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Croissants from Fresh Baguette


New French bakery for Rockville

Fresh Baguette, a Bethesda bakery with a stellar reputation, is heading to Rockville this summer with a new location at 804 Hungerford Drive. What to expect? Scratch-baked French bread, croissants, tarts, macarons, Viennese pastries, custom-made sandwiches and a dozen other reasons to leave your skinny jeans at home. The Rockville location, featuring a picture window where you can watch the bakers at work, will fulfill orders for wholesale clients like Ritz-Carlton and the Watergate Hotel. “Most of our bakers were trained in France,” says wholesale director Vincent Mathieu. “We do things the traditional way, exactly the same as it’s done there.” To see what’s in the oven, click here.



Taff & Levine D.D.S.:




Pike Central Farm Market:




CSNY Pizza


New York pizza on the Pike

CSNY Pizza, the long-awaited spinoff to Rockville favorite Pizza CS, quietly opened for lunch this week at 1020 Rockville Pike. Hours will be expanded in the next week or two, says co-owner Ankur Rajpara, who runs the six-year-old business with partner Jonathan Allen. The pair have a reputation for perfectionism, having traveled to Italy and deeply researched Neapolitan cooking techniques before they launched their first restaurant at Twinbrook Metro Center. The new place, in tighter quarters at Edmonston Crossing, offers New York-style pizza with a focus on takeout and delivery. Click here for more in our Jan 5 edition — and click here if you missed last week’s story on the closings of two nearby Italian restaurants, Pie 360 and Brio Tuscan Grille.



Home delivery fro Norman's Farm Market:




Bagel City:






Flowers and fun at the mall

If you’ve ever been to the Macy’s Flower Show in New York City, you’ll like what’s about to happen at Westfield Montgomery Mall. May 16th marks the kickoff of Montgomery in Bloom, a six-week flower party with floral-themed food and tea tastings, perfume samplings, fashion shows, yoga classes, hand massages, makeup tutorials and some dazzling flower displays. It’s all happening on the lower level of the Nordstrom wing, where you can also join Wednesday night paint-and-pour events to benefit Children’s National Medical Center. Click here for dates and details.



Silver Moon Jewelry & Accessories:




Sonoran Rose boutique:




Bebe store at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Bye bye Bebe

Things are looking pretty bare at the Bebe store at Westfield Montgomery Mall, which will close its doors at the end of this month. Bebe, a retail darling of the ’90s, is shuttering all of its 160-plus locations after years of declining sales. The company initially said it would stay in business as an online retailer, but it’s now unclear whether that will actually happen.



Lavaloka activewear:




URBNmarket at Park Potomac:



Goggles at Cassel's


News splash

Aardvark Swim & Sport, a fixture at Wintergreen Plaza for more than two decades, is heading into pool season with a new name and a new owner. The store was purchased by Virginia businessman Lee Cassel, a longtime sporting goods retailer who operates a similar store in Herndon as well as a sports complex just down the road. “I’ve known Aardvark owner Bob York for years, as he and I had competing stores in Virginia,” Cassel says. “When I got wind that he was going to retire, we worked out a deal for me to take over this location.” The Wintergreen store, which will now be called Cassel’s Swim & Awards, will also offer custom plaques, trophies and personalized signs. For more on Cassel’s, click here.



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Brio Tuscan Grille and Pie 360 off Rockville Pike


Two restaurants exit Rockville Pike

This week marks the closing of two Italian restaurants off Rockville Pike: Fine-dining fixture Brio Tuscan Grille, which lasted five years, and fast-casual pizza joint Pie 360, which didn’t even make it to five months. Brio, one of the original tenants at North Bethesda Market, was a popular spot for large parties but had trouble filling so many tables on a day-to-day basis. Pie 360, a short-lived experiment from the Coal Fire pizza chain, had been one of the first restaurants to open at the new Galvan complex off Twinbrook Parkway. Pie 360 also closed its seven-month-old location on D.C.’s K Street.



Pike Central Farm Market




Mother's Day Tea Tasting at JT Interiors:




Westlake Crossing


New restaurant for Westlake Crossing

Peruvian chicken chain Don Pollo is heading to Westlake Crossing, the shopping center just outside Westfield Montgomery Mall. Plans call for a fall opening next to Corner Bakery, in the former Roti space that’s been vacant for more than a year. In addition to its juicy chicken, Don Pollo serves traditional Peruvian dishes like lomo saltado, ceviche and aguadito soup. Click here to check out the menu.



