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Seven Seas restaurant


So long Seven Seas

Seven Seas, one of Rockville’s oldest Chinese restaurants, will close its doors at the end of this month. The 31-year-old eatery, on the back side of Federal Plaza near Panera, was a takeout favorite known for its fresh seafood dishes and lobster platters. Management tells us the restaurant’s lease was up and there are no plans to relocate. 



Mother's Day at The Grilled Oyster:




Potomac Village Farmers Market:




Sweetly Anchored Patisserie at Cabin John


Sweet start at Cabin John

The big story in Potomac this week is the debut of Sweetly Anchored, the new bakery and coffee shop inside the Cabin John mini-mall. Doors open on Monday morning (May 7th) with scones, croissants, muffins and quiche along with coffee and espresso drinks. Every afternoon the cases will be filled with cupcakes, cookies, brownies and tarts for eat-in or takeout. Owner Lindsay Miniaci, who is known for her specialty cakes, says new baked goods will be added in the weeks to come. The bakery will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Click here for more photos on the Store Reporter Facebook page.



Realtor Lisa Nasar of Long & Foster:



URBNmarket spring pop-up at Bethesda Row:




B/Bop/Q at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Bye B/Bop/Q

Korean fusion eatery B/Bop/Q closed its doors last weekend after less than three years at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Owned by a Rockville-based food service company that had planned to turn B/Bop/Q into a chain, the restaurant had a loyal fan base but had trouble drawing crowds so far from the main Dining Terrace. Another nearby restaurant that opened around the same time, Shanghai Bao Kitchen, had similar issues and closed its doors last winter.



Central Farm Market at Westfield Montgomery:





Comings & goings at the mall

This week we have a few more comings and goings to report at Westfield Montgomery Mall. The newest addition is Italian lingerie store Intimissimi, now open in the Nordstrom wing. Infinite Beauty, one of the mall’s longtime tenants, has added a second location offering facials and other spa services. Meanwhile, we say goodbye to Asian clothing chain Hoamgar after a five-year run. As we mentioned in our March 8 issue, this had been the first U.S. location for the high-end chain — but its merchandise failed to catch on.



Park Potomac Spring Festival:



Find custom gifts in the Store Reporter Local Services Guide:




Did you miss these stories?

  • Wegmans in Rockville: Your questions answered. Click here.
  • Pike & Rosewill get an Asian food hall: Click here.
  • Corned Beef King opens on the Pike. Click here.
  • Cabin John construction update. Click here.
  • Nando’s opens at Pike & Rose. Click here.
  • ArcLight Cinema will get a new neighbor. Click here.
  • Cabin John signs a new fitness center. Click here.
  • Aldi will open a no-frills grocery store in Rockville. Click here.






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Westfield Montgomery Mall


Westfield changes hands

Westfield Corp., the Australian company that owns Westfield Montgomery Mall, announced this week that it’s being sold for $15.8 billion to the French firm Unibail-Rodamco. What does that mean for our local mall and its sister property, Westfield Wheaton? No one knows yet. For now, mall staff tells us that everything is status quo and the bustling holiday season is proceeding as usual. Meanwhile, the mall has lost a few more tenants in the past few weeks: The 3-D Manaco photo store is gone, as is the Boardwalk burger-and-fry restaurant (previously known as Kraze Burger and then Burger Venue). Also on the way out is Vitamin World, whose parent company has filed Chapter 11.



Wintergreen Plaza:




Occasions at Cabin John Mall:




Urban Hot Pot at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Hot Pot on the Pike

Urban Hot Pot made its debut this week in the Galvan complex on Rockville Pike, next door to the recently opened Akira ramen restaurant. There’s an all-you-can-eat menu for $24.99, with heating stations at the tables and a conveyor belt that sends out fresh ingredients for the broth bowls. This is the second hot pot restaurant to open in the area this year, following Little Dipper at Rockville Town Square. And a whole new wave of Asian eateries is headed to Rockville in 2018; we’ll have more after the holidays.




Realtor Lisa Nasar at Long & Foster:




Winter produce from Norman's Farm Market


Free week of winter produce from Norman’s

Norman’s Farm Market has launched its first winter home delivery program, offering seasonal fruits and vegetables direct to your door. Partnering with sustainable local farms a few hours south of the D.C. area, Norman’s is offering fresh-picked baskets of squash, potatoes, avocados, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, greens, apples and whatever else looks good on a given week. A small share, which feeds one to three people, costs $29 per week. A large share feeds four to six people for $39. Sign up now and take advantage of one free week for Store Reporter readers; make sure to use the code STORE18. Click here for details.


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Ibhana Boutique:




Fortune Garden in Potomac Village


Potomac Village restaurant closes

Fortune Garden, a longtime fixture in Potomac Village, has closed its doors at the Potomac Promenade shopping center on Falls Road. Landlords tell us the search is on for a new tenant — and clearly there’s room for some fresh restaurant options in the Village. Stay tuned.



Spotluck discount dining app


Spin to win with Spotluck

Have you heard about Spotluck? It’s a homegrown company (launched in Rockville, now based in Bethesda) that offers dining discounts at 1,400 restaurants all over the East Coast. Download the app for everyday savings at favorites like Black’s, Barrel & Crow, Bombay Bistro, Passage to India, Mamma Lucia, Gusto, Mussel Bar & Grille, the Grilled Oyster Co., Trapezeria and Lebanese Taverna among others. From Dec. 15th to the 22nd, Spotluck is giving away free gift cards for everyone who downloads the app. And Store Reporter readers can get an extra discount by using the code REPORTER. To claim yours, click here.


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VIP at Westfield Montgomery Mall:





Store Reporter holiday gift picks

Are you looking for some quick and easy holiday gifts? We’ve been testing some products that were sent to us for review, and we’d like to share some of our favorites. For the travelers on your gift list, we’re impressed with the Eva NYC Almighty Pro-Power Mini Hair Dryer , which comes with a cute case and packs a surprising amount of power for such a tiny device ($48 at Urban Outfitters, click here). We always count on The Container Store for great stocking stuffers, and this year is no exception. Our favorites are the whimsical Toasty S’more Skewers ($14.99, click here ) and the 3-in-1 clip lens for creating fun effects with your phone camera ($4.99, click here). And with winter movie-and-popcorn nights on the horizon, you can’t go wrong with this red collapsible Lékué microwave popcorn popper from Sur La Table ($20, click here for info). For more of our recommendations for great kitchen gifts, scroll down or click here.


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Holiday gifts from Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table


Six great gifts for the kitchen

In a holiday season that feels more stressful than ever, we’re looking to the kitchen for some gift inspiration. This year we partnered with Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table, two of our favorite cooking stores, to take some popular gifts for a real-life test drive. Whether you’re shopping for a serious chef, a coffee lover or a fan of vintage cocktails, here are six top picks that would be welcome in any kitchen.


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Lékué Popcorn Popper

This flexible red popcorn popper is a consistent performer in the microwave and a cheery addition to your coffee table on movie night. It’s dishwasher-safe, smushes down flat for storage, and makes a great gift at just $20. Lékué Popcorn Maker at Sur La Table; shop online or visit the new store at Pike & Rose. Click here for details.




Williams Sonoma Copper Collection

The Moscow Mule, a vintage cocktail of vodka, lime and ginger beer, is having a moment. It’s traditionally served in a frosty copper mug, which you can find at Williams Sonoma along with some great-looking copper barware: tumblers and ice buckets, cocktail shakers and serving trays with a classic style right out of Mad Men. Some items require occasional polishing, but we think the look is worth it. Click here to shop the entire Williams Sonoma Copper Collection, or check it out in person at Tysons Galleria or Bethesda Row.




Aerolatte handheld milk frother

There’s a latte to like about this slim milk frother, which quickly whips up a drink that would impress your local barista. It’s battery-operated, easy to clean, and small enough to nestle into your silverware drawer. A perfect gift for your latte-loving friends. Aerolatte Handheld Milk Frother, $19.95 at Williams Sonoma. Click here for details.




Sur La Table Cold Brew Coffee Maker

The cold brew coffee craze is huge this year, and it’s easy to make your own with this graceful pitcher from Sur La Table. Just pour ground coffee into the brewing basket, add cold water, tuck the pitcher into your fridge and wait. In 24 hours, your patience will be rewarded with a smooth brew that can be sipped hot or cold. Sur La Table Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $30 in stores or online. Click here for details.




