Bringing with him 18 years of culinary experience
One of the best parts of supporting local restaurants is getting to know the faces behind the food.
Gaithersburg’s Gentleman Jim’s has quickly become a family favorite. It’s local, has excellent outdoor seating options, fun trivia nights, live music, and locally sourced ingredients.
The other day I introduced a friend to my favorite Gaithersburg restaurant, and our waitress extraordinaire, Debbie (you didn’t think I’d forget you, Debbie, did you?), was there to show us the new fall menu. Debbie was our waitress the first time we visited Gentleman Jim’s Flower Hill location. Ever since, she has greeted us with a warm smile and a friendly “hello.”
On the menu are three new items that are a collaboration among Head Chef Eddy Reynoso, general manager Chris, and head prep Araceli. Check out the spinach stuffed sweet potato skins, GJ’s Cider Glazed Chicken, and GJ’s Autumn Harvest Salad. Araceli makes the dressings for the salads, including my favorite, the Raspberry Harvest. She's also perfected the crab soup recipe. Chef Eddy says he can’t run the kitchen without her.
We decided to give the Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins a try during lunch. It is a perfect fall addition to the menu that Chef Eddy added just the day before. It’s made with sour cream, cream cheese, sautéed spinach, and shallots on top of a perfectly cooked sweet potato and topped with bacon. The only thing we would have added is more bacon. Who doesn’t love bacon?
Head Chef Eddy comes to Gentleman Jim’s with more than 18 years of experience. He’s worked at Bob Evans, Coastal Flats, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Red Robin and helped open Ted Bulletin’s in Ballston, Virginia. He learned his craft by working alongside his parents, making desserts and salads.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Chef Eddy moved to Manhattan when he was four and stayed until 12 years old. Then, his family made their way to Maryland, and he’s been here ever since perfecting his culinary skills. Chef Eddy took a break from Maryland and went back to Manhattan for a culinary school where he learned to cook the food of his ancestors from the Dominican Republic, refine his skills, and build his repertoire.
One of the things that attracted him to Gentleman Jim’s is that most menu items are homemade family recipes. However, it is his hope to introduce a little bit of his culture to the menu and create recipes that incorporate the flavors of the Dominican Republic. One example is his Chef Special: Chicken Asada on a bed of cilantro rice.
Gentleman Jim’s is the perfect venue for adding his ideas. But as he says, he, “not here to change, but be here with you.” He says that Gentleman Jim’s is, “What Maryland tastes like.”
I love supporting our local restaurants. And it’s nice to go where everyone knows your name. But even better is getting to know the person behind the dishes.
If you want a down-home place where you are treated like family and not just another customer, go to Gentleman Jim’s where you are always greeted with a warm smile (even if it is behind a mask) and a friendly hello. And if you see Debbie, tell her Heather sent you.
My thanks to Chris, Chef Eddy, and Debbie for another fabulous experience.