Find Store Reporter on Facebook




Julii at Pike & Rose


Cava team cooks up something new for Pike & Rose

Have you been wondering what’s up with that glass-encased building across from the new L.L.Bean store on Rockville Pike? Now we know: It’s the future home of Julii, a new French Mediterranean restaurant from the founders of CAVA. This will be a standalone concept created specifically for Pike & Rose, serving an all-day menu that moves from croissants and coffee in the morning to shakshouka, roast chicken and cocktails in the evening. Co-owner Ted Xenohristos tells us he hopes to open the doors by late spring or early summer.



Wintergreen Plaza:




Norman's Farm Market Winter Home Delivery:



Toy Kingdom at Rockville Town Square


Game over for Toy Kingdom

Toy Kingdom, one of the last original tenants at Rockville Town Square, will close its doors at the end of this month after more than a decade on Maryland Avenue. Toy stores large and small have been struggling to compete with online commerce these past few years; high-end Marbles closed all its stores last winter (including the one at Westfield Montgomery Mall), while Toys R Us filed Chapter 11 this past fall. In our area, Toy Castle in Potomac and Child’s Play in Rockville are now the only two toy stores left standing.



O'Donnell's Market Wednesday Meal Deals:




Helen's on Rockville Pike


Trouble for Helen’s

Helen’s, which opened last year in the former Addie’s space on Rockville Pike, is struggling to stay in business. Owner Helen Wasserman, a longtime D.C. caterer, says it’s been difficult to turn a profit in an aging building that has needed so many repairs. “We’re hoping to stay open if we can work things out with the landlord,” she says. The building’s former tenants, restaurateurs Jeff and Barbara Black, had similar issues that led them to close the original Addie’s in 2013. They recent debuted a new version at Park Potomac — and it’s one of our Store Reporter Favorites for 2017. Scroll down to find out who else made the list.




Realtor Lisa Nasar with Long & Foster:




Shanghai Bao Kitchen at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Another restaurant closes at the mall

Westfield Montgomery Mall lost another eatery last week with the closing of Shanghai Bao Kitchen, a two-year-old concept from the owners of Bob’s Shanghai 66. The restaurant had made several attempts to revamp its menu in the past few months, adding sushi burritos, poke bowls and other trendy items, but it suffered from its out-of-the-way location plus competition from the neighboring B/Bop/Q.



Winterwilds Market at Park Potomac




Honeyfish Poke, Buredo and Fresh Baguette


Our favorite new restaurants of 2017

This has been a tough year for retailers, but a relatively good one for the local dining scene. From Rockville Pike to Potomac to Westfield Montgomery Mall, some terrific new places have opened over the past 12 months. Here’s a look at some of our favorites.

  • Addie’s at Park Potomac: This reincarnation of the beloved Rockville restaurant was one of the most anticipated openings of the year — and many longtime fans say it was worth the wait. Seafood towers are the centerpiece of the high-end menu. Click here for details.
  • Buredo at the Wildwood Shops: This is the first Maryland location for the D.C.-based chain, an early pioneer of the sushi burrito craze. We’re partial to the Beatrix, stuffed with yellowfin tuna and salmon sashimi. Click here for details.
  • CSNY Pizza on Rockville Pike: From the owners of the much-loved Pizza CS, this is about as close as you can get to authentic New York-style pizza in Rockville. Click here for details.
  • Don Pollo at Westlake Crossing: Come for the juicy roasted chicken, stay for the tasty Peruvian dishes. We particularly like the ceviche, yuca and plantains. Click here for more.
  • Filicori Zecchini at Park Potomac: Finally, a neighborhood coffee shop that Potomac can call its own. With sleek European furniture, a stunning copper bar and authentic Italian coffee, it’s worlds away from Starbucks. Click here for more.
  • Honeyfish Poke at Congressional Plaza: Hawaiian-style poke bowls are all the rage, and this place does it right: generous portions, fresh toppings and flavorful sauces. Click here for details.
  • Fresh Baguette on Hungerford Drive: The second location for this popular French bakery is designed to service wholesale clients (think country clubs and ritzy hotels) but is happy to serve you a super-fresh sandwich, a loaf of bread or a single perfect pastry. Click here for more.
  • Gusto Farm to Street at Westfield Montgomery Mall: The pizzas and salads are all very good, but it’s the chewy, gluten-free cauliflower crust that really sets this place apart. Click here for more.
  • Lucky Strike at Westfield Montgomery Mall: The food is surprisingly good at this snazzy bowling alley, where you can sit front-and-center at the sports bar or huddle in a cozy corner for a quiet board game. Click here for more.
  • Mission BBQ at Wintergreen Plaza: This uber-patriotic restaurant has something of a cult following, both for its top-notch barbecue and its dedication to supporting those in uniform. The brisket is a standout. Click here for more.
  • Moby Dick in Potomac Village: A welcome addition to this restaurant-starved neighborhood, offering a reliable Middle Eastern menu that’s well-suited for takeout. Click here for more.
  • Pinstripes at Pike & Rose: Bocce and bowling aren’t the only reasons to visit: The dishes here are among the tastiest we’ve had this year in North Bethesda. Don’t miss the boneless short rib and the crispy calamari. Click here for more.



