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Bethesda-area restaurant succeeding on word of mouth

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Hi folks --

This may sound like an odd request, but here it goes anyway.

My book club always tries to be "thematic" with our foods, mixing food to book in some way. (For example, when we read "The Kite Runner," we went to an Afghani restaurant. When we read "The Queen's Fool," we made a Shabbat dinner. When we read "Deception Point," we ate cold foods. You get the point.) I'm in charge of this Friday night's book club discussion of Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tippint Point."

As the book discusses social epidemics and (among other things) the way huge trends are sparked by the word-of-mouth activities of Connectors (people who know tons of people), Mavens (people who know unbelievable amounts of information), and Salesmen (people who have innate qualities that make you trust the information and message they sell you), I thought that the best food option would be a restaurant that has become popular and trendy not by big advertising, but by word of mouth -- or a restaurant that is poised to be popular because of word-of-mouth.

Any suggestions on such a restaurant? I'm hoping for the general Bethesda area, and reasonable in price -- this is more about the discussion and friendship than an expensive dinner.

Thanks!

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  1. Does Tastee Diner fit the request?

    1. Not in Bethesda, but Joe's Noodle House?

      Otherwise maybe Jaleo (though the DC one is better) - as I don't recall ever seeing any advertising for it.

      1. I love Tastee, and it totally fits except it might not be conducive to a longer book club meeting. I'm loving the Joe's Noodle House idea (I've never been there). Now I'm also thinking Mosaic Cafe.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ImaginaryGirl

          Joe's seems to fit the bill fairly well, but you'll want to go in off hours, as it's not too big and does have some good traffic at peak times.

        2. Rays the Classics, in Silver Spring, just opened across from the AFI theater. No advertising, no public relations company, just great word of mouth and great food. But reserve before the Post review comes out or you'll never get a table. If Silver Spring is too far from Bethesda, then boo-hoo for you.

          Signed: ConnectorMavenSalesman

          1. Man, your book groups sounds so cool!!!

            I will third the recommendation of Joe's Noodle House in Rockville. They have one or two big round tables that would be perfect for a book discussion.

            1. Ha! Your bookclub meetings sounds much like mine.

              While it certainly isn't trendy, Houston's in Bethesda seems to fit the bill regarding word-of-mouth.

              As far as I can tell, there's never been any advertising (and that goes for any of the locations), but the place is always full. Which makes me think it's a word-of-mouth thing....even if the first words were uttered a decade-plus ago.

              In fact, I seem to remember hearing that the chain never even advertises when a new location opens, knowing that w-o-m will bring people in.

              1. Thanks for the tips, everyone. We went to Joe's Noodle House, and it was fantastic! Some of the best Chinese food I've ever had -- it will definitely be my regular Chinese restaurant from now on. And, we got a round table, so it was perfect for discussion. I would not have known about this place but for y'all.