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French bakery says bonjour to Rockville

Fresh Baguette, the Bethesda bakery known for its authentic French breads and pastries, opens its second location next week at 804 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. The new space is much bigger than the one in downtown Bethesda, with a large factory in the back preparing wholesale orders for clients like Ritz-Carlton, the Watergate Hotel and Potomac’s new Filicori Zecchini coffee house. (Check out our Facebook page for a look behind the scenes, featuring the biggest mixers you’ve ever seen.) Breads, pastries, coffee and custom-made sandwiches will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily starting July 25th. For a closer look at Fresh Baguette, click here.



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Anthropologie showroom


Anthropologie heading to downtown Bethesda

This week Store Reporter readers were buzzing about the news that Anthropologie is heading to downtown Bethesda, replacing the 20-year-old Barnes & Noble store that’s closing in December. This will be a new department store-style format for Anthropologie, with three floors of clothing, shoes, accessories, home and garden goods, a beauty boutique, a bridal salon and indoor/outdoor dining on the ground floor. For a peek at what Anthropologie has to offer, click here.



Potomac Village Farmers Market:




Quesadillas from California Tortilla


Win a meal for two at California Tortilla

This month we’re giving away a pair of California Tortilla certificates — each good for two fresh entrees with drinks and sides — to be used at the Cabin John location or anywhere else in the D.C. Metro area. Through the end of August, you can still catch Cal Tort’s spicy-sweet Bangkok Shrimp bowls, burritos and quesadillas. Or try some of the restaurant’s other popular dishes like the California Sunset Bowl, Korean BBQ Tacos or California Screamin’ Burrito. Want to put your name in our hat? Click here to send us an email (subject line: California Tortilla), or click here to enter via our Facebook page.





JT Interiors in Potomac Village:






Pinstripes ready to open at Pike & Rose

Five months after the debut of Lucky Strike at Westfield Montgomery Mall, Pike & Rose is ready to roll out a bowling alley of its own. August 5th is opening day for Pinstripes, featuring bowling and bocce plus food, drinks and plenty of space for private parties. Bowling fees will vary with days and times, ranging from $8 to $15 an hour per person (plus shoes), while bocce costs $5 to $10 an hour. This will be the second D.C.-area location for Pinstripes, which opened three years ago in Georgetown. Be sure to follow our Facebook page for an upcoming sneak peek.



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Filicori Zecchini at Park Potomac


Coffee house opens at Park Potomac

Opening in mid-July after more than a year of construction at Park Potomac: Filicori Zecchini, the European-style coffee house on the ground floor of The Perry. Owner Elhussien Ahmed, an Egyptian native with a passion for Italian coffee, has been laboring over details from the imported mosaic wall tiles to the sleek Italian chairs to the stunning copper coffee bar. The menu will include pastries, sandwiches and grab-and-go items from the French bakery Fresh Baguette, plus Italian specialty drinks like bicerìn and marrocchino (espresso and milk froth mixed with hot chocolate or cocoa powder). For opening hours and other info, call 301-444-4417.



Potomac Village Farmers Market:



 Smashburger at The Galvan


What’s the story with Smashburger?

Fast-casual chain Smashburger has been closing restaurants all over Montgomery County, including one in downtown Bethesda last winter and two more in Gaithersburg and Germantown over the past few weeks. Julian Goodman, the company’s local franchisee, says all three restaurants were company-owned and their locations were not the right fit. Goodman, who opened his first Smashburger at The Galvan on Rockville Pike last year, says he’s actively looking for more locations in this area.



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True Religion jeans


Tough times for True Religion

True Religion, the Los Angeles-based manufacturer of designer denim, is the latest retailer to file Chapter 11. The brand came to prominence in the early 2000s, when high-end denim bars were all the rage and no one used the term “athleisure.” Now True Religion is looking to reduce its $500 million debt load with hopes of emerging from bankruptcy later this year. At least 27 of the company’s 130-plus stores are expected to close. No word yet on the fate of the Westfield Montgomery Mall location, which opened in 2014.



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Bangkok Shrimp at California Tortilla


Back for the summer: Bangkok Shrimp at CalTort

Bangkok Shrimp, a summertime specialty at California Tortilla, is back on the menu through the end of August. Lightly breaded with a mild red chili sauce, the spicy-sweet delicacy is the star of Bangkok Shrimp Tacos, Bangkok Shrimp Bowls and (our favorite) Bangkok Shrimp Quesadillas. Like all the food at CalTort, it’s made fresh in small batches all day long. “Many people don’t realize how serious we are about serving only the freshest ingredients,” says CalTort exec Keith Goldman. “We actually do not have freezers in any of our restaurants. So every day we’re getting something delivered, be it produce or proteins… and for the next few months, shrimp. That’s why some of our menu items are only offered seasonally, even though they’re guest favorites.” Want to see what’s cooking at the Cabin John CalTort this summer? Click here





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Ann Taylor at Westfield Montgomery Mall


New look for Ann Taylor

The Ann Taylor store at Westfield Montgomery Mall is temporarily closed for renovation. The retailer has announced plans to shutter some of its locations this year, along with those of sister chains including Loft and Lane Bryant. But the Montgomery Mall store is expected to reopen by fall.