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Sears store at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Sears store changing hands

Chicago-based Sears, which is unloading real estate across the country, has sold its Westfield Montgomery Mall store for $73.5 million. The buyer? Westfield Corp., the mall’s owner. If you think this means the Sears store is finally going to close, think again. The Washington Business Journal says a leaseback deal will ensure that business goes on as usual, at least for the short term. For the long term, Westfield isn’t revealing its plans — but we’re betting the Sears space could eventually become the site of a modern home goods retailer like West Elm or Crate & Barrel







Pandora for Mother’s Day at Silver Moon

If there’s a mom in your life who loves Pandora jewelry, Silver Moon at Congressional Plaza is the place to check out this year’s Mother’s Day collection. Shown here: The “Tree of Hearts” bangle bracelet, engraved with the words “You are so loved” ($125), and the “Tribute to Mom” gift set with snake chain bracelet in a pink zippered case ($195). Or keep it simple with the “I Love My Mom” charm, in sterling silver with cubic zirconia stones for just $60. Silver Moon Jewelry & Accessories, 1659 Rockville Pike at Congressional Plaza; (301) 468-1122 or visit





Park Potomac Spring Festival:




Leather shoe from Vinci


Another shoe store heading to the mall

Vinci, a Pennsylvania-based retailer specializing in handmade leather shoes, is moving into the former Sheepskin Gifts space at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Vinci carries styles for both men and women, with prices mostly in the $150 to $200 range. Vinci is the second new shoe store heading to the mall this year; see our April 6th edition for details on the upcoming Kicks USA.



Bonobos at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Walmart buying Bonobos?

Bonobos, the upscale men’s clothing retailer known for its well-fitting pants, is expected to be acquired by Walmart in the next few months. This pairing is not as odd as it may seem: Walmart has been diversifying its holdings with the purchase of several trendy e-commerce sites — including Shoebuy, Moosejaw and ModCloth — that give it access to fashion-conscious customers who likely wouldn’t be caught dead buying clothes at Bonobos is a web-based business with a handful of physical stores, including the one at Westfield Montgomery Mall, where customers can try clothes in person but still make their purchases online. It’s unclear whether this acquisition would ultimately lead to Bonobos clothes being sold on Walmart’s website.



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Pita platters from The Halal Guys


Halal this fall

Opening this fall at Wintergreen Plaza on Rockville Pike: The Halal Guys, a brick-and-mortar version of the New York City food cart business with the crazy-long lines. What’s on the menu? Beef and chicken gyros served with pita or basmati rice, plus sides of hummus, baba ganouj, falafel and fries. “Our secret is our white sauce — not the typical tzatziki with cucumber — which puts everything together really well,” says Maryland franchisee Rabi Ullah. He’s also opening a location in College Park, with plans for further expansion statewide (click here for the menu). The Halal Guys replaces Rocklands Barbecue and Grilling Company, which has exited Wintergreen Plaza now that Mission BBQ is open.



On Cloud 9 camp show:







Emily Grace at Park Potomac


Goodbye Emily Grace

Emily Grace, one of the original tenants at Park Potomac, closed its doors this week after seven years in business. The boutique specialized in high-end fashions from lines like Vince, Michael Lauren, Joie and AG Jeans. Park Potomac, which will be buzzing this summer with the debut of three new restaurants, is already talking to replacement tenants.






AMP by Strathmore:



Fire pit from Offenbachers


Offenbachers returns to Rockville

Offenbachers, the D.C.-area retail chain that closed its doors last winter, is making a comeback of sorts in Rockville. Home Escapes, a 30-year-old retailer from Virginia, has purchased the Offenbachers name and opened a showroom just around the corner from its former home on Nicholson Lane. The store carries a similar assortment of hot tubs, spas, outdoor furniture, fire pits and pool tables, but the original Offenbachers team is not involved with this venture. Click here to check out the inventory.



Park Potomac Spring Festival:




JT Interiors Mother's Day Tea Tasting:




Strathmore in North Bethesda


Who won our tickets for Rent stars at Strathmore?

Congratulations to Store Reporter readers Dara Baylinson and Gail Hyman, who each won a pair of tickets to see original Rent stars Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp at Strathmore in North Bethesda. Strathmore’s spring/summer schedule also includes appearances by Tony Bennett, Audra McDonald, Gladys Knight and the creators of the Serial podcast. Click here to check it out.





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"Muddy" jeans at Nordstrom


Fashion fails: muddy jeans and washable cashmere

Just a few weeks after we told you about that regrettable “mom jeans with windows” incident (click for details) comes news of yet another Nordstrom denim debacle. This time the retailer has been universally shamed for its $425 “heavily distressed” Barracuda jeans. Apparently, “heavily distressed” in Nordstrom-talk means “covered in fake mud.” In other fashion fails this week, washable cashmere company Kit and Ace announced the closing of all its U.S. stores including the one in downtown Bethesda. Kit and Ace was the brainchild of ousted Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, who once helped kick off the athleisure clothing trend. This time around, Wilson apparently overestimated the public’s appetite for $398 turtlenecks.



