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L.L.Bean store at Pike & Rose


L.L.Bean opens next month — right across from REI

Construction is nearly complete on the new L.L.Bean store at Pike & Rose, where the company tells us it expects to open Nov. 10 with 23,000 square feet of clothing, shoes and outdoor adventure gear. L.L.Bean sits just across the street from the new and even larger REI store, which opened last April with a similar mix of merchandise. With the recent additions of Pinstripes, Sephora, H&M and Sur La Table, Pike & Rose is finally taking shape as a retail, dining and entertainment destination — and poised to be a significant draw for shoppers this holiday season.



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Scout & Molly's


New boutique for Pike & Rose

In other Pike & Rose news, another clothing store is joining the lineup with plans for a 2018 debut. Scout & Molly’s specializes in trendy women’s lines like AG Jeans, Project Social Tee, Sanctuary, Trina Turk, Tracy Reese and Spiritual Gangster. This will be the first Montgomery County location for the North Carolina-based chain, which also has stores in Annapolis, Reston and Fairfax. Click here to check it out.



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Burger and shakes at Five Guys


Milkshakes & smoothies in Potomac Village

Just in time for the cooler weather, this week marked the debut of milkshakes at Five Guys in Potomac Village. The $4.49 price includes unlimited mix-ins of malted milk, peanut butter, Double Stuf Oreos and a bunch of other goodies that will make you glad it’s finally sweatpants season (click here for the full list). And for those who prefer a healthier way to drink in some extra calories: Just across Falls Road, the Sprinkles ice cream shop is about to debut a new juice bar.



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Coach bags


Name change for Coach

This week Coach announced plans to change its name to Tapestry Inc. — a move that caused some fans to panic that their favorite brand might disappear. But the company says the new name is meant to reflect its recent acquisitions of Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade, which will continue along with Coach as separate fashion lines. Victor Luis, CEO of the newly renamed company, dismissed the idea that shoppers might associate “Tapestry” with the ’70s-era Carole King album: “We discovered that most millennials had not heard of it.” More on this story in The New York Times.



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Photo: CGF Events

Ready for the parties?

What’s popular on the local party scene this fall? Lounge furniture, logos and stuff that lights up. What’s out? Balloons, buffet lines and boring corporate parties. For more on what to expect at this year’s mitzvahs, weddings and holiday gatherings, scroll down or click here to read our fall party-planning edition.



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Party season starts now

We asked local event planners, deejays, decorators and party venues to tell us what’s hot in dining, decor, party favors and more. Whether you’re hosting a party this season or just attending them, here are five trends you’ll be seeing.



Lounge Furniture from Creative Balloons & MorePhoto: Creative Balloons & More


Trend #1: Moveable feasts

Sit-down dinners are on the wane these days, as more party hosts ditch the big round tables in favor of themed food stations, high-tops, plush couches and ottomans. Lounge furniture has been a popular option at kids’ parties for several years, but now it’s becoming more common for the adults as well. “Nobody wants to go down a long buffet table anymore,” says Shelley Belk, director of events at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda. “This way they keep moving, and it makes for a more fun and vibrant atmosphere.” Michelle Solomon of CGF Events says her clients also appreciate another advantage to this setup: No worries about table arrangements when party guests drop in and out at the last minute. “The final numbers can be changing right up to the day of the event,” she says. “This takes a lot of the stress off.”



Events at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda:




Cell phone taking a video at a party


Trend #2: Everyone’s a photographer

Now that every party guest arrives with cell phone in hand, hosts are finding ways to take advantage of all those extra cameras. This year’s hot party accessory is the Snapchat Geofilter, which allows hosts to stamp a custom design on photos and videos taken at the precise time and place of their event. Rented photo booths are also capable of texting images directly to guests’ cell phones, encouraging them to post the photos on social media or even project them onto a video screen during the event. And once the party’s over, apps like Veri and Webpix allow everyone to share their photos in one place. “You have to look for ways to integrate the phones into the fun,” says local party planner Sandy Max. “For kids especially, this is the way they interact and enjoy things now.”



Events at AMP by Strathmore:




Bat mitzvah girl with name in lightsPhoto: CGF Events


Trend #3: Have it your way

Customization is the buzz word this year when it comes to party favors, foods and decor. Today’s brides, grooms and mitzvah kids are searching the web for inspiration and asking planners to help them “brand” a party as their own. That might mean a cocktail named after the wedding couple, a quirky menu featuring a teen’s favorite foods, an unusual theme or a custom-designed logo that can be stamped on napkins, printed on T-shirts and projected onto the dance floor. “No one wants a cookie-cutter event anymore,” says Shelley Belk of the Hyatt Regency Bethesda. “Everyone wants something that says, ‘This is me.'”