Send news and advertising questions to:




read more



Lucky Strike Social at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Time to get Lucky

This weekend brings the long-awaited debut of Lucky Strike Social, opening Saturday underneath the Dining Terrace at Westfield Montgomery Mall. At a sneak peek this week, we found an inviting space for bowlers and non-bowlers alike: plush leather couches at each of the 12 lanes, comfy seating areas for pre-and post-game socializing, and a lively bar that’s likely to become a gathering spot for shopped-out sports fans. Lanes can be rented by the hour on weekend evenings for $65 a pop; at other times, the price will be $5 to $6 per person per game (plus shoe rental). We have more photos on the Store Reporter Facebook page; click here for look.



JT Interiors at Potomac House:




Menchie's Frozen Yogurt and Stride Rite at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Who’s in, who’s out at the mall

Lots of comings and goings at Westfield Montgomery Mall since our last edition. On the food side, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt finally opened across from Build-a-Bear Workshop; meanwhile, Bistro Sensations has vanished from the Dining Terrace and Chocolate Moonshine has closed its seasonal pop-up shop. Also gone is American Apparel, which finally completed its extended bankruptcy sale, and Sheepskin Gifts & Alpaca Too, whose owners say they’ll be back again next fall. Exiting soon: the Marbles game store (going bankrupt) and the Stride Rite kids’ shoe store, which will close at the end of March.



Bethesda Salt Cave:




Lord & Taylor on Rockville Pike


White Flint update

This week there was a new development in the longstanding battle between Lord & Taylor and the owners of the former White Flint Mall. A U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a 2015 verdict that Lord & Taylor, which is still doing business on the property, is entitled to $31 million in damages resulting from the mall’s demolition. The mall’s owners, Lerner Enterprises and The Tower Cos., have said they might not follow through with redevelopment plans if the verdict didn’t go their way. Bethesda Beat reports that their lawyers are now deciding whether to appeal yet again.



East Gate Swim & Tennis Club:




Fish Taco platter


And the restaurant winners are…

Last month we asked our readers to vote for their favorite new restaurants in the Rockville/Potomac area, drawing from a list of two dozen eateries that have opened over the past year. The results made one thing abundantly clear: The fast-casual segment is where it’s at. Most of the votes went to places where you can take the kids, wear something comfortable, and get a good meal for less than $15 per person.

And the winners are:

  • Fish Taco at Wildwood, the runaway winner of our poll, has earned a loyal following for its distinctive menu, tasty margaritas, striking decor and casual atmosphere that works equally well for couple meet-ups and family dinners.
  • Chuy’s on Rockville Pike is another favorite for its generous portions of Tex-Mex food and drinks, not to mention the excellent service and quirky Elvis-themed decor.
  • The Big Greek Café, a family-owned restaurant that recently added a location off Rockville Pike at Nicholson Lane, is beloved for its delicious home-cooked food and exceptionally warm staff.
  • Chopt and Modern Market, the two newest eateries at Congressional Plaza, both earn high praise for their winning combination of healthy food that tastes great. 
  • The Habit Burger Grill and Jersey Mike’s Subs, both at Wintergreen Plaza, offer an updated take on fast food that’s resonating with many of our readers.