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New REI store at Pike & Rose


Opening day for REI

Tuesday (April 25th) is opening day for the handsome new REI store at Pike & Rose, the beginning of a new wave of tenants that will soon include L.L. Bean and a Pinstripes bocce and bowling center. The 36,000-square-foot store replaces REI’s older location at 1701 Rockville Pike, which will close its doors for the last time Sunday night. Grand opening festivities are set for the following weekend (April 28th-30th) with classes, music, food and giveaways. For more on the new REI store — and what the company thinks about being neighbors with L.L. Bean — click here for our March 16th edition.



AMP by Strathmore:



Nespresso at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Hello Nespresso

The Nespresso store is finally open at Westfield Montgomery Mall — several months behind schedule, but well worth the wait for the espresso-obsessed. If you’re looking to sip a custom-brewed cappuccino while you debate the pros and cons of the Vertuo Plus vs. the Lattissima Pro, this is the place to do it. Adding to the cool factor: A towering rainbow coffee pod display that makes the store feel a bit like an art installation. You’ll find Nespresso on the mall’s second level across from Swarovski; click here for a sneak peek of those snazzy coffee machines.



Washington Talent Mitzvah Madness:





Rent stars live at Strathmore — win our tickets!

This week we have a special giveaway for Broadway fans: A chance to see Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, two of the original stars of Rent, appearing live at Strathmore on Friday, April 28th. The pair will perform songs from the show that made them famous (click here for a preview), along with their solo albums and post-Rent careers. (Pascal also starred on Broadway in Cabaret and Elton John’s Aida.) Strathmore’s spring schedule also includes appearances by Tony Bennett, Audra McDonald, Gladys Knight and the creators of the Serial podcast. Want to enter our raffle for Adam & Anthony Live? Click here to send us an email, or visit our Facebook page. Update: Dara Baylinson and Gail Hyman won these tickets. Stay tuned to Store Reporter for more great giveaways.





Realtor Lisa Nasar:




Bra from Victoria's Secret


New home for Victoria’s Secret and Pink

Victoria’s Secret and Pink are on the move at Westfield Montgomery Mall. The lingerie sister stores are leaving their current spot in the Nordstrom wing for a new home between Macy’s and Sephora. The relocation should happen sometime this summer. Who will move in when the bras and undies move out? Stay tuned.



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Lovesac beanbag


Lovesac, baaaaybee

Behold the Lovesac. If you’re not familiar with this line of beanbag-style furniture, that’s about to change: The Connecticut-based company is joining the lineup at Westfield Montgomery Mall, opening late summer/early fall next to Aldo in the Nordstrom wing. Besides the basic round Lovesac pictured here, the retailer also offers “Sactionals” for your family room, “Squattomans” for your feet and “Petsacs” for your dog (click here to check out the lineup). This will be the second beanbag-style furniture store at Westfield Montgomery Mall; Yogibo opened 18 months ago near Old Navy.



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Gusto to the mall this fall

Gusto Farm to Street, a popular pizza-and-salads concept in downtown Bethesda and Silver Spring, is heading to the Dining Terrace at Westfield Montgomery Mall. This is the restaurant we hinted about in our April 6th issue, but we promised not to name names until the deal was signed this week. Gusto is taking the former Lobster ME location between Cava and Chipotle, with a menu focused on super-fresh salads and quick-serve personal pizzas at a price point below $10. The restaurant also is known for its cauliflower-crust pizzas, which will soon be followed by another gluten-free option made with black beans. CEO Josh Grim says he hopes to have the restaurant open by late September, serving lunch, dinner and extended evening hours.



Lavaloka workout clothes:




Noodles & Company logo


No more closings for Noodles & Company 

Noodles & Company, which exited Bethesda last week with the closing of its restaurants at Westfield Montgomery Mall and 4929 Elm Street, says it has no plans for further closings in the D.C. area. The restaurant company recently announced plans to shutter 55 locations nationwide, most of which have already happened as of this month. The Noodles & Company restaurants in Rockville and Gaithersburg are not expected to close, a rep tells us.



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Gymboree at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Goodbye Gymboree?

This week we’re on bankruptcy watch for Gymboree, the children’s clothing retailer that’s expected to file any day. The company currently operates about 1,300 stores, including one at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Gymboree hasn’t been profitable since 2011; it’s unclear whether its stores would remain open in the wake of a bankruptcy filing.



URBNmarket at Park Potomac:




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