Walgreens at Potomac Woods Plaza


Walgreens & Rite Aid break up

After two years of protracted negotiations with U.S. regulators, Walgreens and Rite Aid have called off their plans for a merger. Instead, Walgreens has agreed to buy 2,350 Rite Aid stores in the Northeast, the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic. The company hasn’t disclosed which stores are part of this new deal, but a spokesman tells us that all will eventually be absorbed into the Walgreens brand. That likely means one less drug store for Potomac Village, where Walgreens and Rite Aid are neighbors on opposite sides of River Road.



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Five Guys, Cava and Pieology


Four new restaurants for Rockville

A new group of fast-casual restaurants is heading to Montrose Crossing, filling the now-empty space where Timpano was recently torn down. On the way so far: Five Guys, Cava Grill, Pieology and a Philly-based stir-fry concept called Honeygrow (click here for more). All are expected to open this winter.



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New Orleans Cajun Seafood


A Taste of New Orleans on Rockville Pike

Mardi Gras fans and Tulane grads, listen up: A Cajun-style restaurant is heading to Rockville Pike. Live Crawfish & Seafood is set to open this fall at Ritchie Center off Wootton Parkway, home to La Limeña, IHOP and a bounty of international restaurants. This will be a big place: 3,000 square feet with seating for more than 80 people, says owner Thuan Nguyen. Menu will be similar to that of New Orleans Cajun Seafood, a sister restaurant in Falls Church. (Click here to check it out.)



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Closeout sale at Leila Fine Gifts & Jewels, Cabin John Shopping Center


Gift shop to exit Cabin John

Leila Fine Gifts & Jewels, one of the last locally owned gift shops in the Rockville/Potomac area, is closing its doors after five years at Cabin John Shopping Center. “The retail environment is challenging everywhere these days,” says owner Deb Shalom, who is still moving forward with the new jewelry subscription business that we wrote about last month. “Even the most established stores are having a hard time. For someone like me with far fewer resources, it’s tough to make things work.” This has been the worst year in recent memory for local gift shops: As Kindred Spirits closed its last remaining location in March, Ten Thousand Villages exited Rockville and Bethesda soon afterwards, and Appalachian Spring will shutter its Georgetown store this weekend.



Wintergreen Plaza:






Carluccio’s exits Pike & Rose

Carluccio’s Italian Market, the British-owned restaurant that opened just last year at Pike & Rose, has called off plans for a U.S. expansion. The American restaurant business was more competitive than expected, a spokesman told the Washington Business Journal. Carluccio’s, which also shuttered its Virginia location in Alexandria, is the third tenant to close its doors at three-year-old Pike & Rose. The short-lived City Sports departed after its parent company filed Chapter 11, and the children’s boutique Yogaso closed last January.





Lovesac and Peloton bike



New at the mall: beanbags and Peloton bikes

Lovesac has opened its doors at Westfield Montgomery Mall, selling beanbag-style furniture on the second level near Nordstrom. This is the second beanbag store at the mall, joining two-year-old Yogibo. Also new this week: A try-it-yourself kiosk for Peloton, the high-end line of spin bikes with video screens that connect to live instructors. You’ll find Peloton on the mall’s lower level near Guess.  



Amazon logo


Amazon in the news

Amazon deals have been all over the news this past week. First the e-tailer agreed to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Then it announced Prime Wardrobe, a subscription service for no-hassle, easy-return shipments of clothes, shoes and accessories. And now Bloomberg reports that Amazon will soon start selling Nike goods directly from its site, thwarting counterfeiters and bypassing sporting goods retailers like Dick’s, Finish Line and Foot Locker. What will Amazon gobble up next? Stay tuned.



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Vendors from Cabin John farmers market


Fresh produce, specialty foods every Thursday

Summer is the season for farmers markets, and Cabin John Shopping Center is finally getting one of its own. Starting this week and continuing through early fall, the center will showcase fresh produce from several local farms as well as specialty goods from vendors like Ruby Scoops (ice cream and sweets), Groff’s Content Farm (meat, poultry and eggs), District Spice (salt-free and vegan blends), Craft Kombucha (fermented health drinks) and Buffalo & Bergen (New York-style fare). The market will be held from 3-7 p.m. Thursdays in the front parking lot at Tuckerman Lane and Seven Locks Road, moving to the back parking lot in August and September. The farmers market is the first major initiative from Cabin John’s new owner, EDENS, which is working to turn the shopping center into a community gathering place.