In the fine-dining arena, two restaurants earned the most votes:

  • Helen’s, which took over the former Addie’s space on Rockville Pike, is a favorite for its top-notch cooking and welcoming, intimate atmosphere.
  • Lahinch, in the former Benny’s space at Cabin John Shopping Center, earned high marks for its Irish/American menu and lively ambience.

Other popular choices in our poll were Owen’s Ordinary at Pike & Rose, Mellow Mushroom at Rockville Town Square, and Beefsteak at Westfield Montgomery Mall. And the winner of dinner for four at Chuy’s? Hillary Benson of Potomac.



Email questions to




read more





Peruvian on the Pike

La Limeña Grill, a new spinoff of the popular Peruvian restaurant, is set to open next month in the former Potomac Grill space at 1093 Rockville Pike. Owner Emma Perez says the new place will be a bit more formal than its older sister at nearby Ritchie Center, with twice as much indoor seating plus a spacious outdoor patio. Unlike the original La Limeña, this restaurant will focus solely on Peruvian food with no Cuban dishes in the mix. The new menu is still being finalized, but you can see what’s cooking at the original La Limeña by clicking here.



Wintergreen Plaza:




Marbles The Brain Store


Game over for Marbles

Another week, another retail bankruptcy to report. This time it’s Marbles: The Brain Store, which has filed Chapter 11 after nearly a decade in business. The Chicago-based company carried a carefully edited selection of games and puzzles, with a hands-on approach that encouraged customers to play before they purchased. All 37 Marbles stores will be closing in the next month or two, including the one in the Nordstrom wing at Westfield Montgomery Mall. To see what’s still for sale, click here.



Sculpt Studio:




Lucky Strike bowling alley


Bowling alley opening delayed again

The debut of Lucky Strike Social at Westfield Montgomery Mall has been delayed yet again. Grand opening events that were scheduled for February have now been pushed back to early March — about nine months later than originally planned, as the company tinkered with its new bowling alley/game center/party venue concept. For more on Lucky Strike Social, click here for our Jan. 19 edition.






DXL men's shirts


New men’s store on Rockville Pike

DXL, the new incarnation of Casual Male XL, recently moved into the former Ethan Allen space at 12137 Rockville Pike. The store carries big-and-tall men’s apparel and accessories from Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, True Religion, Lacoste, Nautica and other popular brands. Ethan Allen can now be found on the ground floor of Galvan at Twinbrook, the retail/residential complex that opened last year on the Pike at Chapman Avenue.



Chuy's platters


Last chance to win dinner at Chuy’s

Have you weighed in yet in our reader poll about the best new restaurants in the greater Rockville/Potomac area? From burgers and beer to Irish and Russian cuisine, Store Reporter has covered the openings of some two dozen new restaurants in the past 12 months. Tell us which ones you like best, and we’ll enter you into our raffle to win dinner for four at Chuy’s on Rockville Pike. Here are the contenders:

  • Beefsteak at Westfield Montgomery Mall
  • Carluccio’s at Pike & Rose
  • Chopt at Congressional Plaza
  • Chuy’s at Federal Plaza
  • Fish Taco at the Wildwood Shops
  • Finnegan’s Wake Irish Pub at Rockville Town Square
  • Habit Burger at Wintergreen Plaza
  • Helen’s on Rockville Pike
  • Jersey Mike’s at Wintergreen Plaza
  • Lahinch at Cabin John Shopping Center
  • Mellow Mushroom at Rockville Town Square
  • Miso Fusion Café at Rockville Town Square
  • Modern Market at Congressional Plaza
  • Owen’s Ordinary at Pike & Rose
  • Pieology on Shady Grove Road
  • Pie 360 on Rockville Pike
  • Samovar at Rockville Town Square
  • Smashburger on Rockville Pike
  • Tara Thai at Westfield Montgomery Mall
  • The Big Greek Cafe on Nicholson Lane
  • Wingstop at Wintergreen Plaza
  • World of Beer in downtown Rockville

Click here to email us with the names of your favorites (choose as many as you want) or click here to comment on our Facebook page. We’ll tally up the votes and draw the winning name in an upcoming issue.