All-Clad Immersion Blender

We’re impressed with the power of this sleek immersion blender, which purées soups and sauces as quickly as our Vitamix — but with less noise and better control over the texture. Seems like a splurge, but it will get used more often than you’d imagine. All-Clad Immersion Blender, $99.95 at Williams SonomaClick here for details. 



Roasters and pans from Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma


Nonstick cookware that makes the grade

For the person on your list who loves to cook, we tested the $99.95 All-Clad Nonstick Roaster from Sur La Table (click hereand the $49.99 Professional Stainless Steel Nonstick Fry Pan from Williams Sonoma (click here). Both are good-looking and extremely well designed, with consistent cooking results that made them a favorite in our test kitchen. Plus: They’re dishwasher-safe, which means you’ll also get a thank-you from the cleanup crew.



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About these reviews: Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma provided more than a dozen items for Store Reporter to test and review this holiday season. We chose the products above for their form, function and easy maintenance. Look for more Store Reporter product reviews in 2018.



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Moby Dick kabobs


Moby Dick update

Moby Dick expects a mid-March opening for its new location in Potomac Village, where it’s nearing the end of construction at the Falls Road storefront that once housed Toys Unique. This will be the 21st restaurant for the fast-casual chain, which has been serving Persian food in the D.C. area for almost 30 years. To see what’s on the menu, click here.



Kaufmann Jewelers:




Ev & Maddy's and Little Dipper Hot Pot House at Rockville Town Square


Who’s in, who’s out at Rockville Town Square

Lots of changes this winter on Gibbs Street at Rockville Town Square, where Little Dipper Hot Pot House is set to open next week while the neighboring Ev & Maddy’s appears to have closed. Little Dipper, which is taking over the corner spot that once housed Noodles & Company, offers flavored broths with noodles, vegetables and meats that you cook right at your table. Ev & Maddy’s, which earned good reviews for its European bistro-style menu, had been open for just two years in the space next door. It’s the fourth restaurant to fail at that address since 2007, following Bobby’s Crabcakes, Tippy’s Taco House and the short-lived 82 Steak Out. Also exiting Gibbs Street is the Ten Thousand Villages gift shop; more on that in our Feb. 2 edition.






Want to win dinner for four at Chuy's? Scroll down to find out how.




Macy's sign at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Amazon to buy Macy’s?

This week brought the news that Macy’s, which has been closing stores across the country, is entertaining acquisition offers from several potential suitors. The interested parties are said to include Amazon, which is looking to expand into physical stores, and Hudson’s Bay Company, which already owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Stay tuned.






Purse from BCBG Max Azria


Bye bye BCBG

BCBG Max Azria, which exited Westfield Montgomery Mall last year, plans to close 120 locations across the country in the next two months. The retailer says it will continue to operate some freestanding stores, but will focus primarily on its Internet sales, licensing deals and boutiques inside department stores. The BCBG store in Chevy Chase will be closing in the next few weeks, but staffers tell us the Georgetown and Tysons stores will remain open — at least for now. Like so many clothing retailers these days, BCBG is rumored to be on the verge of bankruptcy.



2017 Tips on Trips & Camps Summer Opportunities Fair:




Realtor Lisa Nasar of Long & Foster:–-and-How-to-Avoid-Them




Dinner and margarita at Chuy's


Tell us where you love to eat — and win dinner at Chuy’s

From burgers and beer to Irish and Russian cuisine, the Rockville/Potomac area has welcomed some two dozen new restaurants in the past 12 months. As Valentine’s Day approaches, we’d like to know which ones have won a place in your heart. Tell us your favorites, 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

To enter, just click here to fill out our survey favorites (choose as many favorites as you want) or click here to comment on our Facebook page. We’ll tally up the votes and draw the winning name later this month.



LavaLoka workout clothes:




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Modern Market at Congressional Plaza


Modern Market heading to Fallsgrove?

It’s not a done deal yet, but we’re hearing that Modern Market will soon announce plans for a second Rockville restaurant at the Fallsgrove Village Center off Shady Grove Road. The chain made its D.C.-area debut last summer in downtown Bethesda, followed in December by a second location at Rockville’s Congressional Plaza and just this week by a third location in Washington. Modern Market, based in health-conscious Boulder, CO, has earned an avid following for its super-fresh menu (click here), detailed nutritional information, and willingness to accommodate a variety of specialized diets. (At Fallsgrove, though, we might just be tempted to top off all that healthy eating with a hot Krispy Kreme.)



Sculpt Studio:





New successor for American Tap Room

Six weeks after the closing of Rockville’s American Tap Room, a new restaurant has leased the space with plans to open this summer. Pandora Seafood Restaurant and Bar is a new venture from the owners of China Garden, a longtime fixture in Rosslyn, VA, that’s known for hosting large events. China Garden recently announced plans to close at the end of July, just when this new restaurant is expected to open.



Catering at Duck Donuts:





Goodbye Ten Thousand Villages

Ten Thousand Villages, which sells crafts made by artisans in developing countries, will close its Bethesda and Rockville stores this spring. The company is trimming down “in response to a changing retail environment,” says spokesman Juanita Fox, but will continue to operate stores in Baltimore and Old Town Alexandria. The 11-year-old location at Rockville Town Square is scheduled to exit March 25, followed shortly afterwards by the Bethesda store on Elm Street. If you’re a fan of Ten Thousand Villages and its global mission, you can still shop the website by clicking here.



Tips on Trips & Camps Summer Opportunities Fair:




Silver Moon Valentine's Day jewelry 2017


Valentine’s Day gifts at Silver Moon

Valentine’s Day is approaching fast, and the Silver Moon gift shop at Congressional Plaza (formerly known as Tiara) is brimming with heart-shaped jewelry from Pandora. Shown here: sterling silver earring and necklace set for $125; pavé heart bracelet with love charm and silver clips for $195; and the “Love Struck” charm gift set for $65. All three come complete with lovely red gift boxes. Silver Moon Jewelry & Accessories, Congressional Plaza, 1659 Rockville Pike. Call 301-468-1122 or visit





Westfield Montgomery Mall


More post-holiday closings at the mall

More closings to report this week at Westfield Montgomery Mall, where January always brings a slew of departures but this year was particularly rough. Best Buy Mobile and Wetzel’s Pretzels are the latest tenants to leave, joining a list that now includes Naples Ristorante, The Limited, Peet’s Coffee, R. Riveter, Smart Toys, American Classic Clothes and Freddy. American Apparel, which recently declared bankruptcy, is also on its way out. But February will bring some fresh tenants into the mix, with Lucky Strike Social and Nespresso both expected to open in the next few weeks. For details on all the recent closings, catch up on our past issues at



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Cabin John Shopping Center


Changes ahead for Cabin John

Cabin John Shopping Center & Mall has a new owner for the first time in its 48-year history. Carl M. Freeman Cos., which developed the center in the 1960s and ’70s, has sold it for $165 million to Edens, a national firm with extensive holdings in the D.C. area. The likely result: a new look and hopefully some new tenants to fill the center’s empty spaces. Stay tuned for more after the holidays.



Silver Moon Jewelry & Accessories




Coming Soon signs for Gringos & Mariachis and Addie's at Park Potomac


Park Potomac restaurants: Who’s opening when?

Restaurant construction has been moving along s-l-o-w-l-y at Park Potomac, where two new eateries that were supposed to arrive before the holidays have been delayed until next year. Filicori Zecchini, the Italian coffee house and cafe, is now looking to open in January or February. Gringos & Mariachis, a Mexican concept from the owners of Bethesda’s Olazzo, is tentatively set for March. And Addie’s, the new incarnation of the beloved Rockville Pike restaurant, should follow sometime this spring.



Wintergreen Plaza:



Jerry's Subs & Pizza logo


Goodbye Jerry’s and The Limited

If you were planning to order takeout from Jerry’s Subs & Pizza this winter, you’re out of luck: The restaurant closed its doors inside Cabin John Mall at the end of last week. And we’ll soon say goodbye to The Limited at Westfield Montgomery Mall. The retailer is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and our local store is expected to close shortly after Christmas.