Honeyfish Poke at Congressional Plaza in Rockville


Aloha Honeyfish Poke

The long-awaited Honeyfish Poke opened its doors this week at Congressional Plaza in Rockville. On the menu: Raw fish or tofu served Hawaiian-style with customized Asian toppings and sauces. “What really makes the flavors are the marinades, ” says Honeyfish CEO Duke Park. “You can have it on the sweet side with eel sauce, or for traditional sushi flavor you can have it with ponzu, soy sauce or wasabi.” Park, who co-founded the chain in California, has relocated to Maryland with plans to expand in the D.C. area. For more on Honeyfish Poke, click here.



Father's Day gifts at JT Interiors in Potomac Village:




Bowl of ramen


New Ramen for Rockville

Two new Asian restaurants — Urban Hotpot and Akira Ramen — are moving into the Galvan complex on Rockville Pike. The side-by-side concepts, complete with conveyor belt, will take the vacant space between Ethan Allen and Dunkin’ Donuts. This will be the second hotpot restaurant to open in the area this year, following four-month-old Little Dipper at Rockville Town Square (see our Sept. 8 edition for more). “There’s a great demand for all these Asian concepts in the Rockville area,” says broker Shang Wang, who’s handled several such deals for JBG Companies. “Whether it’s hot pot, ramen, poke or bubble tea, all of them are doing really well.” 






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Potomac Pizza and Potomac Village Deli & Catering


Potomac Pizza exits The Kentlands

The Potomac Pizza/Potomac Village Deli chain is calling it quits on The Kentlands. Doors will close June 18th at the 18-year-old restaurant, which converted from pizza to deli fare just last year. “We made some mistakes, including having two pizza places so close together in The Kentlands and Rockville,” says co-owner Adam Greenberg. “We thought that having a breakfast/deli-type concept out there would be awesome, and our regulars all thought it was great, but obviously the other people didn’t.” The Potomac Pizza restaurants in Rockville, Chevy Chase and Potomac Village will not be affected by the closing, Greenberg says, and a new location planned for College Park is still scheduled to open in August. He says the company plans to continue its deli catering business.







Realtor Lisa Nasar:




Gymboree at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Gymboree files for bankruptcy

Gymboree is the latest retailer to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, announcing this week that it plans to restructure debt and close 375 stores across the country. Gymboree also operates the value-oriented Crazy 8 chain and the higher-end Janie and Jack, for a combined total of 1,300 children’s clothing stores nationwide. Gymboree and Janie and Jack are both tenants at Westfield Montgomery Mall. No word yet on which locations will be closing.




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Don Pollo at Westlake Crossing


Don Pollo debuts

Don Pollo opened its doors outside Westfield Montgomery Mall this week, taking over the former Roti space next to Corner Bakery at Westlake Crossing. The menu is centered on charbroiled chicken, but it also offers traditional Peruvian dishes from lomo saltado and jalea con mariscos to ceviche and arroz chaufa. Also fun to try: sweet Latin American drinks like chicha morada, made from purple corn, and horchata, made with milk and cinnamon. The decor is reminiscent of Fish Taco and Cava Grill, hip and casual with a communal table in the middle. For menu and hours, call (301) 347-6175 or click here.



Wintergreen Plaza:




Cookie Dough & Co.


Hello cookie dough

Edible cookie dough, the trending treat of 2017, is on its way to Westfield Montgomery Mall. A July/August opening is in the works for Cookie Dough & Co., a new venture that’s moving into the former Peet’s Coffee kiosk near Sears. The safe-to-eat dough is served like ice cream — scooped into cups, stuffed into cones or slathered between slices of homemade Rice Krispie treats. Also on the menu: craft sodas, nitro-brewed coffee, and milk topped with flavored syrup, whipped cream and edible glitter. “This is the first location for our concept, and we’re going to have some fun,” says manager Dan Zhu, who also owns D.C.-based Pinch Dumplings. Edible cookie dough has a huge following in New York City, where six-month-old  routinely sees lines stretching around the block. Click here for more on Cookie Dough & Co.



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Zoës Kitchen at Park Potomac


A revamp for Zoës Kitchen

Zoës Kitchen at Park Potomac is looking a little different these days. The Texas-based chain is trying to roll with changing food trends, altering its menu boards and tweaking its offerings for diners who are perpetually on the go. A new category, “snack boxes,” features easily portable items like hummus and veggies with less than 500 calories. CEO Kevin Miles says Zoës is looking to meet “the growing demand for convenient, healthy, better-for-you snacking options” between lunch and dinner. Delivery service is also in the works. Click here to see what’s new on the menu.



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Helen's on the Pike


Happy birthday Helen’s

Helen’s, the intimate North Bethesda restaurant at 11120 Rockville Pike, is celebrating its first birthday with a new prix fixe menu featuring duck a l’orange, halibut with sherry sauce, Maryland lump crab cakes and other specialties of veteran chef Helen Wasserman. The longtime D.C. caterer spent two years renovating the century-old building, which previously was home to Addie’s. She also handles bar mitzvahs, weddings, corporate parties and other private events. Call (202) 483-4444 or visit





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