Please email questions to




read more




Trader Joe's foods


Trader Joe’s update: Hello Travilah, Goodbye Gaithersburg

After months of speculation about a new Trader Joe’s at Travilah Square Shopping Center, the California-based grocer has signed on the dotted line. A 13,000-square-foot store will open in late 2017 or early 2018 at the intersection of Travilah and Darnestown roads. This is good news for North Potomac but bad news for Gaithersburg: A Trader Joe’s spokesman tells us the company will be closing its store on Contour Road in Montgomery Village on the same day the Travilah store opens. No need to worry about the other Rockville store at Federal Plaza: That location isn’t going anywhere.



Orangetheory Fitness at Park Potomac:





Sushi burritos at Wildwood

Buredo, the two-year-old D.C. eatery known for its burrito-sized sushi rolls, is heading to Wildwood Shopping Center on Old Georgetown Road. Plans call for a spring opening in the space that previously belonged to Fraîche Cupcakery. This will be the first Maryland location for Buredo, which has earned an avid fan following for its generously sized seaweed wraps with a surprising mix of ingredients. (Sample roll: the Pai Mei with salmon sashimi, asparagus, pea shoot leaves, pickled red onion, daikon, katsuo mirin crunch and toasted sesame mayo.) Click here to check out the menu. And click here to read last week’s report on another D.C. sushi restaurant that’s opening right across the street.



Leila Fine Gifts & Jewels:




Chili's sign


Goodbye Chili’s

This week we say goodbye to Chili’s in North Bethesda, which has closed its doors after 25 years on Rockville Pike. Although the exit was blamed on plans to demolish the building, we think there’s more to that story: Chili’s has been quietly reducing its presence in the D.C. area for several years, including recent closings in Tysons Corner and Crystal City. The good news for Tex-Mex fans: Chuy’s is now open at Federal Plaza. Click here to check it out.



Cabin John Shopping Center mailing list:




Gifts from Appalachian Spring, JT Interiors and Leila Fine Gifts & Jewels


Gifts from Red Orchard, Occasions and As Kindred Spirits


Our picks for great gifts

With colder weather just around the corner, it’s not too early to start thinking about holiday shopping. In the next few weeks we’ll have news about craft markets, gift boutiques and holiday open houses. In the meantime, here’s a quick guide to our favorite locally owned gift shops.

  • Appalachian Spring: The Congressional Plaza location is part of a four-store chain focusing on handmade products by American artists, most of which are functional as well as beautiful. Wood and glass are the primary materials here, from jewelry boxes and cutting boards to hand-blown vases and luminous dinnerware — plus a large collection of kaleidoscopes. “That’s my favorite part of the store,” says co-owner David Brooks. Details at
  • As Kindred Spirits: Owner Wendy “Rukmini” Walker travels the world for handmade clothing, accessories and jewelry, as well as decorative household objects from clocks to frames to wine bottle holders. If you’re looking for Roman glass pendants, men’s silk ties or scarves from India, you’ll find them here. The Congressional Plaza location is the flagship, and Walker is in talks to open a new store at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Details at
  • JT Interiors: The go-to place for gifts in Potomac Village, JT Interiors makes the most of its charming setting inside a house at 9906 River Road. From guest towels, pillows and stylish handbags to serving platters, bowls and baskets, decorative objects are displayed in a way that makes it easy to imagine them in your own home. And for those who can’t get enough of the whole look, the store also offers interior design services. Details at the JT Interiors Facebook page.
  • Leila Fine Gifts & Jewels: At Cabin John Shopping Center near California Tortilla, Leila is the place for unique hostess gifts, decorative kitchenware, colorful glass and crystal, and a wide variety of affordable jewelry. If you’re looking for a mitzvah gift or a lovely piece of Judaica, you’ll find plenty of choices here. Owner Deb Shalom says she’s always on the lookout for gifts that are “fun, beautiful and functional — all at a comfortable price point.” Details at
  • Occasions: Inside Cabin John Mall across from McDonald’s, Occasions carries gifts from Scout, Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer as well as paper goods, jewelry, decorative wooden signs and items for babies, teens and tweens. The store also specializes in monogrammed and personalized items, from notepads to cocktail napkins. Details at
  • Red Orchard: A longtime fixture at Wildwood Shopping Center, Red Orchard has moved away from its original focus on American-made furniture to specialize in artisan-produced home accessories that are “interesting, funky and functional,” says co-owner Caroline Liberty. Here you’ll find a unique and modern selection of decorative kitchenware, wall art, kids’ gifts, bath and body items, handmade jewelry and local gourmet foods. Details at
  • Silver Moon Jewelry & Accessories: This is the new incarnation of the former Tiara Galleries & Gifts, still at Congressional Plaza but now focused primarily on jewelry and handbags. Figurines and ceramic pieces have largely disappeared to make way for Pandora and Alex and Ani, plus a variety of lesser-known jewelry lines and handbags by Vera Bradley and Spartina. Details at



