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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.)



Big summer sale at JT Interiors in Potomac Village:




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.







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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.



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




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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Raw fish is all the rage

Sushi burritos and poke bowls are having a moment as we welcome some new restaurants in the Rockville/Bethesda suburbs. Buredo, set to open in the next few weeks at Wildwood Shopping Center, features hand-held rolls stuffed with avocado, cucumber, tempura flakes, sriracha mayo and other ingredients that complement the raw fish. The menu will be similar at Maki Shop, opening later this year at Georgetown Square just across the street. And Honeyfish Poke, scheduled to debut this month at Congressional Plaza, features Hawaiian-style bowls of raw fish with rice and toppings. Meanwhile, Shanghai Bao Kitchen at Westfield Montgomery Mall has dropped its original dumplings-and-veggies concept for a new menu that focuses on… you guessed it, sushi burritos and poke bowls.






Craft from URBNmarket vendors


Weekend plan: URBNmarket

URBNmarket, a two-day showcase of handmade and vintage goods, returns to Park Potomac this weekend with plenty of fab finds as well as music, food and kids’ activities. The show kicks off Friday (June 2) from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m., continuing Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the grassy square across from Harris Teeter. Be sure to stop by the Store Reporter table on Friday — or the information table on Saturday — for a chance to win some great gift cards from Founding Farmers, Sugo, JT Interiors, O’Donnell’s Market and Orangetheory Fitness. For more on URBNmarket and this year’s vendors, click here.



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Will Blaze ever be back?

It’s been a year since Blaze Pizza abruptly closed its doors at Westfield Montgomery Mall, citing poor signage and lack of foot traffic at its tucked-away location across from Aroma. At the time, a company spokesman promised that Blaze would be back with a higher-profile space not far away. This week we checked in to see how those plans are coming along. Sadly for all you Blaze fans, they’re not. “No other location planned for the area at this time,” says spokesman Joshua Levitt. “Sorry!”



Realtor Lisa Nasar of Long & Foster:







Vases at Appalachian Spring


One less store for Appalachian Spring

Appalachian Spring, one of the longest-running craft and jewelry stores in the D.C. area, is closing its Georgetown location after nearly half a century. “We got to the end of our lease on Wisconsin Avenue, and it was just too expensive to do it over again,” says owner David Brooks. “It’s not a wonderful climate right now.” The Rockville store at Congressional Plaza is having a good year, Brooks says, and the Union Station and Reston stores are at least holding their own. “We may look for another place that doesn’t cannibalize our existing locations,” he says, “but we haven’t found it yet.” To see what’s hot this summer at Appalachian Spring, click here.



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Michael Kors handbag


Michael Kors closing stores

The latest company to announce widespread store closings is luxury retailer Michael Kors, which says it will shutter up to 125 of its 800-plus locations before the end of 2017. Sales of the company’s handbags and apparel have been falling this past year, even as Michael Kors tried to regain its upscale image by reducing its presence at discount-happy department stores. So what does all this mean for the Michael Kors store at Westfield Montgomery Mall? Staffers say they haven’t been told yet. “Those decisions are going to come later,” says one employee. “As far as I know, we’re not going anywhere.”



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Cabin John Mall


What’s next for Cabin John?

It’s been six months since Cabin John Shopping Center & Mall was sold to Edens, a national firm with extensive holdings in the D.C. area. The new owners have been quiet about their plans up to now, but rumors have been swirling about new construction on the back parking lot and possible housing units to be built above the stores and restaurants. An Edens spokesman tells us she can’t comment on those rumors just yet, but she expects to release info on several new tenants in the weeks to come. (See our May 18th edition to find out who just moved into the mini-mall.) Stay tuned to Store Reporter as this story unfolds.



Pike Central Farm Market:




URBNmarket at Park Potomac:






Dave & Buster’s back in the game?

Have you missed Dave & Buster’s since the White Flint Mall was torn down? We hear the gaming center is about to make a comeback — this time at Rio Washingtonian Centerin Gaithersburg. Likely location is the Sport & Health space on Washingtonian Boulevard, which emptied out this week when the fitness center lost its lease. Dave & Buster’s, known for its hoops and arcade games since 1982, has been adding bowling and billiards at its newest locations.



JT Interiors in Potomac Village:




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Leilabox from Leila Jewels


Jewels to your door

Leila Fine Gifts & Jewels, celebrating its fifth anniversary at Cabin John Shopping Center, is launching a monthly subscription service for jewelry. “What’s more fun than getting a box in the mail?” asks owner Deb Shalom, whose LeilaBox concept is loosely modeled on popular services like Birchbox and Stitch Fix. Members pay $22 a month for three surprise pieces that can be borrowed indefinitely, purchased at a discount or sent back immediately with no shipping charges. “This is jewelry from terrific unfamiliar designers that you would normally only find at funky little boutiques, not the kind that you can buy anytime at Macy’s,” Shalom says. Click here for details.



Bagel City party platters:




Elephant topiary at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Flower show at the mall

Montgomery in Bloom, a six-week flower fest at Westfield Montgomery Mall, is now open in the lower level of the Nordstrom wing. Inspired by the Macy’s Flower Show in New York City, the event features topiaries, product samples, painting parties and other floral-themed happenings through the end of June. Click here for more photos on our Facebook page.



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