary, dinner out with friends, Persimmon was our choice. We were rarely ever disappointed. How sad that the owners have decided to take away one of Bethesda's most special fine dining restaurants in favor of yet another "hamburger joint.". I believe this will be a mistake... For everyone!

Aug 23, 2012 01:03 pm
 Posted by  PeterLaitin

Persimmon is being progressive with the times...yes it is a bit off the beaten path vs. Bethesda Row, but no matter what Damian and his wife do it will keep a following regardless...to say that it will be just another "burger joint"...I don't think so, but I can see it being a great place to get comfort food with a great atmosphere...frankly...I have known Damian personally for over 30+ years and changing a menu is not going to keep me away...when you know him the way I do...well...I have confidence that he will retain the goodness he brings to food in Bethesda. I am in..."when do we eat"!

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Welcome to Table Talk, the blog version of the column in Bethesda Magazine. Be one of the first to find out about new restaurants and food shops, and join in the lively discussion about first bites, snipes and recommendations.

Before becoming Food Editor of Bethesda Magazine, Carole Sugarman was an award-winning food reporter for The Washington Post for 20 years. She has also written for national food magazines and a food policy newsletter, as well as judged cookbook and cooking contests. She lives in Chevy Chase where she eats PB&J for lunch when she’s not working.

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