Store Reporter advertising:




Salad and appetizers


Tell us about your favorites

We’re working on more Store Reporter Favorites for upcoming issues, and we’d love to hear about your go-to places in the greater Rockville/Potomac area. Tell us your picks for date night, fast casual meals, fabulous desserts and party venues. And if you know of any hidden gems — either stores or restaurants that our readers should hear about — please tell us about those too. Email your favorites to



Capital Area Food Bank fundraiser:






read more



Nike sneaker


Nike store’s next for Pike & Rose

Good news for those who are sad to say goodbye to Sports Authority: A Nike Factory Store will soon be moving into Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, taking over the former City Sports space that’s been empty since last fall. The store will carry workout gear and accessories for all ages, some of which can jazzed up with monograms and other custom touches. Nike will be the second sporting goods retailer doing business at Pike & Rose, where REI also is building out a store that’s scheduled to open next year. Click here for more in our Oct. 22 edition.



On Cloud 9 ad:




Chuy's margarita and platter


Chuy’s Tex-Mex heading to Rockville

Making its Maryland debut on Rockville Pike this fall: Chuy’s, a Tex-Mex chain from Austin that’s taking over the recently closed Ruby Tuesday space at Federal Plaza. Chuy’s, which has a half-dozen locations in Virginia, is known for its made-from-scratch menu and quirky decor featuring colored hubcaps, hanging wooden fish and Elvis memorabilia. Craving burritos already? Click here to check out the menu.






Modern Market proscuitto-and-eggs plate


Hold the sugar, bring on the butter

Modern Market, a health-oriented and eco-conscious restaurant chain from Boulder, Colo., is heading to Congressional Plaza with plans for a fall opening next to Chopt. The menu will feature salads, sandwiches, brick oven pizzas and breakfast items, all made from scratch with real butter, whole milk cheeses and raw nuts. “We think added sugar is the devil and (good) fats are our friends,” says the Modern Market website.” We’re a place where paleo, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free friends can all enjoy a great meal, together.” Another Modern Market is also on the way to Bethesda Row. For a look at the menu, click here.



2016 Bagel City Father's Day ad




Small plates from Sugo


Who has the best appetizers in town?

We asked Store Reporter readers to vote for their favorite appetizers in the Rockville/Potomac area. The result? Three hands-down favorites and three runners-up.