Store Reporter Holiday Gift Pick


The gold standard at Kaufmann Jewelers

The gift of gold is always welcome, and Kaufmann Jewelers at Park Potomac has some great selections in stock for the holidays. The store carries gifts in every price range (including some lovely pieces under $100) as well as custom designs by third-generation jeweler Corey Kaufmann, who runs the business with father George. Shown here: a cable-chain ring for $225 (or $295 with pavé diamonds) and a triple-band ring with two-tone gold for $750. Kaufmann Jewelers, 12500 Park Potomac Ave., #107-S, open through 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Call 301-978-7778 or click here.







Stocking stuffers from The Container Store

When we’re in a holiday rush, we always count on The Container Store for last-minute gifts. We tested a box of stocking stuffers and chose our favorites. The U-Dock by Umbra (currently on sale for $8.99) is a sturdy tablet holder with a minimalist design that collapses flat for easy storage. The Scoop That ($19.99) uses your hand’s own body heat to dish out some Ben & Jerry’s in a hurry. And then there’s the Chipolo Item Finder ($24.99), which uses your phone to find your keys or your keys to find your phone. Every year we try these “find-your-keys” gadgets in search of one that works. This year, for the first time, we were not disappointed. Click here to check it out.






We’re taking a winter break

This is the last issue of Store Reporter for 2016. We’ll be back in January with news about who’s coming, who’s going, and which stores and restaurants didn’t make it through the holidays. (In case you missed last week’s issue: Rockville’s American Tap Room is already out, and Timpano is closing on New Year’s Eve.) Want to find out what else you might have missed? While we’re taking a winter break, catch up on back issues at



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Timpano on Rockville Pike


Timpano closes, Sports Authority space is filled

The new year will bring some big changes to the Montrose Crossing shopping center on Rockville Pike. Timpano Italian Chophouse, a fixture in the area for more than two decades, is exiting to make room for some new fast-casual eateries. Timpano will close on New Year’s Eve, with demolition to follow shortly afterwards. Meanwhile, the former Sports Authority space didn’t stay empty for long: Value City Furniture, an Ohio-based chain with a growing presence in Maryland, is now under construction with plans to open early next year. For a look at the company’s merchandise, click here.



Duck Donuts now open in Gaithersburg and Rockville




American Tap Room at Rockville Town Square


American Tap Room taps out

American Tap Room closed its doors over the weekend at Rockville Town Square, joining a growing list of restaurant casualties that now includes Oro Pomodoro, Cosi, Pho & Rolls, Carbon Peruvian Chicken and 82 Steak Out in just the past two years. Execs at American Tap Room say the Rockville location was owned by a franchisee, and its closing won’t affect their other restaurants. Federal Realty, which owns Rockville Town Square, says it already has a new tenant in place but can’t share the name yet. Stay tuned to Store Reporter for more.



Kaufmann Jewelers at Park Potomac:




Kneipp bath oil set


German bath and body store opens at the mall

Kneipp, the newest addition at Westfield Montgomery Mall, opens its doors tomorrow (12/16) on the second level near Godiva. This is one of eight new retail stores for the German company (pronounced K-nay-p), which makes plant-based, preservative-free products for bath, body and skin care. “Until now, these products have only been available in the U.S. at little spas and apothecaries,” says regional manager Valerie Curcione. “But the customers who have found this brand are incredibly loyal to it.” For more on Kneipp and its founder, a 19th century pioneer of natural medicines, click here.



stencil-holiday-gift-pick-banner-narrow-whitePandora charms and earrings at Silver Moon, Congressional Plaza


Pandora jewelry at Silver Moon

The Pandora jewelry line is a perennial favorite, and Silver Moon at Congressional Plaza is a great place to shop the whole collection. The Poinsettia charm on the left, adorned with red pavé cubic zirconia, is available in limited quantities this season and priced at $75. Also popular is Pandora’s new Vintage Allure line, featuring sterling silver and pavé cubic zirconia in a striking geometric design. Silver Moon carries a Vintage Allure necklace-and-earring set for $150 and a matching bracelet in a decorative case for $195. See these pieces in person at Silver Moon Jewelry & Accessories, 1659 Rockville Pike. For details, call 301-468-1122 or click here.




stencil-holiday-gift-pick-banner-narrow-whiteLulu DK jewelry at As Kindred Spirits:


A charmed gift at As Kindred Spirits

As Kindred Spirits, now open next to Nordstrom in the lower level of Westfield Montgomery Mall, is a great source for gifts that are both special and unexpected. Take this new line of gold Lulu DK charm necklaces, priced from $68 and up, with hidden messages of love, peace, faith and sisterhood. The hidden part? The charms are etched with decorative markings that reveal their messages only when spun. (Note that Westfield Montgomery Mall is now the only place to find As Kindred Spirits, which has closed its other locations at Congressional Plaza and Reagan Airport.) As Kindred Spirits, Westfield Montgomery Mall, on the lower level next to Nordstrom. For details, call 301-365-1008 or click here.




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Platter from Honeyfish Poke


Two new restaurants for Congressional Plaza

The dining scene at Congressional Plaza is looking way up for 2017. Modern Market, the scratch-made chain from Colorado that’s been earning raves in downtown Bethesda, opened its doors this week next to Chopt. And the center just landed Honeyfish Poke, a West Coast chain featuring Hawaiian-style bowls of raw fish with fresh toppings and Asian sauces. Honeyfish Poke is set for a spring opening a few doors down from Starbucks, near Congressional’s new outdoor seating area. To check out the menu, click here.



Silver Moon Jewelry & Accessories:






Starbucks goes Venti in Potomac Village

Starbucks in Potomac Village is finally nearing the end of a major expansion that has annoyed its customers for months. The tiny store, which never had enough space to meet the demands of its latte-loving neighborhood, will kick off 2017 with more coffee machines, more baristas and lot more seating. The extra room is coming from a frame shop that closed next door; employees say the work should be done before Christmas.



The Bottle Shop Annual Customer Holiday Show:






Who won our biggest raffle ever?

Congratulations to the winners of our latest raffle, featuring fabulous gifts from vendors at the Washington Hebrew Congregation Sisterhood Holiday Boutique & Silent Auction. Here’s a list of who won what:

  • Rori Malech won a PJ Salvage sweater from Barbie B (
  • Michèle Morgan won a pair of workout leggings from LavaLoka (
  • Amy Stolker won a zirconia necklace from Artfully Designed Jewelry (click for more).
  • Betsy Fader Goldstein won a choker necklace from Gemini Jewelry (click for more).
  • Leela Berman won a photo canvas from Photos by Freddi (
  • Michael Reiser won a bottle of vintage vinegar from All things Olive (
  • Meredith Wernick won a $25 gift certificate from Bows Etc. (
  • Karla Rosenfeld Azachi won a pair of girls’ leggings from Shop Marti (
  • Greg Overcamp won a $50 certificate for kids’ clothing from Blue Elephant (





Something dazzling from Kaufman Jewelers

If you’re looking for a gift that really dazzles, Kaufmann Jewelers at Park Potomac is the place to go for gorgeous custom jewelry. Take this stunning 18-karat gold ring with oval tanzanite and diamonds. Not quite what you’re looking for? Third-generation jeweler Corey Kaufman can design something special or find a piece that fits your budget, from diamond and gold jewelry priced in the thousands to silver and gemstone rings, bracelets and earrings for less than $100. Kaufmann Jewelers, 12500 Park Potomac Ave., #107S, 301-978-7778. For more info, click here.





Something sparkly from JT Interiors

The holiday sparkle is in full swing at JT Interiors in Potomac Village, where you’ll find shimmering gifts around just about every corner. We love the tabletop glitter trees ($62 for a set of two), the gold and silver glitter wreath ($70) and the mercury glass lamp ($128), all shown here. The gold leaf tray makes a great hostess gift at $17, as do the candles and illuminaries priced from $10 and up. Visit JT Interiors at 9906 River Road, call 301-299-0485 or click here for details.








