Cava, which plans to have 1,000 locations in the next decade (and went public earlier this year), is among the biggest names in Mediterranean food—and one of our area’s most successful contributions to the national fast-casual scene.
But its founders, Ted Xenohristos, Dimitri Moshovitis, and Ike Grigoropoulos, are all still local residents, and as their empire has been expanding across the US, they’ve been building a smaller cluster of sit-down eateries in North Bethesda’s gleaming Pike & Rose development.
The latest addition: Bouboulina, an American steakhouse with Greek influences, is set to open next spring or summer. Bouboulina, named for a female naval commander in the Greek War of Independence, joins Julii, a French-Mediterranean brasserie, and Melina, a modern Greek restaurant, which opened in 2018 and 2021, respectively.
“We look at this as a passion project,” says Xenohristos. “We love the full-service industry, we love the hospitality part of it.”
Bouboulina’s menu is still uncertain, but Xenohristos says it will be based around steak, fish, and vegetables cooked over a wood grill, with spices and side dishes from the eastern Mediterranean cooking traditions of Greece, Turkey, and the Levant.
Chef Aris Tsekouras, who also helms the kitchens at Julii and Melina, is toying with potential dishes like dry-aged beef tartare with hazelnuts and brown butter vinaigrette, a cacio e pepe smash burger, a roasted whole cauliflower, and charred sweet potatoes with smoked labne. A few cuts of steak, dry-aged in house, will draw on the grilled-meat-and-sides tradition of classic American steakhouses, Xenohristos says.
“We thought about this as a more modern American style steakhouse, still influenced by our Mediterranean flavors and heritage,” he says.
Though construction isn’t set to start until 2024, the team says Bouboulina’s decor will match that steakhouse influence, with heavy wood elements and dim lighting.