Clio Logo
Downtown Bethesda Walking Tour
Item 3 of 9
The small, one-story building at the corner of Cordell Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue is the former home to a restaurant named Little Tavern. The building and other restaurants in the chain are distinct for their green roof and construction in the old English cottage, Tudor style. The buildings were constructed of modern building materials such as vitrolite, tile, Formica, and aluminum alloy. The building was designated a historic site in 1994, due to its architecture being a prime example of roadside architecture from the early automobile era. Currently, the restaurant is a Chinese takeout.

  • Window, Door, Fixture, Commercial building
  • Road, Window, Neighbourhood, Architecture

Little Tavern was a small chain of fast-food restaurants located primarily in Washington, D.C. The chain was founded by Harry F. Duncan in Louisville, Kentucky. Other locations opened up in the Baltimore-Washington area, and the Louisville location closed in 1950. Before 1931, the locations were constructed similarly to those of the White Castle chain, however, the third Baltimore location adopted the high pitched roof and Tudor style that later became synonymous with Little Tavern.

The location at Cordell and Wisconsin was the second location in Bethesda, with the first opening in 1937, at 7317 Wisconsin Avenue. The 1937 building later moved to Montgomery Avenue and was demolished in the 1970s. Little Tavern at Cordell and Wisconsin was built in 1955 and is one of a handful remaining Little Taverns still standing.

Because of changing tastes and development in Bethesda, the chain struggled and the Bethesda location closed in 1983 with the last Little Tavern closing on April 29, 2008.

Suydam, Ann. The Little Tavern at 8100 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda Historical Society. Accessed January 2nd 2021. https://bethesdahistoricalsociety.org/little-tavern/.

Little Tavern Locations, Diner Hunter. Accessed January 2nd 2021. https://dinerhunter.com/little-tavern-locations/.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Bethesda Historical Society

Diner Hunter