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Guess at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Guess who’s out at the mall

Guess has closed its doors at Westfield Montgomery Mall, part of a nationwide downsizing for the once-iconic fashion retailer. Specs New York is also out, along with several holiday popup shops including Things Remembered. What’s on the way? Altar’d State, a Tennessee-based women’s clothing chain that blends fashion with a Christian mission; Intimissimi, an Italian lingerie and pajama store for men and women; and Spice 6, a “modern Indian” restaurant serving salads, wraps and pizza made with naan bread. More details and opening dates in the weeks to come.



Realtor Lisa Nasar of Long & Foster:






Honeygrow’s here

Jan. 18 is opening day for the new Honeygrow restaurant at Montrose Crossing on Rockville Pike. It’s the first of four eateries opening at the former Timpano site — a lineup that soon will include CAVA, Pieology and Five Guys. “D.C. is our biggest growth market for 2018,” says Honeygrow founder Justin Rosenberg, who created the chain after switching to a mostly plant-based diet. The menu focuses on salads and stir-fries made from freshly cooked noodles, veggies and sauces, with a signature “honeybar” dessert featuring yogurt, fresh fruit and toppings. Rosenberg says he’s looking elsewhere in Montgomery County for Honeygrow and its smaller sister chain, Minigrow. To see what’s on the menu, click here.



Wintergreen Plaza:




Pad Thai


Two Rockville restaurants close

Tara Asia, the longtime Thai restaurant on Montgomery Avenue near the Regal Rockville movie theater, closed its doors without explanation after the holidays. Also closed is Quench, the restaurant and bar that had a five-year run on Traville Gateway Drive.



crawfish and crab


New Orleans on the Pike

Newest addition to the multicultural restaurant mix at Rockville’s Ritchie Center: Live Crawfish & Seafood, specializing in Louisiana-style Cajun cuisine from po’boys and gumbo to jambalaya and beignets. A grand opening party is planned for Feb. 24th, but the restaurant already is open for lunch and dinner at 765 Rockville Pike. To check out the menu, click here.



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Who didn’t survive the holidays?

With the holidays behind us, we’re heading into the month when long-struggling stores and restaurants often close their doors. The newly renamed Cabin John Village already has seen two exits: Momo Taro Sushi Express and the dry cleaner Fashion Flair. Downtown Bethesda is sadly counting down the days for the closing of Barnes & Noble, soon to be replaced by a massive Anthropologie department store. One unexpected departure was that of L’Academie de Cuisine, the respected local cooking school whose alumni include Rose’s Luxury chef Aaron Silverman, TV personality Carla Hall, and Potomac’s own Once Upon a Chef Jenn Segal. We’re expecting more closings in the next few weeks. If you’re still holding on to any holiday gift certificates, be sure to spend them ASAP.



Bethesda Central Winter Farm Market:




Gifts from Appalachian Spring


Downsizing for Appalachian Spring

Six months after the closing of its original location in Georgetown, Appalachian Spring is shuttering two more stores as its owners make plans to retire. “Shopping is not the recreational vehicle that it used to be,” says David Brooks, who started the gift store chain 50 years ago with his wife Polly. Today’s customers have less time to browse, Brooks says, and the Virginia store in particular took a hit when Reston Town Center started charging for parking. That store and the one at D.C.’s Union Station will close this month. The Rockville store at Congressional Plaza will remain in business under new ownership, as longtime manager Blair Marra takes the reins.



Wintergreen Plaza:




Amici Miei at Potomac Woods Plaza and Rockville


Amici Miei is back

Amici Miei, the Italian restaurant that exited Potomac Woods Plaza last November, reopens this week at its new home in downtown Rockville. The new space is smaller and renovations are still under way, says owner Roberto Deias, “but it’s nice and cozy, and the customers really love it.” The menu includes plenty of longtime favorites, along with some new Sardinian dishes. You’ll find Amici Miei at 6 North Washington Street, in the former home of Peruvian restaurant Sazon Inka.



Jenny Camps Personal Training:




Rooftop garden from Up Top Acres

Photo via Up Top Acres

Rooftop garden for Pike & Rose

Coming this spring to Pike & Rose: A rooftop vegetable garden offering farm-share memberships for the North Bethesda area. Up Top Acres, which already operates a half-dozen rooftop farms around D.C., will be growing greens, herbs, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers and more atop one of the new Pike & Rose buildings. For more on what’s ahead for Pike & Rose — including an ice cream shop/bakery and a new concept from the founders of CAVA — read our Nov. 2 and  Nov. 30 issues at






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Westfield Montgomery Mall


Westfield changes hands

Westfield Corp., the Australian company that owns Westfield Montgomery Mall, announced this week that it’s being sold for $15.8 billion to the French firm Unibail-Rodamco. What does that mean for our local mall and its sister property, Westfield Wheaton? No one knows yet. For now, mall staff tells us that everything is status quo and the bustling holiday season is proceeding as usual. Meanwhile, the mall has lost a few more tenants in the past few weeks: The 3-D Manaco photo store is gone, as is the Boardwalk burger-and-fry restaurant (previously known as Kraze Burger and then Burger Venue). Also on the way out is Vitamin World, whose parent company has filed Chapter 11.