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Store Reporter raffle items


Kicking off the holidays with our biggest raffle ever

This week we’re kicking off gift-giving season with a bounty of fabulous raffle items from vendors at the Washington Hebrew Congregation Sisterhood Holiday Boutique & Silent Auction, opening Sunday Dec. 4 and continuing through Tuesday Dec. 6 at the Julia Bindeman Suburban Center in Potomac. Here are some of the gifts you can win:

There are three ways to put your name in our hat: 1) Click here to enter online. 2) Click here to enter via the Store Reporter Facebook page. 3) Visit the boutique show, stop by the Store Reporter table and fill out an entry form. We’ll announce the winners next week.





WHC Sisterhood Holiday Boutique:




Wine glasses and holiday decorations


Cocktail party at Nordstrom

Tonight (Dec. 1) is the night for Westfield Montgomery‘s holiday kickoff party at Nordstrom Court. What’s on the menu? Cocktail bites from various Westfield Montgomery restaurants, whimsical entertainment… and from what we hear, some surprises that will be worth your while. The party is happening from 6 to 8 p.m.; there’s a $10 suggested donation to benefit Care for Kids at Children’s National Medical Center. Complimentary valet provided (please park by Tara Thai). Purchase tickets at the door or click here to RSVP.





JT Interiors Ladies Day:




Apple Store at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Apple’s back… and we’re a little disappointed

The newly renovated Apple store reopened just before Thanksgiving at Westfield Montgomery Mall. If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s no need to rush: Frankly, we think the new design is a bit of a snooze. It’s bigger, of course, and just as white and minimalist as you’d imagine. But it seems we missed out on the some of the cooler features that Apple has been adding to its stores in other other cities. There’s no Genius Grove with live trees. No boardroom for private meetings. No designated area for the creative sessions and live concerts that Apple has been planning at other locations. Of course we’re happy to have Apple back. But this new store just doesn’t have the “wow” we were hoping for.



The Bottle Shop Annual Customer Holiday Show:




Orangetheory Fitness


Orangetheory opens next week

Orangetheory Fitness makes its debut at Park Potomac next week, just across the street from MoCo’s Founding Farmers. This is the second Montgomery County location for the Florida-based fitness chain, which offers heart rate-monitored group workouts with intervals of cardio and strength training. Grand opening party is Dec. 8th from 6 to 8 p.m — with orange crushes to drink, of course. Click here for more.



R. Riveter




Store Reporter Holiday Gift Pick

Alex and Ani bracelet at Silver Moon


Free Alex & Ani bracelet at Congressional’s Silver Moon

Alex and Ani is a name you’ll see on plenty of teens’ wish lists this year. The stackable bangle charm bracelets, priced from just $28, are made in the U.S. from recycled materials with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. This weekend (Friday Dec. 2 through Sunday Dec. 4), Silver Moon Jewelry & Accessories is giving away a Peace & Love bangle with every $75 Alex and Ani purchase. Stop in to see the collection at Silver Moon, 1659 Rockville Pike in Congressional Plaza. For details, call 301-468-1122 or click here.





Store Reporter Holiday Gift Pick

O'Donnell's Market gift cards


For your foodie friends: O’Donnell’s Market gift cards

If you’re already a fan of O’Donnell’s Market — or if you haven’t checked it out yet — December is a great time to treat yourself and your friends. Through the end of this month, purchase $100 worth of O’Donnell’s gift cards and get a $20 card of your own. What to try? For first-timers, owner Bill Edelblut recommends the cocktail shrimp, organic salmon, sushi-grade tuna, grass-fed beef tenderloin and signature crab cakes. The holiday tarts and rum buns also make great hostess gifts. Click here, call 301-251-6355 or visit O’Donnell’s Market, 1073 Seven Locks Road next Walgreens at Potomac Woods Plaza.






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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.



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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.



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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.



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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



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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



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Fish Taco platters


Fish Taco is almost ready

If you’ve been waiting for the opening of Fish Taco at the Wildwood Shopping Center, the time is almost here: Owner Francis Namin says he hopes to be in business by early March. This will be the second location for Fish Taco, whose first restaurant on Macarthur Boulevard has been hugely popular since it opened in 2013. Namin, who also owns Food Wine & Co. in downtown Bethesda, says a third Fish Taco will open shortly afterwards in that area. To hear his description of the Wildwood restaurant, click here for our Oct. 8 edition.



Woodhouse Day Spa scrub


New spa in North Bethesda

Woodhouse Day Spa is planning a late February opening at North Bethesda Market on Rockville Pike, where it will target the health-conscious customer base from neighboring Whole Foods and Seasons 52. This will be the first Maryland location for Woodhouse, a Texas-based chain with a presence in 18 states. The spa menu includes facials, massage, mani/pedis and lavish skin treatments like the Wild Lavender and Seaweed Sugar Glow shown here. For more on Woodhouse, click here.



Chouquette Chocolates



Tea-Do bubble teas


New place for bubble tea

A new bubble tea shop opened on Rockville Pike this week, in the former home of Yocake across from Wintergreen Plaza. Tea-Do, which has another location in Philadelphia, features a menu of light Japanese food as well as smoothies, specialty coffees and custom drinks with ingredients like lychee jelly, aloe, red guava, kumquat and Thai coconut. Yocake, a small family-run chain that specialized in cake and ice cream mash-ups, went out of business last summer.



Wills Decorating



Girls playing dress-up


Tell us about your family’s favorites — and win FREE ArcLight tickets

For our upcoming Store Reporter Kids Issue, we’re asking readers to help us choose the best kid-friendly businesses in the greater Rockville/Potomac area. We want to hear about your favorite restaurants, toy stores, children’s clothing stores, after-school classes… all the local places that you and your kids enjoy. Send us your suggestions, and we’ll also enter you into this month’s drawing for FREE tickets to the ArcLight Cinema! To post your comments on our Facebook page, click here. To email them to us directly, click here. Update: We’ve already named the winners for this contest, but stay tuned to Store Reporter for more great giveaways.



Lululemon striped pants


On the Lululemon beat

Haven’t read anything interesting about Lululemon in awhile? We’re on it. In The New York Times this week, company founder Chip Wilson offers his views on punctuality, the Landmark leadership program, and also that time in 2013 when he blamed women’s thighs for those transparent Lululemon yoga pants. Wilson is no longer running Lululemon. But his family has a new clothing chain, Kit and Ace, that opened a store in downtown Bethesda last November. To hear what he has to say, click here.



Target CVS pharmacy


CVS starts Target takeover

This week CVS began its takeover of the pharmacy departments at Target stores nationwide. By the end of this summer, our local Targets will be sporting CVS signage (conveniently red, just like the Target logo) and staffed by CVS employees. If you’ve ever been stuck in that ridiculously long line at a CVS pharmacy — particularly the one at Cabin John Shopping Center — this may not necessarily be good news.


Peapod by Giant


Peapod pickup on the Metro

This week Peapod by Giant started testing a grocery delivery service at three D.C.-area Metro stations: Fort Totten, Glenmont and Vienna. Shoppers can order their groceries online, then pick them up as they exit the Metro between 4 and 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. The three participating stations have lockers to store the groceries and staffers available to help shoppers to their cars. If things go well with this six-month test, more stations will be added to the program.


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.


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Benny's lighted sign_opt


Irish restaurant hopes to open by St. Patrick’s Day

Lahinch, the new restaurant moving into the Benny’s Bar & Grill space at Cabin John Shopping Center, will not be opening next month as originally planned. Owners Barry Nolan and Chris Hughes say they’re still finalizing their lease, with tentative plans to take over the space on New Year’s Day and open around the end of February. Lahinch, named after a famous golf course in Ireland, will offer a mix of locally sourced American-style dishes and traditional Irish entrées like lamb stew, fish-‘n-chips and corned beef with cabbage. Hughes knows his way around an Irish menu: He opened the Irish Inn at Glen Echo 12 years ago, and before that he ran the Four Provinces pubs in D.C. and Falls Church.



