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Platter from The Halal Guys


Hello Halal Guys

Feb. 16th is opening day for The Halal Guys at Wintergreen Plaza, the first Maryland location for a business that started on the streets of New York City. The menu features chicken, beef and falafel dishes in platter or gyro form, topped with hot sauce or the restaurant’s signature white sauce. “We’re bringing the original New York food cart inside,” says Tony Pizzola, director of franchise operations. The Halal Guys will be open for lunch and dinner in the former Rocklands Barbecue space, with seating for 20 people and prices around $10. Catering will be added in the weeks to come, as well as delivery via Uber Eats and other services. To check out the menu, click here.



Valentine's Day menu and events at The Grilled Oyster:




Clobster Grilled Cheese sandwich from SlapfishPhoto: Lauren Gruen/Slapfish

Slapfish makes a splash

What’s this, you ask? Meet the Clobster, a crab/lobster mashup squeezed into a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s one of the signature items at Slapfish, the fast-casual restaurant we told you about last week that’s on the way to Montrose Crossing. Pricing is mostly in the $7 to $15 range for items like shrimp ceviche, lobster grinders, baja mahi sandwiches and surf-n-turf lobster burgers; beer and wine will also be served. Jon Friedlander and Mike Burke, local franchisees for the California-based concept, say they’re planning a rapid expansion in the D.C. area. The Rockville location, next to the new Honeygrow along Rockville Pike, is scheduled to open in June. For a preview of the menu, click here.



Valentine's Day shopping at Wintergreen Plaza:




vacant storefront in the Macy's wing at Westfield Montgomery Mall


More mall moves

Still more vacancies to report this week in the Macy’s wing at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Teavana has closed its doors — part of a nationwide shutdown of the Starbucks-owned chain — and the imminent departure of Solstice will leave three empty spaces directly across from the Apple store. The storefront right next door to Apple also emptied out this week as clothing boutique Patrizia Luca Milano relocated to the Nordstrom wing. Who’s taking its spot? An Invisalign dental center. For a look at what else is coming to the mall in the next few months, click here.



Valentine's gifts at Kaufmann Jewelers:




tomatoes in a grocery basket


New market for Rockville

Coming this spring to the Woodley Gardens shopping center in Rockville: Corner Market and Pharmacy, a locally owned grocery featuring on-site medical services and home delivery of your meds. The store is a new venture from the owners of Chevy Chase Supermarket, which is closing its doors after 60 years to make way for new construction in that area. Corner Market is scheduled to open in April at Woodley Gardens, best known as the home of Carmen’s Italian Ice and Hard Times Cafe.



Bethesda Central Winter Farm Market:




Car crashing through a window at Fresh Baguette

Photo via Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services

Car trouble for Rockville bakery

This past Wednesday morning — one of those snowless snow days for Montgomery County Public Schools — a car apparently slid on the ice and crashed through a window of the Fresh Baguette bakery on Hungerford Drive. There was a similar incident last December at Rockville’s Kielbasa Factory, which is just now getting ready to reopen after nearly two months of repairs. But things went more smoothly at the bakery this week, where the owner offered the unharmed driver a cup of coffee and graciously made some jokes about drive-through service. The damage was patched temporarily, and Fresh Baguette was back in business a few hours later. For a video of the incident, click here for a report from Fox 5.



Lolly's Locks Valentine's Day Bazaar:




Did you miss these stories?

  • New restaurants for Cabin John and Montrose Crossing: Click here.
  • Brookstone and Golf Galaxy close their doors: Click here.
  • Uniqlo and Scout & Molly’s to open at Pike & Rose: Click here.
  • Two Asian food courts to open in Rockville this summer: Click here.
  • Guess, Tara Asia and Quench close their doors: Click here.



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New restaurant construction at Cabin John


What’s going up at Cabin John

Construction is really moving along now at the corner of Tuckerman Lane and Seven Locks Road in Potomac, where four new restaurants will open later this year. The fast-casual eateries — Shake ShackCAVA, Le Pain Quotidien and Sisters Thai — mark the beginning of a new era for the 50-year-old shopping center, soon to be known as Cabin John Village. Other new tenants include Georgetown Valet, which replaces the departed Fashion Flair dry cleaner, and the Sweetly Anchored bakery, which is on track to open next month. And since the Long & Foster real estate office departed for Park Potomac, we’ve been hearing some really interesting rumors about who’s moving into that space. As always, Store Reporter will be the first to let you know. In the meantime, click here to read up on Cabin John’s new restaurants.



Get one Free Week at Norman's Farm Market CSA with code STORE18:




Closed Brookstone store at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Bye Bye Brookstone

This week we say goodbye to Brookstone, the gadget store where most of us spent more time testing out the massage chairs than actually, you know, buying stuff. The struggling retailer, which has been shuttering stores across the country, has closed its doors at Westfield Montgomery Mall. The mall’s Solstice sunglass store is also on the way out, but competitor Specs New York is unexpectedly back in business after going dark for several weeks. So who’s actually moving in to Westfield Montgomery? Click here for the latest.



Realtor Lisa Nasar of Long & Foster:




Sports Authority at Montrose Crossing


In and out at Montrose Crossing

Good news and bad news for the Montrose Crossing shopping center on Rockville Pike. Eater DC reports that Slapfish, a California-based chain of fast-casual seafood eateries, will be joining the new restaurant lineup. Meanwhile: Golf Galaxy, a division of Dick’s, has become the third sporting goods store to close its doors at Montrose Crossing in the past three years. Hudson Trail Outfitters went out of business in 2015, and Sports Authority (pictured here) went bankrupt the following year. For the scoop on Honeygrow, which opened at Montrose Crossing this month, click here for our Jan. 18 edition.



