History / About

The story of O’Donnell’s began almost 100 years ago when Tom O’Donnell opened the first restaurant in 1922, the Sea Grill in downtown Washington, D.C. at 1207 E Street NW. Undeterred by the Great Depression that gripped the nation in the 1930’s, his business soared.

In 1941, Tom leased the Victor Wholesalers building at 1221 E Street, opening his second location. And four years later Tom’s daughter, Janice O’Donnell Edelblut, joined the family business.

With a keen perception of the future, or some luck of the Irish, the O’Donnell’s purchased the Edgemoor Motor Building on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, MD to bring their high-quality standard to suburban Washington. This new restaurant in Bethesda opened its doors in 1956 and received wild popularity with the local community that was excited for fresh seafood and that welcoming O’Donnell’s atmosphere.

The Bethesda location saw incredible successes and the building was renovated, refurbished and expanded several times over the years to make the dining experience better. And through all that time and growth, the business remained in the family and Tom’s grandson, Bill Edelblut, took the helm to lead the franchise toward a new century.

In the summer of 1997, O’Donnell’s Restaurant opened in the Kentlands and the community loved the quality of food O’Donnell’s brought to the table. O’Donnell’s Restaurant was proud to have been Montgomery County’s premier choice for seafood.

Now, Bill and his daughter Ashlee – the 4th generation O’Donnell – are bringing a fresh concept to Potomac, MD: O’Donnell’s Market. They opened their doors in December 2015 and customers have been indulging in the same quality of food and service associated with the O’Donnell’s name.

For almost 100 years, the O’Donnell’s family has proudly brought their own, original recipes and famous Norfolk style of cooking to the community of Montgomery County.

Stop in to the market for fresh seafood, the finest cuts of meat, and healthy prepared dishes to go with any meal.

Our pastry chef always has something fresh baking in the oven. At any given time, when you visit the Market the smell of famous rum buns, pies and pastries will greet your senses. All our baked goods are made from scratch and baked fresh every day.

And our raw bar and grill will satisfy any craving. Join us for lunch, an afternoon snack or an elegant dinner. Or celebrate a Friday afternoon with your co-workers and share some fresh shucked oysters

Not to mention we cater too! If you’re having an event or party, we’ll work with you to prepare almost any menu. As you’re planning the menu, be sure to ask us about our Norfolk Table that brings the freshest seafood and shucked oysters to your next event!

Timeline

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1922

Tom O’Donnell opens the Sea Grill in Downtown Washington, DC

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1930s

Original O'Donnell's Restaurant Interior

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1930s

O’Donnell’s menu from 1930’s

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1930s

O’Donnell’s 1930’s Wine or “Grog” List

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1940s

Tom O’Donnell

Bill’s grandfather and the guy that started it all – Tom O’Donnell.

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1940s

Oyster Shucking

Man shucking oysters in the late 1940 at the original restaurant on E street.

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1950s

Bill's Mom At O'Donnell's Restaurant

Janice Edelblut in the 1950s during the holidays at the original restaurant on E street in Washington, DC.

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1956

Second Generation Cutting Ribbon

Grand opening of the Bethesda Restaurant in January 1956. Janice Edelblut is second from the right.

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1989

Bill Cutting Ribbon With Family

This is the opening of a new addition at their restaurant in Bethesda, . Likely around 1989. Bill Edelblut is on the far left. Standing next to his mother Janice Edelblut to his right.