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Rockville bakery is fresh out of the oven

Just a few weeks after its opening in downtown Rockville, Lavande Patisserie on North Washington Street is already earning kudos from our readers. The tiny bakery is aiming to be “that neighborhood place where you can always pop in for hand-crafted baked goods and the best coffee you’ve ever had,” says co-owner Andrew Liang, who left an IT career to start the business with mom Julie Yi. Lavande specializes in custom cakes, seasonal breads, sandwiches and desserts; coffees are nitro-brewed and can be infused with the bakery’s signature lavender flavor. Most ingredients are either locally sourced or imported from Europe, like the croissants made from French flour and Valrhona chocolate batons. You can find Lavande at 275 North Washington Street, a few blocks north of Rockville Town Square, in a newly opened shopping center whose other tenants include Kung Fu Tea and Quickway Hibachi. Click here to check out the bakery’s Facebook page.



Free Megaformer classes at Sculpt Studio

Sculpt Studio rectangle_opt-2 If you’re thinking about changing up your workout for the new year, Sculpt Studio in downtown Bethesda is offering one free class for new clients between now and Dec. 31. Sculpt is a brightly lit, friendly studio owned by Bethesda local Mary Farber, a longtime Pilates teacher whom some may remember from Life Time Athletic in Rockville. Her studio follows the Lagree Fitness Method, a 50-minute core workout using Pilates-based Megaformer machines that involve every major muscle group. Sculpt Studio is located in the Bethesda Triangle at 4900 Auburn Ave., with easy parking nearby. To book a class, call (240) 600-0730 or click here.




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Cava opens in Olney

Cava Mezze, the restaurant chain that got its start on Traville Gateway Drive almost a decade ago, opens its fifth location today (12/17) in Olney at 3122 Olney Sandy Spring Road. The new place features a 20-seat bar with a focus on D.C.-area breweries and quirky cocktails like the Rabbit Hole, made with fresh juiced carrots, apple, ginger and bourbon. The restaurant also will highlight some exclusive menu items from chef/owner Dimitri Moshovitis, including a pork souvlaki entrée with orange herb gremolata. Cava Mezze is the big sister to the quick-serve and fast-expanding Cava Grill chain, as well as Sugo at Park Potomac and Brusco in Baltimore. For more on Cava Mezze, click here.



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Last chance to redeem our holiday coupons

This is the last week to take advantage of the deals and discounts in our holiday gift issue. Inside you’ll find special pricing on local restaurants like River Falls Tavern and Wildwood Kitchen; local stores like The Bottle Shop, On Cloud 9, Leila Jewels and Ibhana Boutique; jewelry from Valerie Nahmani Designs; teen decor from Dormify; original artwork and more. The discounts are good through Dec. 24. Click here to check them out.



The Galvan

New Safeway opens on the Pike

The Galvan at Twinbrook project took a step forward last week with the opening of its first tenant, a 62,000-square-foot Safeway store along Rockville Pike near the Twinbrook Metro station. Other businesses scheduled to open soon include Smashburger, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, Dunkin’ Donuts, a Pie 360 pizza restaurant and Floyd’s 99 Barbershop. And the Ethan Allen Design Center, which once stood at that spot, will be moving back after two years at a temporary location elsewhere on the Pike.


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.

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O'Donnell's Market seafood case


Seafood market opens at Potomac Woods Plaza

After six months of renovations to the former Little Gym space at Potomac Woods PlazaO’Donnell’s Market opened its doors this week with a promising selection of fresh fish, seafood and baked goods. The store was just beginning to stock up when we stopped by on Wednesday, but owner Bill Edelblut says he’ll soon be adding a salad bar, grab-and-go items and a full-service bakery. O’Donnell’s isn’t cheap: Much of the seafood is priced around $25 a pound, and crab cakes are $10 apiece. But we were impressed with the super-fresh flounder, one of the more economical choices at $13.50 per pound. Edelblut has a long history in the seafood industry; his family owned the venerable O’Donnell’s Sea Grill restaurant chain, which closed its last remaining location at The Kentlands two years ago.


B Bop Q beef bowl regular2


Korean BBQ at the mall

B/Bop/Q, a new Korean fusion restaurant, opened at Westfield Montgomery Mall last week in the corridor adjacent to the Dining Terrace. The concept is based on Korean bibimbap, but also similar to the Chipotle spinoff ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen. Diners move along a serving line as they start with rice or noodles, add a protein, then customize their dishes with fresh vegetables and sauces. Also on the menu: tacos, wraps, dumplings and Korean-style chicken wings. B/Bop/Q is the brainchild of Ken Choi, a food industry veteran who operates cafes for NASA, the American Red Cross, the Library of Congress and other local institutions. He hopes this will be the start of a national Korean fusion chain, with four more locations already planned for the West Coast. B/Bop/Q is the second Asian restaurant to open at Westfield Montgomery Mall in the past month, following the November debut of neighboring Shanghai Bao Kitchen. Next up, after the holidays, is Tara Thai.



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Dormify whites


Great ideas, deals and discounts in our holiday gift issue

Have you had a chance to read our fabulous holiday gift issue? Inside you’ll find great ideas and deals for local stores like On Cloud 9Leila Jewels and Ibhana Boutique; special pricing on gift cards for River Falls Tavern and Wildwood Kitchen; discounts for teen decor from Dormify and jewelry from Valerie Nahmani Designs; original artwork, personalized kids’ books and much more. The deals are good through Dec. 24. Click here to check them out.



Tasting party this Saturday at The Bottle Shop

The Bottle Shop storefrontIt’s going to be a busy weekend at Potomac Woods Plaza: In addition to the opening of O’Donnell’s Market (see story above), The Bottle Shop has a year-end tasting event this Saturday (Dec. 12) from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. with door prizes plus wine and beer reps pouring premium selections for the holidays. There will be wine from The Country Vintner, Opici and Constantine among others, along with beer from DuClaw, Flying Dog and Jailbreak Brewing. There’s no obligation to make a purchase — but if you do, everything will be 15% off. You can find The Bottle Shop at 250 Fortune Terrace, Suite 102, near Seven Locks Barber. For more information, call (301) 738-WINE (9463) or click here.




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Core decorate jacket

Core launches pop-up gallery at the mall

Core, the progressive streetwear store that opened last winter at Westfield Montgomery Mall, will launch a holiday pop-up gallery this weekend with works by artist Shaun Outen. The Virginia native and part-time model is known for his painted denim and leather, some of which has been carried at the Manhattan boutique of famed “Sex and the City” designer Patricia Field. Outen is creating an art installation for Core, and he’ll be on hand this Saturday (Dec. 12) for an opening party from 2:00-8:00 p.m. You can find Core on the mall’s second floor, in the Macy’s Home Store wing next to UA Salon. For details, call the store at 301-365-1265.




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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.

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Holiday gifts, deals and discounts

Blue present boxWelcome to our special advertorial holiday gift issue, where you’ll find our picks for some of the best gifts from local businesses, working artists and other stuff we love. We also have great deals and discounts to make the most of your holiday budget. Feel free to forward to friends and family who can use the discounts… or the hints.





Pirasta NYC coloring book


Giant coloring gifts at Leila

Coloring books for adults and families are a big trend this year — and it doesn’t get any bigger than these giant coloring posters from Pirasta, $40 including a box of markers at Leila Fine Gifts & Jewels. Leila also sells Posh coloring books by Sterling Publishers ($13) with markers or colored pencils for a few dollars more. “Coloring is better than therapy,” says store owner Deb Shalom. “Just light a fire, put on some good music, get some hot chocolate or a glass of wine, and enjoy! The books are great on a winter weekend afternoon, or spread one of the posters out on the floor and let everyone go at it after a holiday dinner.” Not into coloring? Leila has plenty of other gifts for everyone on your list — including jewelry, Judaica and beautiful housewares. Leila Fine Gifts & Jewels, next to Dunkin’ Donuts at Cabin John Shopping Center, 7737 Tuckerman Lane, Potomac. Call (301) 299-5675 or click here for more.


Leila Jewels 2015 holiday coupon 1200



River Falls Tavern corn dish


 A premium restaurant gift card

Everyone loves to receive dinner at a fabulous restaurant. Here’s one gift card that offers nearly a dozen places to choose from. RW Restaurant Group, headed by chef Robert Wiedmaier, sells flexible gift cards that work for almost all of the company’s restaurants: Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck in D.C.; River Falls Tavern in Potomac Village; Boulevard Tavern in The Kentlands; Wildwood Kitchen, Urban Heights and Villain & Saint in Bethesda; and three locations for Mussel Bar & Grill. Pick up a certificate at a restaurant near you — or click here to order online — and let your recipient do the choosing.