Washington Talent Agency:




Flashing LED photo boothPhoto: Washington Talent Agency


Trend #4: If it lights up, they love it

Flashing eyeglasses and glow necklaces are as popular as ever on the party circuit this season, but the list of light-up options just keeps getting longer. “People always love the blinky stuff,” says Angel Santiago of Washington Talent Agency. What’s hot right now? Light-up fidget spinners, inflatable LED photo booths and glowing neon furniture. What’s out? Apparently, balloons. Shelly Poulos of Creative Balloons & More says despite her company’s name, she’s not doing much with helium these days. Most of her clients are opting for glowing candle centerpieces instead.



CGF Events:




Party at the Air & Space MuseumPhoto: Washington Talent Agency


Trend #5: Company parties are losing the snooze

“Five or six years ago, the corporate party planners just wanted a deejay and that’s it,” says Brian Wasser of Electric Events DC. “But the younger generation has a different kind of attention span. They want to be stimulated, they want to be interacted with, they want to do a lot more than just showing up for dinner.” The result: Company parties are getting hipper every year, adding casino tables and arcade games, lounge furniture and lighting, TV monitors with live feeds, and all manner of photo booths. Angel Santiago of Washington Talent Agency says he recently brought a breakdancer to liven up a relatively stuffy event. “After the awards and announcements, he got the CEO out of his chair and was teaching him how to dance,” Santiago says. “It was the hit of the party.”



The Judaice Shop at Washington Hebrew Congregation:




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Cocktail from Nada


New Mexican restaurant for Pike & Rose

Nada, an up-and-coming gourmet Mexican restaurant chain, will make its Maryland debut this winter at Pike & Rose. This will be the fifth location for the Ohio-based company, which also has restaurants in Cincinatti, Columbus, Indianapolis and Nashville. The menu strays a bit from the usual Mexican fare, featuring quirky taco fillings like pot roast, fried avocados and mushu pork — plus a bounty of signature cocktails. For a preview of what’s on the way, click here.



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Specialty cakes from Sweetly Anchored Patisserie


Sweet news for Potomac

A new bakery and coffee shop is joining the lineup of fresh dining options heading to Cabin John Shopping Center. Sweetly Anchored Patisserie will start construction this fall in the former Orange Leaf space near the mini-mall entrance, with an opening planned for early 2018. Baker Lindsay Miniaci, who’s been selling custom cakes online for the past two years, says she’ll offer much more at the new store  — from brownies and cookies to pies and seasonal tarts, as well as teas, coffees and espresso drinks. “This will be a place where you can come in for a yogurt and coffee in the morning, then come back later for a box of pastries to take to a dinner party,” she says. For a peek at what Sweetly Anchored has to offer, click here.



Wintergreen Plaza:




Cabin John Mall with newly painted exterior


New look for Cabin John’s mini-mall

A makeover was in progress at the Cabin John mini-mall this week as painters began covering the dated facade with a fresh coat of white paint and sprucing up details like the M’s on the McDonald’s windows. This is just the beginning for what’s to come at Cabin John: Scroll down through our September issues for reports on the upcoming additions of Cava and Shake Shack. More info in the next few weeks.



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Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks


Starbucks syrups off the market

One bit of unexpected fallout from last week’s shutdown of the online Starbucks store: Although the company’s mugs and tumblers will still be available at its brick-and-mortar locations, Starbucks has entirely discontinued sales of its bottled flavored syrups. Fans have been complaining, but the company says it wants customers to pick up their pumpkin spice lattes in person instead of making them at home. “Every retailer that is going to win in this new environment must become a experiential destination,” CEO Howard Schultz told investors last spring. “Your product or services, for the most part, cannot be available online and cannot be available on Amazon.”



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Pita platters from The Halal Guys


Hello Halal Guys

The Halal Guys is aiming for a November opening at Rockville’s Wintergreen Plaza, where franchisee Rabi Ullah has been busy building out the space that previously belonged to Rocklands Barbeque. Ullah says his new team will learn the ropes during a month-long training session in New York City, where The Halal Guys began as a series of food trucks. The Rockville restaurant will focus on chicken, beef and falafel dishes, with an assembly line of fresh toppings plus sides like hummus, baba ganouj and fries. What’s for dessert? Baklava. Click here for more on The Halal Guys.



