Food

Popular DC Hummus Shop Little Sesame Will Open a Third Restaurant in Bethesda

Creamy hummus bowls and family-style shawarma dinners are heading to Bethesda Row later this year.

Little Sesame will open a third fast-casual hummus shop in Bethesda. Photograph by Scott Suchman for Little Sesame

Little Sesame founders Nick Wiseman, David Wiseman, and chef Ronen Tenne have come a long way since they started slinging hummus bowls in a 500 square-foot DC basement five years ago. The team runs two chic fast-casual shops in Golden Triangle and Chinatown, and recently launched a retail line of packaged hummuses at Montgomery County farmers markets and Whole Foods. Now they’re adding a third sunny restaurant in Bethesda Row, which is slated to open later this year.

Nick Wiseman, who grew up in the area along with cousin David, spent the past few months testing the suburban market with a Little Sesame pop-up at Sugar Fox ice cream shop in his native Chevy Chase DC. “With everything that’s happened this year, it makes sense to look at spaces where people live and work, and Bethesda is a great fit,” Wiseman says of the move beyond downtown, office-heavy neighborhoods. Little Sesame is joining a fleet of popular DC brands moving to Bethesda Row, including Chinese-Korean restaurant Chiko, farm-to-taco shop Chaia, and airy home goods destination Salt & Sundry.

Family-style dinners include chicken shawarma with sides and fresh pita. Photograph by Scott Suchman

As with everything Little Sesame does, hummus is front and center. The menu, which is similar to the ones at other locations, stars ultra-creamy bowls made with organic chickpeas exclusively sourced from a farm in Montana. Tenne creates seasonal toppings like local corn with caramelized onion, crunchy garlic, pickled chilies, and herbs as well as staples such as cauliflower or chicken shawarma. Diners will find similar combinations in warm pita sandwiches. New to the lineup will be a special kid’s menu and oat-milk shakes as well as soft-serve. Grab-and-go containers of hummus in flavors like caramelized onion and jammy tomato will be available in a retail section. 

The team recently introduced family-style dinners centered around chicken or cauliflower shawarma (half or whole), served with hummus, seasonal salads, and fresh bread. The meals, which serve four, will be available for $48. Diners can match the food with kombucha, butterfly-pea-flower lemonade, or for something stronger, a lineup of beers, natural wines, and low ABV canned cocktails. All meals are designed for quick service to go or stay—the new space, designed by talent Brian Miller of Edit Lab at Streetsense, will have 20 seats indoors and another 20 outside.

Little Sesame. 7118 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda.

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.