RW Restaurant Group 2015 holiday coupon for web



Ibhana paisley scarves wide shot


Gorgeous silk scarves from Ibhana Boutique

For a woman looking to dress up a work wardrobe or add some flair to a simple black top, you can’t go wrong with these paisley silk scarves from Ibhana Boutique. Made in India and measuring a generous 66 inches in length, they’re available in a rainbow of colors: red, turquoise, purple, pink, beige and grey. The scarves normally sell for $35, but Store Reporter readers pay just $25 while supplies last. Ibhana, which opened last August, specializes in wrinkle-free, washable and travel-friendly clothing and accessories from designers like Damee, Fridaze, Joanel, Joseph Ribkoff, Lior and Lipault. Ibhana Boutique, Potomac Woods Plaza, 1079 Seven Locks Road. For more information, call (301) 424-0906 or click here.


 Ibhana Boutique holiday coupon



On Cloud 9 emoji pillows


Express your emojis at On Cloud 9

Emoji pillows are a must-have for many girls and teens this season — and the ones at On Cloud 9 are soft enough for sleeping as well as room decor. (Hint: They also do double duty as both a holiday gift and pillow for visiting friends and cousins.) The store has a variety of emoji pillows, including holiday themes and light-up styles, with prices starting at $20. Shop On Cloud 9 for these and other stylish gifts for babies, girls, teens and women. On Cloud 9, Potomac Woods Plaza, 1085 Seven Locks Road. For more information, call (301) 251-1331 or click here.


On Cloud 9 holiday coupon



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Holiday deals at The Bottle Shop

The Bottle Shop at Potomac Woods Plaza can help you find the right libation for every occasion. The store carries wine, craft beer, olive oil and chocolates, with an expert staff that can guide you toward premium selections or great deals like this $17 bottle of Carignan. On Saturday, Dec. 12 from 2-5 p.m., The Bottle Shop will host a special year-end tasting event with door prizes plus wine and beer reps pouring premium selections for the holidays. There’s no obligation to make a purchase — but if you do, everything will be 15% off. The Bottle Shop at Potomac Woods Plaza, 250 Fortune Terrace, Suite 102 in Rockville. For more information, call (301) 738-WINE (9463) or click here.


The Bottle Shop 2015 holiday coupon for web



Fitness Together Female Trainer-3


Three personal training sessions for $99

After weeks of holiday parties — and the extra pounds that come with them — couldn’t we all use a little help getting back on track? Fitness Together offers an introductory package of three personal training sessions for just $99. Clients receive metabolic testing, nutrition and weight loss coaching, heart rate zone training and more in the company’s private studios. “We see a lot of people who spend an hour and a half at the gym and they don’t get results,” says co-owner Rick Coe, who runs Fitness Together with wife Robin. “When you have a coach and accountability mechanisms, you’re going to change that dynamic.” Fitness Together, 6708 Wisconsin Avenue above Staples in Bethesda, or 12189 Darnestown Road in Gaithersburg’s Shops of Potomac Valley. For more information, call (301) 219-0094 or click here.


Fitness Together 2015 holiday coupon 1200



Dormify whites


Fabulous teen decor at Dormify

The teen retailer Dormify has offices in New York, but its roots are in Potomac: It was founded in 2011 when Churchill mom Karen Zuckerman was struck by the lack of stylish options for decorating her daughter’s dorm room. Four years later, Zuckerman and daughter Amanda have turned Dormify into a nationally known website for trendy decor that appeals to teens of all ages. We tested a few of this seasons’s selections and picked some that would work for almost any girl: the cuddly Essentials Throw Blanket and Faux Mongolian Pillow ($49 and $36); the initial-shaped marquee lights ($30); and various accessories with our new favorite slogan: “Namast’ay in bed.” Another popular item this year is the inflatable travel HoodiePillow seen on Shark Tank. Dormify’s holiday sale is going on now, with some items as much as 70 percent off. To shop the site, click here.


Dormify 2015 holiday coupon for web



Valerie Nahmani triple ring


Something sparkly from Valerie Nahmani Designs

Druzy jewelry is on the wish list for many women this year, and Bethesda-based Valerie Nahmani Designs has some gorgeous examples to choose from. The designer, a Potomac native, says her typical customer is a busy mom who wants pieces that are equally at home on the beach or at a cocktail party. Necklaces, rings and bracelets range from $95 to the mid-$300s, featuring semi-precious stones in 24-karat gold-plated settings. See the pieces in person at the Landon Greens Sale this weekend (Dec. 3-5) or at Bloomingdale’s in Chevy Chase every weekend starting Dec. 11. Through Dec. 24, Store Reporter readers get 15% OFF any order from Valerie Nahmani Designs. To start shopping, click here.


Valerie Nahmani Designs 2015 holiday coupon for web



Michael Mullan New York print 300


Your favorite city in a frame

Is there someone on your gift list who adores New York or San Francisco? Perhaps a Northwestern grad who love Chicago, or a Tulanian with a soft spot for New Orleans? Vermont-based artist Michael Mullan lends his fun, quirky, mid-century sensibility to colorful illustrations of these cities and more, including Seattle, Los Angeles, London and Paris. Mullan also has prints that celebrate beer, cocktails, camping, the Beatles, vintage jazz and other favorite subjects. Most can be purchased in the form of greeting cards, art prints or cheery canvases that will add a pop of color to any wall. Through Dec. 24, Store Reporter readers can get 25% off anything from Mullan’s site ( with the promo code GOODGRAVY. To shop now, click here.


Michael Mullan Illustration 2015 holiday coupon for web



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An original sketch for your little Mousekin

Maggie Smith, a popular children’s book author and illustrator, has an especially delightful holiday book called Christmas with the Mousekins. If you order directly from Smith’s Etsy shop, she’ll include a personalized inscription (“A Merry Mousekin Christmas to the Perry Family!”) plus some hand-drawn mice and snowflakes for decoration. The book is perfect for snuggling on a winter night with poems and stories about picking out the perfect tree, baking cookies for friends and neighbors, welcoming Nana Mousekin and more. And it’s filled with interactive touches that encourage readers to follow the Mousekins’ lead: recipes for baking gingerbread mice, instructions for cutting out paper snowflakes, and other projects that grow increasingly complex as the kids get older. $25 including shipping and personalization; for details, click here.


Maggie Smith 2015 holiday coupon for web



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A month to play at My Gym

A month of classes at My Gym makes a great gift for parents of little ones or a thoughtful gift from a grandparent. There are Tiny Tykes classes for babies and Waddlers for toddlers, all the way up to Cardio Kids for the “older crowd” of 7-to-10-year-olds. Through Dec. 24, Store Reporter readers can get a month-long My Gym special for $99 including four classes, unlimited free play sessions, lifetime membership and a “swag bag.” Classes must begin by March 31st at My Gym Potomac (Cabin John Mall at 11325 Seven Locks Road) or My Gym Bethesda (5110 Ridgefield Road). For My Gym Potomac, call (301) 983-5300 or click here. For My Gym Bethesda, call (301) 652-2820 or click here.


My Gym 2015 holiday coupon for web



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The Container Store — when you need a gift quick

If you’re really in a jam for last-minute gifts, The Container Store on Rockville Pike is always good for stocking stuffers that work for just about anyone. We tested some selections from this year’s batch, and it just so happens that two of our favorites have to do with beverages. The Portable Wine Glass ($11.99) features an incredibly clever design that stores the stem in the bowl for easy travel, then assembles instantly via built-in magnets. And the S’well Water Bottle ($34.99) is prettier than most, with a leak-proof top and a promise to keep your liquid hot for 12 hours or cold for 24. (The wine glass goes in the dishwasher but the water bottle, alas, does not.) Shop these and other stocking stuffers at The Container Store in Congressional Plaza, 1601 Rockville Pike, or shop online by clicking here.


The Container Store 2015 holiday coupon for web


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.


