NBA vets to open restaurant in Kentlands
Location gets makeover; former occupant closed following liquor board violations
A dusting of basketball glamour comes to Kentlands with the arrival of a new restaurant.
Former NBA star Tony Massenburg and former NBA coach James Lloyd plan to open Tony and James in late April at 654 Center Point Way, in the space formerly occupied by Zodiac Grill & Lounge.
"We are local residents," said Lloyd, who lives in Gaithersburg. "We're born and raised [in the Washington area] ... we wanted to brand ourselves in Kentlands because of the expendable income."
The pair plans to open seven eateries in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in the next five years, Lloyd said. He called Kentlands, with 9,600 homes and more than 1 million square feet of commercial space, the region's best-kept secret in the ailing economy.
The restaurants will serve upscale American fare, ranging from $7 appetizers to $30 high-end entrees and be geared to "the businessmen, happy couples, the family and high-end singles and image-seekers," Lloyd said.
In other words: a 25- to 65-year-old crowd.
Teen parties, promoters and noise plagued neighbors and police during the site's previous incarnation. Zodiac Grill & Lounge owner Sanjeev Tuli of The Heritage Group turned in his liquor license in September following citations for such charges as noise and serving alcohol to minors. Police said they were called to the business more than 50 times in two years.
Lloyd, a co-owner of nightclubs in Miami and Las Vegas with Massenburg and others, said Tony and James will bring a different atmosphere.
He plans to bring 40 televisions, a 133-inch projection screen and soft rock bands on Fridays and Saturdays to an upstairs lounge in the 8,000-square-foot space. The bar will be open weekdays until 11 p.m. and until 2 a.m. weekends.
He and Massenburg met this month with the Kentlands Citizens Assembly and the Lakelands Community Association. The county liquor board voted unanimously March 18 to allow a Class B beer, wine and liquor license.
"They sound like they have great work ethics and they are approaching this as a serious business, and they want to be part of the community. I'm looking forward to it," said Robyn Renas, a member of the board of trustees of the Kentlands Citizens Assembly who also serves on Gaithersburg's economic development committee.
"Vacancies are never good for a business area and that location has been vacant and troubled in the past," Renas said.
Lloyd said he and Massenburg aim to do $3.5 million in business their first year in Kentlands.
"Lakelands, Kentlands, Quince Orchard: there's just so many people," Lloyd said. "We shouldn't have to ride to Bethesda or Rockville just to have a good meal or a drink."