  • CAVA MEZZE AT TRAVILLE VILLAGE CENTER. This is the restaurant that started the whole Cava empire back in 2006 — and many say it’s still their favorite for great small plates. Our readers’ top picks are the Brussels sprouts with Greek yogurt and olive bread crumbs; the roasted beets with balsamic pomegranate and goat cheese; and of course the famous flaming Saganaki cheese.
  • SUGO AT PARK POTOMAC. Here’s another win for the Cava team, which opened sister restaurant Sugo in 2012. Brussels sprouts and roasted beet salad are popular here too, but in this case the sprouts are cooked with crispy pancetta and the beets are paired with arugula, pistachios and gorgonzola. Other reader favorites: the chicken meatballs and the grilled charred octopus.
  • MOCO’S FOUNDING FARMERS AT PARK POTOMAC. At the Rockville branch of the D.C.-based chain, right down the sidewalk from fellow winner Sugo, our readers are particularly fond of the farm breads with various toppings — especially the brie, onion jam and crisp apple combo. Other reader picks include the garlic black pepper wings, fried green tomatoes, bacon lollis and bacon-wrapped dates.

Three other restaurants also earned high marks in our best-appetizer poll. THE GRILLED OYSTER CO. AT CABIN JOHN SHOPPING CENTER draws praise not only for its oysters but also its mussels, fried calamari and Maryland crab dip. CLYDE’S TOWER OAKS LODGE earns kudos for its hummus plate, grilled lamb chops and Coca Cola-marinated beef yakitori. And at MATCHBOX on Rockville Pike, our readers favor the mussels, mini burgers and tuna tartare.



Sugo interior


Congrats to our Sugo dinner winner

Congratulations to Store Reporter reader David Winer of Potomac, who won our drawing for a $60 Sugo gift card. Thanks to all who entered the drawing by voting for their favorite appetizers — and stay tuned to Store Reporter for more giveaways coming up.



Regency Estates Swim Club membership discount ad:



Store Reporter is in the know about the places you go. Want to get our newsletter in your email box every week? Click here. Want to advertise your business to our readers in greater Rockville, Potomac and Bethesda? Click here.

For a guide to previous issues, click here.

read more




Kids' gift basket


Readers share their favorites — plus a fabulous toy giveaway

For this special Kids and Teens Issue, we asked readers to tell us their families’ favorite places for dining and shopping in the greater Rockville/Potomac area. We heard from so many of you about the restaurants, stores and neighborhood gathering spots that keep your families coming back week after week, year after year. Scroll down to read about the winners — and when you get to the end, be sure to enter the giveaway for our fabulous basket of toys.



Cava Mezze Grill photo


Dining out with kids & teens

When our readers told us about their favorite family restaurants, they didn’t just focus on the food. Equally important were a welcoming atmosphere, affordable prices, relatively healthy menu options, and a good chance of running into friends. Here’s what else we found interesting: All the restaurants that got the most votes are not individually owned places, but small regional chains that were founded in the Maryland/D.C. area.


  • CAVA MEZZE GRILL: Since its 2014 debut at Westfield Montgomery Mall, the Greek-inspired menu at Cava Mezze Grill (photo above) has become a hands-down favorite for many Store Reporter readers. “It’s so healthy and fresh, with such great flavor, and there is nothing else like it,” says reader Monika Woods. “My kids pick it even for special occasions when they could go somewhere fancier.” Cava Mezze Grill, Westfield Montgomery Mall and other area locations. For more info, click here.
  • LEBANESE TAVERNA: Here’s a Middle Eastern menu that appeals to even the pickiest eaters, from your basic pita and hummus to falafel, grape leaves and shawarma. Some readers like the cozy location at Congressional Plaza, but many prefer the spacious one at Rockville Town Square for its outdoor seating and proximity to the ice rink and concert stage. Lebanese Taverna, two locations in Rockville and others throughout the D.C. area. For more info, click here.
  • SILVER DINER: The Rockville Pike location, where a typical evening starts with families and ends with milkshake-drinking teens, is the one that feels like home to many Store Reporter readers. Customers appreciate the unusually extensive kids’ menu with reasonably healthy options. “My two boys used to love getting those cardboard cars and a kids’ meal when they were little,” says reader Andrea Lewis. “Now we’ve moved on to bigger meals, and also meeting friends there on Saturday nights.” Silver Diner, 12276 Rockville Pike and other area locations. For more info, click here.
  • CALIFORNIA TORTILLA: The Cabin John location is a major gathering place for local families, especially the sidewalk seating where people linger and chat with friends passing by. “Kids love the food, and we inevitably run into someone we know,” says reader Karen Moore. Others like the customizable menu, the snazzy soda machines and the “make your own” options for kids’ tacos and burritos. California Tortilla, Cabin John Shopping Center and other area locations. For more info, click here.
  • POTOMAC PIZZA: The Falls Road location, open since 1978, has a loyal following among Store Reporter readers who grew up in and around Potomac Village. The place is always packed with kids — often still in their soccer gear — and readers say they enjoy the family atmosphere and the chance to mingle with their neighbors. Potomac Pizza, 9812 Falls Road and other area locations. For more info, click here.
  • ZIKI JAPANESE STEAK HOUSE: Located just outside Rio Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg, Ziki is a destination restaurant for local families celebrating birthdays and special occasions. The Benihana-style hibachi show is the big draw here, with long waits to watch the chefs turn sliced onions into choo-choo trains. “The food is good, you get to enjoy the show during dinner, and it’s louder than your typical restaurant — which is another bonus with my three boys,” says reader Peter Mallios. Ziki, 10009 Fields Road in Gaithersburg. For more info, click here.