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Fish Taco on the way to Wildwood

Fish Taco, the homey Mexican restaurant from the owners of Bethesda’s Food Wine & Co., is heaFish Taco tacosding our way with a new location in the Shops at Wildwood. Like its sister restaurant on MacArthur Boulevard, the new Fish Taco will offer a gourmet twist on the usual Mexican fare of tacos, quesadillas, burritos and chopped salads. Doors are set to open this fall next to Chop’t, in the space that once housed the home furnishings store Pierre Doux.




As Kindred Spirits opens — with 15% OFF

As Kindred Spirits, the popular gift shop at Congressional Plaza on Rockville Pike, will open a new location August 1 at Westfield MAs Kindred Spirits airplane clockontgomery Mall — taking over the former Aveda space on the upper level near Godiva. “We started many years ago with a kiosk at that mall, so things have really come full circle for us,” says owner Wendy Rukmini Walker, who also has a store at Reagan National Airport. As Kindred Spirits specializes in home decor, jewelry and art-to-wear “from unique artists that could never be represented in a department store,” Walker says. “We use our profits to help with fair trade, women’s initiatives and other projects around the world.” Want to check it out for yourself? Store Reporter readers get 15% OFF from August 1-9. Click here for a coupon you can show on your phone.



Alex and Ani heading to the mall

Heading to WestfielAlex and Ani bangle braceletsd Montgomery Mall this fall: Alex and Ani, the white-hot jewelry chain known for its stackable bangle charm bracelets and its mission to “spread positive energy.” Made in the U.S. from recycled materials, with prices starting at $28, the eco-conscious line also includes fan jewelry for sports teams, the armed forces, various universities and the Disney parks. Alex & Ani will replace the mall’s Things Remembered store, which departed earlier this month.



Win a $75 dinner at Wildwood Kitchen

This month we’re giving away dinner for two at Wildwood Kitchen, in the Shops at Wildwood off Wildwood Kitchen Grilled Vegetable MarinaraDemocracy Boulevard and Old Georgetown Road. Top picks from the menu include Amish Chicken with scallion potato cake and glazed carrots; Heirloom Tomato Salad with basil pasta and burrata; and the summer special shown here: Grilled Vegetable Marinara over pappardelle pasta. Update: Store Reporter reader Sharri Freedman won our $75 gift card for Wildwood Kitchen. To see what contests we have going on currently, click here.



The wrecking ball arrives at White Flint

The wreckWhite Flint Mall with bulldozer 3ing ball finally arrived at White Flint Mall this month as demolition began on the parking garage behind the long-empty property. Plans call for White Flint to be reimagined as an open-air complex of retail, restaurants, apartments and offices. Most of the mall’s tenants have been gone for a year or more, with only Lord & Taylor still in business. Details of the new White Flint are still under wraps… but count on Store Reporter to do some digging this fall.




First look at Not Your Average Joe’s

Last week we got a chance to check out Not Your Average Joe’s, newly open in the former Hamburger HaNYAJ Bethesdamlet space at Georgetown Square Shopping Center. The dishes we sampled were most definitely above average — especially the Chicken Piccata, Ahi Tuna Wontons, Mango Shrimp Summer Rolls and Gluten-Free Carrot Cake. (Not to mention the fresh-baked focaccia bread that’s delicious enough to ruin your appetite.) Next up for the Boston-based chain: Reston and Silver Spring. “The D.C. market is similar to our own area in food preferences,” says executive chef Jeff Tenner. “We think the corridor from Boston down to D.C. is going to be our sweet spot.”



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Addie’s on the Pike to reopen as Helen’s Bar & Grill

D.C. caterer Helen Wasserman is eyeing a July 4 opening for Helen’s Bar & Grill, her new restaurant in the former Addie’s location on Rockville Pike. Addie’s was  the first venture for local restaurateurs Jeff and Barbara Black, who earned a loyal following there from 1995 to 2013. Enter Wasserman, who owned a restaurant in the ’80s and wanted to get back in the business after 35 years of catering. “I live just down the street from Addie’s, and when the location came up I thought it was perfect,” she says. The cenAddie'stury-old building is undergoing a complete makeover, including the transformation of its famous yellow facade to a muted palette of grey, white and plum. The menu will draw on Wasserman’s favorite catering recipes, with a focus on Mediterranean, Asian and southern dishes. “At lunch we’re going to offer a $15  special with entree, salad, dessert and non-alcoholic drinks,” she says. “I want to make sure that it’s not too high-end, because I want people to come back a lot.”


Mother’s Day giveaway: Win this necklace

Store Reporter is teamValerie Nahmani sideways agate necklaceing up with local designer Valerie Nahmani for a Mother’s Day jewelry giveaway. Nahmani’s handmade pieces incorporate gemstones, crystals, gold and silver for beautiful results like this sideways agate necklace, valued at $195. Want a chance to win it? The best way to enter is through Facebook: 1) Like Store Reporter (click here). 2) Like Valerie Nahmani Designs (click here). And 3) Post a comment about the giveaway. If you’re not on Facebook but you’d still like to enter, click here to send us an email. Update: Dana Stewart was the lucky winner of this necklace. Stay tuned for more great contests from Store Reporter.




Amex Plenti program makes its debut

This weeAmerican Express cardk American Express rolled out its new Plenti rewards program, a flexible system that allows shoppers to earn points at one business and spend them at another. So you could, for example, buy gas from Exxon or cell service from AT&T — and then use those points for purchases at Macy’s or Rite Aid. The new program comes in the wake of recent news that Amex and Costco are terminating their longtime partnership. For details of the program and a list of participating merchants, click here for the Plenti website.



The Corned Beef King is finally back

After many months of delays and setbacks, the Corned Beef King food truck finally found its way home this week to the Montgomery Square Copenhaver Swim Club on Falls Road near Montrose. Truck owner Jon Rossler, whose family once owned the Celebrity Delly at Cabin John Shopping Center, signed a deal last December to operate from the swim cluCorned Beef King food truck at Copenhaver Swim Clubb’s parking lot. After he was driven out by neighbors’ complaints, Rossler applied to the county for express permission to operate from that spot. This week he was finally back in business with everything from Reubens to mac-and-cheese plates to matzoh ball soup. (We tried the corned beef and were duly impressed.) Rossler is still working out the schedule for when he’ll be onsite, but it’s likely to be dinner-only Wednesday through Friday with longer hours on weekends.


Cabin John deals and discounts

In case you Baskin Robbins conemissed it last week — or in case you tried to use our link during a temporary technical glitch — we invite you again to check out our Coupons & Giveaways page for great deals, discounts and freebies at the Cabin John Shopping Center & Mall. There  you’ll find offers from Baskin-Robbins, BGR, Broadway Pizza, California Tortilla, My Gym and many more. You’ll also find a special 20 percent-off coupon for Leila Jewels, which is good through May 10. Click here to see them all.



Jenny Camps ad


Reader Favorite: Chloe’s NY Style Deli

Our Reader Favorite section is the perfect place to tell us about that dish you dream about, that dessert you crave, or that go-to gift from your favorite local store.

Ian BandIan Band edited profile photo, a Potomac immigration attorney, is impressed with the newly opened Chloe’s NY Style Deli on the edge of the Dining Terrace at Westfield Montgomery Mall. “I’ve been there twice and had the Reuben and the knish both times,” he says. “Fresh, stacked and delicious. Each sandwich is made to order Chloe's NY Style Deli Reubenwith care. Highly recommended!”

Want to tell us about your favorite local place? Click here.



Sales & Events

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Little Gym out, seafood market in at Potomac Woods

The Little GymBig changes are coming to Potomac Woods Plaza, the Walgreens-anchored shopping center off Montrose and Seven Locks Road. Moving out next week: The Little Gym children’sO'Donnell's Sea Grill fitness center, which is tentatively set to reopen in Gaithersburg. Moving in this fall: A new seafood market from the former owner of the O’Donnell’s Sea Grill restaurant chain. “Along with fresh fish, we’re going to have meats, prepared vegetables, a make-your-own salad bar and a bakery,” says owner Bill Edelblut, whose family opened the first O’Donnell’s in D.C. in 1922 and closed the last one in The Kentlands in 2013. “We’re going to have the same crab cakes we served at the restaurant. And the rum buns — cinnamon sweet rolls that were an O’Donnell’s signature for 90-something years — are coming back.” Edelblut says he hopes this new venture will offer a less punishing schedule than the restaurant business. “Forty years of nights and weekend hours were enough for me,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to open a market.”