Washington Talent Mitzvah Madness party expo:




Realtor Lisa Nasar of Long & Foster:




Bubble tea from Kung Fu Tea


The year of bubble tea

Bubble tea, the dessert/drink combo with the slurpable tapioca pearls, is bigger than ever in our area this fall. Kung Fu Tea just opened at Westfield Montgomery Mall, taking over the Yum Crepes space in the Dining Terrace. It’s the second bubble tea kiosk at Westfield Montgomery, which already is home to Boba Station in the Macy’s wing. Other recent openings include Bubbles & Tea, which debuted this summer next to the A&J Restaurant on Rockville Pike, and Lab Cafe in the former Ev & Maddy’s space at Rockville Town Square



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New shoes at the mall

KicksUSA opened its doors last week in the Macy’s Home wing at Westfield Montgomery Mall. The Philadelphia-based shoe chain showcases the latest in sneaker styles, hyping up limited-edition “new releases” for its teen collectors. Grand opening festivities are scheduled for this Saturday (Sept. 30th). For more on KicksUSA, click here.



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La Mama Grill


Kosher restaurant changes hands

Oh Mama Grill, the successor to Rockville’s Cafe Shawreen, is now open at 188 Rollins Ave. behind Federal Plaza. The new owners are still offering a kosher menu, but the dishes are more traditionally Israeli with falafel, schwarma, grilled meats and kabobs. Co-owner Riki Alkoby says she hopes to start offering delivery in the next few months. The restaurant’s website was out of service this week, but you can reach them by phone at 301-770-3003.






Bob's Discount Furniture


Bob’s, the Connecticut-based discount furniture chain, is facing a legal battle with Serta Simmons Bedding over the latest entry in its “dare-to-compare” ad series. At issue is this TV commercial claiming that Bob’s $999 Black Label Gel mattress is comparable in quality to Simmons’ Beautyrest Black mattress, which costs three times as much. Serta is asking Bob’s to stop running the TV spots, and to make new ones taking back the allegedly misleading claims. The Chicago Tribune has more on this case.



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Trader Joe's at Federal Plaza


Trader Joe’s in Travilah: When is it happening?

Were you hoping to to pick up some Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s at Trader Joe’s in Travilah this holiday season? We’re sorry to disappoint, but the grocer tells us that its new Rockville location is not going to be ready quite that soon. Plans call for a late winter/early spring opening at Travilah Square Shopping Center off Darnestown Road, where the new Trader Joe’s will replace an existing location in Montgomery Village. This will be the second Rockville store for Trader Joe’s, potentially reducing congestion at the one at Federal Plaza on the Pike.



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Pumpkin bread from Sur La Table


Cooking on the Pike

Sur La Table had its grand opening at Pike & Rose last weekend, and the store is offering a full range of classes from Thai and Tuscan cooking to pie-making and French macaron workshops (click here for details). This is the first cookware store to open in our area since the departure of Williams-Sonoma at the doomed White Flint Mall. What’s up next for shoppers at Pike & Rose? Bluemercury and L.L. Bean. Stay tuned for opening dates.



Washington Talent Mitzvah Madness:




Aristotle Circle K-12 tutoring:






The end of Toys R Us? 

This week Toys R US became the latest U.S. retailer to declare bankruptcy, filing for Chapter 11 in hopes of reorganizing and restructuring some $5 billion in debt. We’re not optimistic about the future of this once-ubiquitous chain. Toy sales have been migrating not only to the web, where prices are lower and inventory endless, but also to stores like Walmart and Target where time-pressed shoppers can tackle their entire to-do list without making an extra stop for birthday gifts. In our area, where Toys R Us exited Rockville three years ago, local stores like Toy Castle and Child’s Play have stayed in business by adding value with personalized service, knowledgeable staff and extras like free gift-wrapping.



Potomac Village Farmers Market:




Coffee cups and mugs at Starbucks


Starbucks online store shutting down

There are deals to be had on the Starbucks website this week as the coffee giant prepares to shut down its online store Oct. 1. Thermal tumblers, carafe sets, mugs and more are heavily discounted; click here to check out what’s left. Starbucks will continue to sell its merchandise at physical stores — where it hopes to lure customers with impulse buys while they’re waiting for their lattes — and some items will still be available online through Amazon and other partners.



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