Wintergreen Plaza:




Occasions at Cabin John Mall:




Urban Hot Pot at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Hot Pot on the Pike

Urban Hot Pot made its debut this week in the Galvan complex on Rockville Pike, next door to the recently opened Akira ramen restaurant. There’s an all-you-can-eat menu for $24.99, with heating stations at the tables and a conveyor belt that sends out fresh ingredients for the broth bowls. This is the second hot pot restaurant to open in the area this year, following Little Dipper at Rockville Town Square. And a whole new wave of Asian eateries is headed to Rockville in 2018; we’ll have more after the holidays.




Realtor Lisa Nasar at Long & Foster:




Winter produce from Norman's Farm Market


Free week of winter produce from Norman’s

Norman’s Farm Market has launched its first winter home delivery program, offering seasonal fruits and vegetables direct to your door. Partnering with sustainable local farms a few hours south of the D.C. area, Norman’s is offering fresh-picked baskets of squash, potatoes, avocados, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, greens, apples and whatever else looks good on a given week. A small share, which feeds one to three people, costs $29 per week. A large share feeds four to six people for $39. Sign up now and take advantage of one free week for Store Reporter readers; make sure to use the code STORE18. Click here for details.


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Ibhana Boutique:




Fortune Garden in Potomac Village


Potomac Village restaurant closes

Fortune Garden, a longtime fixture in Potomac Village, has closed its doors at the Potomac Promenade shopping center on Falls Road. Landlords tell us the search is on for a new tenant — and clearly there’s room for some fresh restaurant options in the Village. Stay tuned.



Spotluck discount dining app


Spin to win with Spotluck

Have you heard about Spotluck? It’s a homegrown company (launched in Rockville, now based in Bethesda) that offers dining discounts at 1,400 restaurants all over the East Coast. Download the app for everyday savings at favorites like Black’s, Barrel & Crow, Bombay Bistro, Passage to India, Mamma Lucia, Gusto, Mussel Bar & Grille, the Grilled Oyster Co., Trapezeria and Lebanese Taverna among others. From Dec. 15th to the 22nd, Spotluck is giving away free gift cards for everyone who downloads the app. And Store Reporter readers can get an extra discount by using the code REPORTER. To claim yours, click here.


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VIP at Westfield Montgomery Mall:





Store Reporter holiday gift picks

Are you looking for some quick and easy holiday gifts? We’ve been testing some products that were sent to us for review, and we’d like to share some of our favorites. For the travelers on your gift list, we’re impressed with the Eva NYC Almighty Pro-Power Mini Hair Dryer , which comes with a cute case and packs a surprising amount of power for such a tiny device ($48 at Urban Outfitters, click here). We always count on The Container Store for great stocking stuffers, and this year is no exception. Our favorites are the whimsical Toasty S’more Skewers ($14.99, click here ) and the 3-in-1 clip lens for creating fun effects with your phone camera ($4.99, click here). And with winter movie-and-popcorn nights on the horizon, you can’t go wrong with this red collapsible Lékué microwave popcorn popper from Sur La Table ($20, click here for info). For more of our recommendations for great kitchen gifts, scroll down or click here.


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Holiday gifts from Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table


Six great gifts for the kitchen

In a holiday season that feels more stressful than ever, we’re looking to the kitchen for some gift inspiration. This year we partnered with Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table, two of our favorite cooking stores, to take some popular gifts for a real-life test drive. Whether you’re shopping for a serious chef, a coffee lover or a fan of vintage cocktails, here are six top picks that would be welcome in any kitchen.


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Lékué Popcorn Popper

This flexible red popcorn popper is a consistent performer in the microwave and a cheery addition to your coffee table on movie night. It’s dishwasher-safe, smushes down flat for storage, and makes a great gift at just $20. Lékué Popcorn Maker at Sur La Table; shop online or visit the new store at Pike & Rose. Click here for details.




Williams Sonoma Copper Collection

The Moscow Mule, a vintage cocktail of vodka, lime and ginger beer, is having a moment. It’s traditionally served in a frosty copper mug, which you can find at Williams Sonoma along with some great-looking copper barware: tumblers and ice buckets, cocktail shakers and serving trays with a classic style right out of Mad Men. Some items require occasional polishing, but we think the look is worth it. Click here to shop the entire Williams Sonoma Copper Collection, or check it out in person at Tysons Galleria or Bethesda Row.




