Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New restaurant may be coming to Potomac Village

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Brian Lewis⁄The Gazette
Potomac resident and author John Feinstein hopes to open a restaurant in Potomac Village called ‘‘Doc’s of Potomac.” The idea for the restaurant was spurred by the closing of Flaps last October.
The closing of Flaps, an area landmark and a restaurant well-loved by many in Potomac, was a sad time for many, according to Potomac resident John Feinstein.

The restaurant owned by Grace and Bob Rood had become a gathering place for the community that was unique in the area, said Feinstein, who is a sports writer, author and commentator. The restaurant closed its doors last October after being approached by the RiteAid next door to take over the space.

‘‘I think everyone sort of liked the idea of being in an environment where people know each other,” said Feinstein, who was a regular at Flaps. ‘‘Flaps was like Cheers with good food. The idea of that going away, especially in Potomac where there’s nothing else like it, was sad for a lot of people.

Now, in the interest of resurrecting a community hub similar to Flaps, Feinstein is planning to open a new restaurant in Potomac Village, which he said he will call Doc’s of Potomac.

The name is a play on his nickname for his late mother, Feinstein said, who had earned a Ph. D.

‘‘She thought the Ph.D’s who called themselves doctors were stupid,” Feinstein said. ‘‘My brother and I of course called her ‘Doc’ all the time.”

Feinstein said he has obtained the space for the restaurant — a location in Potomac Village that used to house Rocky’s Video — though he is still waiting on county permits and a liquor license approval. He said he is hoping to open the restaurant by the end of June.

Hassan Nahim, a Silver Spring resident who was a manager at Flaps for 10 years, is helping Feinstein open the restaurant. Several more staff members who worked at Flaps have also signed on to work at the proposed restaurant.

‘‘We wanted to keep as much of Flaps intact as we could,” Feinstein said.

Feinstein and Nahim said they hope to open a restaurant with a separate bar area. ‘‘The concept here it it’s going to be a family restaurant,” Nahim said. ‘‘We’re trying to attract the younger family — a mother, father and child can all come and they’ll all be catered to, which I think is not available in Potomac.”

The Potomac market is a solid one in which to open a restaurant, according to Bob Rood, and that his restaurant was successful for 23 years was a good indicator of that.

‘‘It’s a wonderful environment to run a restaurant — people [in Potomac] appreciate good food, they appreciate good service and fair treatment,” Rood said. ‘‘Economically, they’re in a position where they can eat out a couple of times a week.”

Potomac resident and Montgomery County Planning Board Commissioner Jean Cryor said she would ‘‘absolutely” check out the new restaurant, but expressed doubts that it would be a second Flaps.

‘‘Without Gracie and Bob, it will not be Flaps,” Cryor said. ‘‘I’m sure it will be a fine restaurant, but it will not be walking in there and seeing Bob and Gracie welcoming you.”

Cryor, however, wished Feinstein luck.

‘‘I love Potomac and I’ll be glad to have another restaurant here,” Cryor said. ‘‘We don’t have enough. We need more.”