Photo by Emma Patti

Local businessman Stefan Lalos bought the former Gaffney’s restaurant in December, and after a snazzy facelift, it’s already opening—for happy hour today, February 29, and for lunch tomorrow.

The Majestic Bar & Grille, located at 7141 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, is inspired by Lalos’ grandfather, Peter Ghiates, a Greek immigrant who had a successful run as co-owner of The Majestic Restaurant and Bowling/Billiards Hall in Greenville, Pa. starting back in the 1920s. The whole schpiel is on the back of the menu, and it’s a touching tale.

Fast forward to 2012, and Bethesda’s Majestic will be serving grandpa’s chili dog, plus a whole lot more.

The “gastro pub” menu of American and global dishes will be executed by Damon Hersh, a locally-raised chef whose culinary stints have included the Occidental Grille in Washington D.C.,  and Louisiana in Baltimore.

Hersh has an interesting, reasonably-priced menu afoot, with soups, salads, small plates and pub fare. Look for cheddar porter soup, grilled beets, oxtail wontons, five spice veal short ribs, ramen, grilled baby squid, black truffle poutine and duck sliders among the more traditional burgers and fish and chips.

The old Gaffney’s space has been handsomely spiffed up, with a cooper-colored pressed tin ceiling, mustard-colored walls, reupholstered rust-colored booths, lovely wall scones and antique-y mirrors.

Jeff Wyatt, the restaurant’s marketing and PR rep, said that Lalos hopes to attract an older bar crowd—the 30-plus demographic. An avid golfer, Lalos also envisions The Majestic as a gathering place and watering hole for watching big golf tournaments. Stay tuned for the Mickelson Martini.

7141 Wisconsin Ave. Bethesda. 301-312-6043.