Aerolatte handheld milk frother

There’s a latte to like about this slim milk frother, which quickly whips up a drink that would impress your local barista. It’s battery-operated, easy to clean, and small enough to nestle into your silverware drawer. A perfect gift for your latte-loving friends. Aerolatte Handheld Milk Frother, $19.95 at Williams Sonoma. Click here for details.




Sur La Table Cold Brew Coffee Maker

The cold brew coffee craze is huge this year, and it’s easy to make your own with this graceful pitcher from Sur La Table. Just pour ground coffee into the brewing basket, add cold water, tuck the pitcher into your fridge and wait. In 24 hours, your patience will be rewarded with a smooth brew that can be sipped hot or cold. Sur La Table Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $30 in stores or online. Click here for details.




All-Clad Immersion Blender

We’re impressed with the power of this sleek immersion blender, which purées soups and sauces as quickly as our Vitamix — but with less noise and better control over the texture. Seems like a splurge, but it will get used more often than you’d imagine. All-Clad Immersion Blender, $99.95 at Williams SonomaClick here for details. 



Roasters and pans from Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma


Nonstick cookware that makes the grade

For the person on your list who loves to cook, we tested the $99.95 All-Clad Nonstick Roaster from Sur La Table (click hereand the $49.99 Professional Stainless Steel Nonstick Fry Pan from Williams Sonoma (click here). Both are good-looking and extremely well designed, with consistent cooking results that made them a favorite in our test kitchen. Plus: They’re dishwasher-safe, which means you’ll also get a thank-you from the cleanup crew.



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About these reviews: Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma provided more than a dozen items for Store Reporter to test and review this holiday season. We chose the products above for their form, function and easy maintenance. Look for more Store Reporter product reviews in 2018.



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Desserts from Sisters Thai


Another new restaurant for Cabin John

Sisters Thai, a hipster eatery from Fairfax, is the latest addition to the new restaurant lineup at Cabin John. The buzz on this place is quite good — not only for its food, fruit drinks and desserts, but also for its cozy “living room” atmosphere with mismatched furniture and overstuffed bookshelves. (Click here for a preview). Construction is already under way in the parking lot at Tuckerman Lane and Seven Locks Road, where Sisters will join Shake Shack, CAVA and Le Pain Quotidien for a late 2018 debut. Cabin John, which was sold last year to the Edens development group, also is planning a name change after 50 years. Say goodbye to Cabin John Shopping Center & Mall; it’s now Cabin John Village.



Filicori Zecchini at Park Potomac:




Gringos & Mariachis at Park Potomac

Photo: Violetta Markelou


Gringos & Mariachis arrives

This week brought the long-awaited debut of Gringos & Mariachis at Park Potomac. The Mexican restaurant had been under construction seemingly forever (but really about two years) across from MoCo’s Founding Farmers and next to the new Addie’s. This is a sister to the three-year-old Gringos & Mariachis in Bethesda, serving casual food and cocktails amidst striking murals inspired by Mexican street art. Owners Roberto and Riccardo Pietrobono are also behind the popular restaurants Alatri Bros. and Olazzo. More photos on our Facebook page; click here to see them.



Winterwilds Market at Park Potomac:




Wildwood Shopping Center


Welcome the holidays at Wildwood

Stop by the Wildwood Shops this Saturday (Dec. 9th) for a holiday open house featuring live music, giveaways, strolling entertainment and plenty of gift inspiration. Register to win a $100 gift card to Buredo or Balducci’s, and snag a free copper insulated travel bottle with any $150 purchase. (Redeem your receipts at Belina Boutique, Coco Blanca, Buredo, Irresistibles, Red Orchard, Secrete Fine Jewelry or Yves Delorme.) Shopping hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Wildwood Shopping Center, 10241 Old Georgetown Road. Click here for details.


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Norman's Farm Market Winter Home Delivery:




Gifts from JT Interiors


Rediscover your favorites at JT Interiors

JT Interiors closed its doors last summer, but the Potomac Village gift shop is alive and well on the Internet. All those charming holiday gifts that the store was known for –  from embroidered table runners and painted guest towels to festive candles and party accessories — are available all season at Snow globes like the one shown here are $30 and up, silk scarves are available in 10 colors for $40, and lighted glass vases with winter scenes are $12 to $30. Click here to visit the JT website, or email your inquiries to


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Pita sandwiches from Gyroland


New Greek restaurant for Rockville

Gyroland, a casual spinoff of the longtime Greek restaurant Mykonos, opened its doors this week in the former Maria’s Bakery space in the Shops at Congressional Village, 1701 Rockville Pike. The menu features gyros, wraps, souvlaki and other Greek specialties, along with salads and the honey donuts known as loukoumades. For a peek at the menu, click here.




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