800 Pleasant Drive, Rockville, MD 20850

Botanero opened July 2016. Rebecca and I have been at least a half dozen times. Loved every visit. The food and drinks have been great, service is attentive, and, as far as atmosphere, they’ve made the most of the space where they’re located.

Curious to learn more about the restaurant and its background, I recently posed some questions to one of the owners, Ken Skidmore. Here’s what he shared…

Larry:  What does Botanero mean?

Ken:  The name Botanero is taken from a region in Mexico where small plates (or tapas) are called “botanas” and the taverns that serve them are called “botaneros.” Since we are a small plates-inspired restaurant we thought this name was fitting. Also, because we serve dishes that are not exclusively Spanish in nature we wanted to avoid using the word tapas.

Larry:  Who owns Botanero?

Ken:  There are four owners, Ken Skidmore and Julio Febrer along with Milagro Reyes and Jaime Sorto. We have all known each other for a number of years and are all from the restaurant industry, but this is our first restaurant venture together.

Larry:  What was the inspiration for the restaurant?

Ken:  We wanted to pull the great parts of tapas-style eating — sharing, exploring a number of dishes, having each dish come to the table as it’s prepared, a sort of choose-your-own-adventure approach to dining — and apply them to dishes not regionally specific (for example, Spanish). We have items on our menu with Spanish, Peruvian, American, El Salvadorian, Mexican, Thai and other influences. And we wanted to prepare these dishes with local, clean, good ingredients. In a nutshell, we wanted to apply the tapas concept to an international-inspired menu.

Larry:  Why Rockville and why King Farm?

Ken:  We are all Montgomery County residents and we wanted to open something in the area that we live in. We also wanted to be in a neighborhood where we could really develop relationships and friendships with many of our customers. King Farm has been an absolutely perfect fit for us in this regard. Whatever we have lost by not being in a high-profile, highly-visible area we have gained by setting up shop in an absolutely beautiful community, with stunning parks in a walkable neighborhood (and free parking!).

Larry:  What are you most proud of, in regard to the restaurant?

Ken:  We are extremely proud to be working with Chef Jaime Planas. He has an incredible gift and his deliberate, calculated hand is in every dish on our menu. He prepares the kind of dishes we want to eat EVERY day. We are also extremely proud of the relationships we have been able to develop with our guests over the past year. It has overwhelmed us and reminded us that although we are in the “food and drink” business, we are really in the “people” business and it’s as simple as taking care of everyone who walks in our door the very best that we can.

Larry:  Any significant plans for the future?

Ken:  We are excited to be launching our outside dining area in the next few weeks, adding 16 seats along Pleasant Drive. We are also expanding into the space next door so that we have a private dining room and additional seating for the weekends. We anticipate opening the expanded space late fall. After that, it’s just wait and see what exciting ventures we take on next.

Larry:  Thank you for sharing and best of luck!