Taste of Montgomery DIG Brings Vegetable-Centric Comfort Food to Bethesda

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Photo Courtesy of DIG Restaurant

By Jillian Diamond

New York-based restaurant chain DIG recently hailed the opening of its first-ever Maryland location, performing a ribbon-cutting ceremony with a kitchen knife. The fast-casual chain, which focuses on vegetable-centric comfort food, is putting down roots in Bethesda in hopes of continuing to spread throughout the state.

DIG’s mission is to provide an easy, casual and accessible way for people to enjoy home-style dishes. Fresh, seasonal vegetables are often the centerpiece of its classic plates, which include salads, rice bowls and sides like their popular Jasper Hill Mac & Cheese.

Some of their most well-loved menu items include their Kale Caesar and the Hot Honey Chicken.

“We were founded on a very simple idea, which was to celebrate vegetables in all their glory,” says Jessica Serrano, DIG’s vice president of marketing. “Not as a side, but as the true stars of the plate. Vegetables continue to be at the forefront of our menu, and we put a lot of thought into our process and how we cook them.”

The Bethesda restaurant, which is close to the Bethesda Row shopping mall, is DIG’s 32nd location. Before it opened, Marylanders would have to travel to their Washington, D.C., restaurant to get their fix of made-from-scratch comfort food. But the Georgetown location was so well-received that expanding into Maryland seemed like a natural next step.

“We want to make our delicious food available to everyone,” explains Matt Weingarten, DIG’s culinary director. “While New York is near and dear to us, we wanted to expand our vision.”

Traditionally, DIG partners with a local food bank when it opens a new location. This time, the honor went to Manna Food Center, Montgomery County’s premier food bank. One hundred percent of walk-in sales on the first day went to Manna, with almost $5,000 raised in total. DIG also held a food drive, so guests were able to donate non-perishable food directly to the center in addition to funding its operations.

“We share similar values understanding that food builds community, and we look forward to further collaboration as we share good food,” says Mardia Dennis, Manna Food Center’s director of development and communications. “Our collaboration with DIG demonstrates our commitment to addressing food insecurity by its root by promoting community education, community engagement, and shared responsibility with local businesses in our community.”

In addition to doing good for their community, attendees of DIG’s grand opening were able to benefit themselves by picking up DIG-themed merchandise. The first 100 customers that day received free tote bags with Spindrift seltzers and were entered into a raffle to win free services from local businesses, including a three-month membership to Equinox Bethesda Fitness Club and services from Bella Bethesda Salon.

“We got a lot of very positive feedback from the community,” Serrano notes. “We had parents bringing their kids and people who worked in neighboring businesses coming to check us out. We felt very welcomed and got a lot of positive feedback on the food.”

Weingarten says that he hopes DIG can become part of Bethesda’s local restaurant scene and a regular part of people’s lives, as an easily accessible source of healthy and homemade food.

“I want everyone to be able to come eat there, and share our food with the community,” he says. “I want DIG to become part of people’s regular rotations, whether they’re stopping to eat during the workday or taking family there.”

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