MoCo's Founding Farmers Easter-to-Go ad:




Creative Gifts & Favors ad:




Bagel City ad:




Lolli and Pops, Westfield Montgomery Mall


Sweet treats with kids & teens

After a sports game, dinner or an outdoor adventure, many families like to gather over something sweet and cold. For Store Reporter readers, there are five places that really take the cake… not to mention the candy, the gelato and the ice cream.


  • CARMEN’S ITALIAN ICE & CAFE: This local favorite is packed every weekend after soccer, baseball, family outings and other occasions that call for a sweet ending. Crowds come for the homemade Italian ice, frozen custard and shakes that can be mashed together into all sorts of tasty combinations. “Carmen’s is the bomb diggety,” says reader Helene Dolan. “So many flavor combos, and everything is delicious.” Carmen’s Italian Ice & Cafe, 1115 Nelson Street in Rockville. For more info, click here.
  • SPRINKLES: There’s always a crowd at Sprinkles, a Potomac Village institution serving ice cream, birthday cakes, milkshakes and other freshly made sweets. In the evenings, it’s often one of the last businesses to close in the Village. “My kids have been going there for over 16 years,” says reader Karen Reyes Kuchins. “They will drive across town to bring home a Sprinkles homemade coffee Oreo ice cream pie.” Sprinkles, 10148 River Road in Potomac Village. For more info, click here.
  • LOLLI AND POPS: If you haven’t visited Lolli and Pops, which opened last fall at Westfield Montgomery Mall, you’re in for a real treat. Even adults get that “kid-in-a-candy-store” feeling from the dazzling selection of gourmet items, retro goodies, international sweets and oddball drinks (peanut-butter-and-jelly soda, anyone?) And the gummy bear selection is not to be missed. Lolli and Pops, Westfield Montgomery Mall and other D.C.-area locations. For more info, click here.
  • COLD STONE CREAMERY: This recent entry has won the hearts of shoppers at Westfield Montgomery Mall, where its prime spot in the Dining Terrace makes it the perfect place for after-dinner treats and quick shopping breaks. The custom mix-ins, from candy bars to graham cracker pie crust, are a big part of the appeal. “My son tells me their ice cream is much creamier than other places,” says reader Suzanne Borden. Cold Stone Creamery, Westfield Montgomery Mall and other area locations. For more info, click here.
  • BASKIN-ROBBINS: Sure it’s a chain, but the Baskin-Robbins at Cabin John Shopping Center is undoubtedly a neighborhood institution. If your kids go to school anywhere in the Potomac area, it’s unlikely they’ll leave Baskin-Robbins without spotting a friend or two. And much like the neighboring California Tortilla, the outside seating is a prime spot for socializing with other families. Baskin-Robbins, Cabin John Shopping Center and other area locations. For more info, click here.



Tips on Trips and Camps ad:




Aristotle Circle tutoring ad:




2016 Kids' Toy Basket Giveaway 575




On Cloud 9 camp wall


Shopping with kids & teens 

Whether they’re buying clothes for fast-growing teens or trying to find just the right birthday present, our readers clearly gravitate toward small, locally owned businesses with staffers who really know their products.


