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May 27, 2011 07:29 AM

Againn in Rockville closing

I was sad to hear that Againn in Rockville has closed its doors. I always enjoyed their food and the service was excellent! We were just there on Saturday and the restaurant seemed busy.

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  1. Any landlord that could drive Houston's out would have no problem doing the same to Againn.

    2 Replies
      1. re: Mister Big

        I'm not sure the exact reason they closed, but the message on their website leads me to believe that they "decided" to close due to lack of business. If it was due to landlord issues, I imagine that would have been stated in their message. It never really looked that busy, except for weekends...

      2. No loss at all; marginal food and service. Trading on their downtown rep. I'm sure the landlord doesn't care; probably still getting rent from Houstons.

        6 Replies
        1. re: nickdanger

          It was odd to me that they would keep the name of the downtown place but revise the menu to be more "suburban".

          1. re: Doh

            I wouldn't go so far as to say marginal food and service, but certainly nothing to write home about. It had its highs and lows, but was overpriced by a bit. Houston's was busy there because for some reason folks like Houston's (I was not a fan) but I think the landlord has other plans for that building that are not realistic in terms of what kind of rent it will support.

            1. re: dinwiddie

              You're spot on, dinwiddie. The food was fine (in fact, some things were pretty darn good), but they were charging DC prices in Rockville.

              If anyone has the urge to go to the Rockville outpost of a DC restaurant, just head to Matchbox up the street and wait an hour or two for a table...

              1. re: DanielK

                I went once, with pretty mediocre expectations, and came away very pleasantly surprised. The mussels and the baked oysters to start were absolutely some of the best I have ever had...anywhere. Plumb, fresh, clean, and just cooked through, pefectly sauced/seasoned. Salmon main course, again, cooked perfectly with a medium rare center and enjoyable sides. And fried soft shell crabs with a shatteringly crisp exterior and a sweet, moist interior on a nicely done bed of corn relish. This was a meal way beyond bar food.

                The setting was fine (if a bit dark), and service very good (after they decided who would cover our table). It's true though, it was not cheap. With one drink and one beer, I think our bill was $125 with tip. We were looking forward to going back.

                It's funny...we live in the area...and it's hit or miss. The big "chain" type restaurants are ALWAYS packed. There is a 60+ minute wait at the 2 places in White Flint (PF Changs and Bertucci), same at the new Season 52 across the street, same at Matchbox. I can not understand how Againn didn't gain the same traction, especially with the built-in audience from Houstons.

                1. re: Pappy

                  Found this...

                  Againn Tavern, the Rockville offshoot of downtown gastropub Againn, has closed its doors. Whisk Group CEO Mark Weiss confirmed that last night's dinner service would be the eatery's last, saying that "the concept is not working in that market."

                  Weiss cited as a contributing factor the popularity of the property's former tenant, Houston's, which closed in 2009 after about 25 years in business.

                  "People had some expectations," Weiss said. "When we renovated the space, it looked and felt like a Houston's space. Our product is so different, and I think a lot of people were disappointed...we should have done a lot more research."

                  Weiss said that the eatery plans to regroup and potentially rebrand Againn Tavern at the same location, which he stresses has a history of success. There's a possibility of reopening after Memorial Day, but the concept is still up in the air. If it does reopen, it would "definitely be casual fare," but the gastropub theme could be out the window.

                  1. re: Pappy

                    I agree with most of what you said, Pappy, but I felt that "not cheap" fell more towards the side of "too expensive". I didn't feel it was a good value.

                    Case-in-point - the lovely scotch egg. $6 for a *single* egg. Seriously?

                    After posting a review (I think on DR?) I got a very pleasant email from someone at Whisk, asking if I wanted to participate in a focus group to help them work on the concept. I responded with an enthusiastic yes, and some immediate suggestions, and I never heard another word.

          2. The owners of Againn will be replacing the Rockville space with something else. There don't appear to be any landlord issues this time around.