Buzz was generated when River Falls Market in the Potomac Village was opening The Tavern at River Falls. The Tavern offers seating, a bar scene, and good food in a standard restaurant style complimenting the already successful River Falls Market. With few upscale options in “the village,” the Tavern seems to be an idea that could thrive. However, despite its originality, the Tavern isn’t as convenient as one might hope.
Fish tacos, macaroni and cheese bites, good burgers, and fresh fish, the Tavern offers a few unique items that are quite tasty. With a small seating area, the restaurant offers an intimate dining experience that does have that sort of cozy neighborhood feel.
So, it seems the Tavern has the proper ingredients to be a successful restaurant, right? Well, not exactly. This combination seems to be very reminiscent of another once exciting new project, Bezu. Bezu was opened a few years ago in the shopping center next to the Tavern with a lot of the same amenities as the Tavern. Great food, an upscale décor, and an attractive bar and dining alternative seemed to put Bezu in a position to thrive. However, the two chronic problems that plagued Bezu seem to be inescapable for the Tavern.
Those two issues are pricing and location. As one of the wealthiest areas in the country, people may think price wouldn’t necessarily be an issue. In spite of this, Potomac residents will not be lining up to spend an average of $25 for entrees. The food is good, no doubt, but the fact of the matter is the prices are too high for what’s being offered. Other places that serve food very similar to the Tavern get away with these prices, so why cant the Tavern? This leads me to the Tavern’s second notable problem.
The Potomac Village is not a fun and exciting spot to go for dinner. Plain and simple. Places like Bethesda and Georgetown offer an exciting scene beyond just the restaurants. Shops, bars, and a young and hip crowd enhance the dining experience tremendously, which in a lot of ways makes it acceptable to charge so much for food. Rite Aid and Strosniders, on the other hand, don’t necessarily make the dining experience any better for those visiting the Tavern.
Location is key, and the Tavern doesn’t have an ideal one. Former Potomac Village standout Flaps is another good example of a village restaurant gone bad. Once tremendously successful and popular, Flaps was jammed with customers on a regular basis. But eventually, pricing and location caught up to Flaps, and despite good food and a warm feel, Flaps couldn’t last. Location has the power to doom the Tavern, but simply charging less for food could overcome this problem.
Despite these challenges, the Tavern does have the potential to be quite successful. The Tavern has a dynamic menu with very good food, and charging less could be just the thing that makes this restaurant successful.
Images courtesy of Google Images