  • TOY CASTLE: A staple at Cabin John Mall since 1979, Toy Castle always has the latest and greatest — plus enough old favorites to put a smile on parents’ faces. Readers like the store for its vast selection, its laid-back staff, and the simple joy of walking out with a wrapped gift that’s ready to go. “Great customer service, cool toys, and stuff you just don’t find online or at a big-box store,” says reader Jeanne Adams. Toy Castle, Cabin John Mall, 11325 Seven Locks Road. For more info, click here.
  • BARSTONS CHILD’S PLAY: This toy store at bustling Congressional Plaza is a gathering place for the stroller set, offering a comfortable atmosphere for socializing after a trip to neighboring Bye Bye Baby. Parents of older kids say they also appreciate the staff’s infinite patience and guidance. “They don’t make you feel rushed,” says reader Sharon Morris. “You can tell that they really like their jobs and playing with toys. And they’re always willing to show you how things work.” Barstons Child’s Play, Congressional Plaza, 1661 Rockville Pike. For more info, click here.
  • ON CLOUD 9: This small boutique at the border of Potomac and Rockville is the go-to place for little fashionistas, keeping its customers in style from babyhood through the teen years — and sometimes dressing their moms too. “They have unique things that you wouldn’t find anywhere else — clothing, accessories and special things to take to sleepaway camp,” says reader Julie Mintz. “It’s also a great place to buy small gifts for special occasions, and they come in a box with a pretty blue ribbon.” On Cloud 9, Potomac Woods Plaza, 1085 Seven Locks Road. For more info, click here.
  • MY BEST FRIEND’S CLOSET: This Rockville shop is a favorite for on-trend girls and their budget-conscious moms. Prices tend to be reasonable — and some of the merchandise is gently used, having been recently recycled from other local kids and teens. “For my daughter, it’s easier and more attractive to shop than a large department store,” says reader Meredith Yentis. Reader Monika Woods says the store “never fails to come up with something great for my girls — every bar/bat mitzvah, homecoming and special occasion.” My Best Friend’s Closet, 9735 Traville Gateway Drive in Rockville. For more info, click here.
  • SHOE TRAIN: People travel from all over the D.C. area to visit Shoe Train, an institution at Cabin John Mall with a reputation for expertise in orthopedic and hard-to-fit issues. Readers say they don’t mind the long waits, as they know the service will be personalized when it’s their child’s turn for a fitting. And the store keeps records on all its customers, so it’s easy to track your kids’ growth and favorite styles. Shoe Train at Cabin John Mall, 11325 Seven Locks Road. For more info, click here.



2016 Toy Castle Lego contest ad:




 Bee Bee Designs ad:




Kids' gift basket


Enter to win this basket of toys


This week we’re giving away a fabulous basket of toys for kids from preschool through elementary school. Here are some of the goodies inside:

  • YOGA SPINNER, a fun new game that teaches yoga poses to kids 5 and up, provided by the Alexandria-based toy company ThinkFun.
  • SPOT IT games perfect for ages 3 and up, plus a DOODLE QUEST drawing game for ages 6 and up, both provided by Blue Orange Games.
  • CRAZY AARON’S GLOW-IN-THE-DARK THINKING PUTTY for ages 3 and up, provided by Toy Castle at Cabin John Mall.
  • MY GYM GIFT CERTIFICATE for classes and membership, good for either the Bethesda or Cabin John locations (and transferable to a friend).

There are three ways to enter this giveaway: 1) Click here to put your name in our hat online; 2) Click here to enter via our Facebook page, or 3) Stop by My Gym at Cabin John Mall any weekday in March to fill out an entry form. We’ll compile all your entries and draw the winning name in April.





RESC ad:




Temple Beth Ami ad:



Store Reporter is in the know about the places you go. Want to get our newsletter in your email box every week? Click here. Want to advertise your business to our readers in greater Rockville, Potomac and Bethesda? Click here.

For a guide to previous issues, click here.


read more

Skip to toolbar