Super Bowl food at Wintergreen Plaza:




Vince & Dominic's space being demolished Photo: Kim Loewenstein-Band


The end for Vince & Dominic’s

Bulldozers have been busy at the former Vince & Dominic’s space in the strip center across from Westfield Montgomery Mall. Unfortunately, nothing too exciting is in the works: Home Depot, which owns the whole property, tells us it’s demolishing several storefronts to make room for additional parking.






Lolly's Locks Valentine's Day Bazaar:




Did you miss these stories?

Uniqlo and Scout & Molly’s to open at Pike & Rose: Click here.
Two Asian food courts to open in Rockville this summer: Click here.
GuessTara Asia and Quench close their doors: Click here.
Honeygrow and Live Crawfish & Seafood open on Rockville Pike: Click here.

Appalachian Spring gift chain downsizes: Click here.
Amici Miei reopens in Rockville: Click here.






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Next up for Pike & Rose: Uniqlo

Japanese retailer Uniqlo will join the lineup at Pike & Rose with an 8,000-square-foot store scheduled to open this fall across from H&M. Uniqlo, which already has stores in D.C. and Tysons Corner, carries casual, inexpensive clothes for men, women and kids. Prices are moderate, and the company specializes in fabrics that dry quickly, pack easily and repel odors. The Pike & Rose location will be the first in Maryland as the 2,000-store chain begins to penetrate the U.S. market. For a sneak peek at the merchandise, click here.



My Best Friend's Closet:




Scout & Molly's at Pike & Rose


New boutique opens next week

Feb. 3 is opening day for Scout & Molly’s, another retailer making its Maryland debut at Pike & Rose. Store owner Wendy Brack Fritz says the boutique will specialize in fashionable career clothes and casual wear for “trendy-type moms” who are shopping with their teens. “While the daughters are in Francesca’s, Gap and H&M, the moms can come and visit us,” she says. The store is stocking brands like Blanc Noir, Trina Turk, Chaser, DL1961, French Connection and Mavi, but manager Abby Goldman says she only orders a few of each item “so you’re not going to see five other people wearing the same thing.” Scout & Molly’s stores are franchised, and each boutique is a bit different; click here to have a look.



Wintergreen Plaza:




Mojito at Paladar


More on the Paladar closing

After Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar said adios to North Bethesda Market last week, readers have been asking us about the fate of Paladar’s other D.C.-area locations. Rest assured, you can keep enjoying those mojitos: The Cleveland-based company tells us the North Bethesda location wasn’t doing well, but it has no plans to close at Tysons Corner or Gaithersburg’s Downtown Crown. Paladar is the second large restaurant to exit North Bethesda Market over the past year; click here for more.






fidget spinner


Toys R Us: In or Out?

If you’re one of the few who still go out of their way to shop at Toys R Us, you’ll be happy to know that the Gaithersburg location is not one of the 180-plus stores that are supposed to close this spring. The New Jersey-based retailer, which filed Chapter 11 last fall, is trying to stay in business after a reorganization. Another Toys R Us in Rockville closed four years ago to make way for Pike & Rose.



Lolly's Locks Valentine's Day Bazaar:




Did you miss these stories?

Two Asian food courts to open in Rockville this summer: Click here.
Guess,Tara Asia and Quench close their doors: Click here.
Honeygrow and Live Crawfish & Seafood open on Rockville Pike: Click here.

Appalachian Spring gift chain downsizes: Click here.
Amici Miei reopens in Rockville: Click here.


Email news and advertising questions to:




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Vietnamese soup bowl


Lots more Asian food on the way

Looks like 2018 will be the year of the Asian food court in Rockville. Two such projects are scheduled to open this summer: one in the downtown area and the other at Edmonston Crossing on Rockville Pike. The Edmonston project, to be called Pike Kitchen, will include Vietnamese pho and banh mi sandwiches, Korean street food and baked goods, poke bowls, ramen dishes, homemade ice cream, bubble tea and a coffee roastery. A similar project, known as The Spot, is planned for the ground floor of the new Metropolitan apartment building on North Washington Street. (Click here for details.) “These food halls are not just going to focus on Asian customers,” says Pike Kitchen co-owner James Park. “We’re looking for new ways to get millennials and younger people to try this food. Once they taste these Asian spices, there’s no going back.” 



Bethesda Central Winter Farm Market:




Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar


Paladar’s out on the Pike

Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar has closed its doors after five years at North Bethesda Market on Rockville Pike. It’s the second major departure for the Whole Foods-anchored center, following the recent exit of Brio Tuscan Grill. (See our May 4th edition for more on that.) This year will likely bring more changes for North Bethesda Market, which was just acquired by CBRE Global Investors.



Pooch Portrait Studio:




Starbucks latte


Starbucks on the move at Pike & Rose?

This hasn’t been confirmed yet, but we’re hearing buzz that a move is in the works for Starbucks at Pike & Rose. The busy store, which sits on an outparcel that was built before Pike & Rose took shape, is rumored to be relocating to a central spot next to H&M. That space is only steps away from the new park where CAVA‘s founders will soon be opening their Julii restaurant. (Haven’t heard about Julii? Click here.)



Lolly's Locks Valentine's Day Bazaar:




Launch Trampoline Park


Getting the jump on Rockville

The giant bouncy-house craze continues with a new addition near Rockville Pike: Launch Trampoline Park is now open at 4942 Boiling Brook Parkway. Here you’ll find the usual mix of birthday party packages and jumping hours for adults and kids, with plans for sessions designed for the special needs community. Jumping prices range from $16-$24 for one to two hours. Birthday parties start at $299. For additional details, click here.



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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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