Barre Belle

Barre Belle throws in the towel

The Little Gym at Potomac Woods Plaza isn’t the only “little gym” that’s saying goodbye this week. Just around the corner at Park Potomac Place, Barre Belle FitnesBarre Belle Fitness Studios Studio closed its doors on Tuesday after four years in business. Owner Julie Wender, a Bethesda native who was one of the first to teach barre fitness classes in this area, was originally a franchisee of the Go Figure chain. Last year she split with that company and changed the gym’s name and format. Fans are hoping that Wender will turn up again at another local gym.



My Gym Logo

My Gym Potomac and My Gym Bethesda are currently enrolling for spring and summer classes, birthday parties, camps and Parent Nights Out! Check us out with FREE trial classes.

My Gym is honoring all current memberships and missed classes from The Little Gym. Call 301-983-5300 or click here to visit the My Gym website for more details.



Three new eateries ready to open at the mall

NaplesConstruction is nearly complete on three new eateries in the Dining Terrace at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Cold Stone Creamery, Yum Crepes and the Naples Italian restaurant are all expected to open in the next week or two. So is the new Rumi Tea and Spice shop on the lower level near Macy’s. 




Join us this Sunday for special discounts at Leila Jewels

Leila green glass bowlWould you like some Mother’s Day inspiration — plus a chance to talk shop with the Store Reporter? Join us this Sunday, May 3 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. for a special shopping event at Leila Fine Gifts & Jewels in the Cabin John Shopping Center. Say hello to the Store Reporter, enter a jewelry raffle, and take 15 percent off everything you buy — or 25 percent off a single item (like this Badash Crystal bowl, $72) Use the discount for your mom, or buy something for yourself — we won’t tell. And for those who can’t make it on Sunday, click here for our coupon to take 20 percent OFF any item at Leila between now and Mother’s Day.



Cabin John deals, discounts and freebies

Cabin John spring coupon flyerHot off the presses this week: The spring coupon flyer from Cabin John Shopping Center & Mall. Inside you’ll find deals, discounts and freebies for merchants including Baskin-Robbins, B Scene, Breadsmith, Dunkin’ Donuts, Toy Castle, California Tortilla, BGR and more. If you didn’t get one in your mailbox, no worries: We’ve got a link to print your own at home. Click here to find it on our Coupons & Giveaways page.




Sales & Events 


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Happy anniversary to us

This week we’re not just celebrating Valentine’s Day; we’re also marking the beginning of our second year of publication. In the weeks to come, you’ll notice some changes to our format — and some great new features that we think you’re going to love. But we won’t be making any changes to our mission: Bringing you the latest retail and restaurant news for greater Rockville and Potomac.


Opening this week

Two new restaurants joined the Rockville Pike dining scene this week, just in time to capture the crowds for ValentStella Barra Pizzeriaine’s Day. Stella Barra Pizzeria makes its debut tonight (Feb. 12) at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, adjoining the newly opened Summer House Santa Monica. (Click here to see the Stella Barra website.) Ev & Maddy’s, a European-style bistro, is already in business just weeks after taking over the 82 Steak Out space on Gibbs Street at Rockville Town Square. (Click here for more on Ev & Maddy’s). Also opening today is the Bonobos Guideshop at Westfield Montgomery Mall, dedicated to helping men find a well-fitting pair of pants. (Click here for more on Bonobos.)


Gourmet seasonings on tap

If you’re planning to check out the new restaurants at Pike & Rose this Valentine’s weekend, be sure to save a little time for shopping. In addition to chain stores like The Gap, City Sports and Francesca’s, you’ll also find a couple of interesting independent shops. SeasSeasons taproom hand with olive oilons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom carries ultra-premium olive oil sourced from different parts of the world at different times of year. “Our oils come from the southern hemisphere in May and June, and from the northern hemisphere in December, so all year long we have this chain of fresh,” says store owner Timothy Balshi. Prices are surprisingly down to earth, with some bottles selling for less than $10. This is the fourth Seasons store for Balshi, whose family also makes its own line of olive oils in southern Spain. Click here to see his products.


Something special for the younger set

Another charming find at Pike & Rose is Yogaso, a boutique filled with brightly colored kids’ clothing from designYogaso hat displayers all over the world. Owner Alem Beshir, a native of Ethiopia, has modeled her store after the European boutiques she’s admired in her travels. Yogaso is a mash-up of the names of her three kids (who are, we assume, remarkably well-dressed). Merchandise ranges from a $12 toy from Denmark to a $35 shirt from Italy to dresses and coats for more than $100. Beshir says some of her customers are doting grandparents living in nearby apartments. Others are “moms who want to dress their kids different, unique and cool,” she says. “Since I carry only one of each size, they feel comfortable that another kid won’t be wearing the same outfit.” Click here for a look at Yogaso’s merchandise.


Win dinner for two at Asia Nine

Asia NineDowntown Crown, the new Gaithersburg development near Washingtonian Center, also has some great new restaurants to check out this Valentine’s weekend. Among them is Asia Nine, a longtime fixture at D.C.’s Penn Quarter, which recently opened a second location at 254 Crown Park Ave. The menu is a mix of Thai, Chinese and Japanese dishes including sushi, pad thai, hot noodle soups and curries. Want to check it out for yourself? Be our guest: We’re giving away dinner for two at Asia Nine (up to a $60 value). Click here to enter by email (subject line: Asia Nine), or click here  to enter via Facebook; the winner will be chosen at random later this month. And if you’re planning to stop by this weekend, be sure to click here for Asia Nine’s Valentine’s Day specials. Update: Reader Julie Mustelin won this dinner for two. Stay tuned to Store Reporter for more great giveaways.


Win this necklace from Valerie Nahmani Designs

This week we have another special Valentine’s Day giveaway: a heart-shaped druzy necklace from Valerie Nahmani Designs. “Druzies arValerie Nahmani Druzy necklacee known for their healing properties,” says Nahmani, a Potomac native who’s been working with the popular crystals for several years. “No two stones are ever alike, and I think there’s something about them that really makes an outfit.” Click here to check out Nahmani’s jewelry, which is carried locally at Charm, B Scene and Bloomingdale’s. The piece shown here is valued at $130. Want to win it — for your Valentine or for yourself? Click here to enter by email (subject line: druzy heart) or click here to enter via Facebook. We’ll pick a winner by Friday (Feb. 13), so you can have your heart in time for Valentine’s Day. Update: Congratulations to reader Dena Farber Schoenfeld, who won this druzy heart. Stay tuned to Store Reporter for more great giveaways.



Reader Favorite:

Greens + Grains Bowl at Cava Grill

In this issue we’re kicking off a new section about things you love. We call it Store Reporter Reader Favorites. Here’s your chance to tell everyone about tJessica Kramerhat dish you dream about, that dessert you crave, or that go-to gift from your favorite little shop. For Jessica Kramer, a Bethesda therapist, dinner perfection can be found in the Greens + Grains Bowl at Cava Grill ($8.50). “SometimGreens + Grains Bowl at Cava Grilles I’m not in the mood for a total light dish, or I already had a salad for lunch, but with this dish I feel like the healthiness of the salad overrides the rice part,” says Kramer, who likes to top her bowl with falafel and a lemon vinaigrette. “There’s really no topping that doesn’t go well with it,” she says. Want to tell us what you love at a local store or restaurant? Click here.



Sales & Events

  • Stella Barra Pizzeria opens for dinner tonight (Feb. 12) at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda. Click here  to learn more.
  • Bonobos Guideshop, specializing in men’s pants, opens today (Feb. 12)  at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Click here for the Bonobos website.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts reopens Friday (Feb. 13) with a new look at Cabin John Shopping Center in Potomac. Click here for the Dunkin’ Donuts menu.
  • La Madeleine North Bethesda reopens on Feb. 19 in a new location at Pike & Rose. Click here for the menu.
  • Coming soon to the Dining Terrace at Westfield Montgomery MallNapoli 45 Ristorante Pizzeria, Cold Stone Creamery, Yum Crepes and Chloe’s NY Style Deli.
  • We offer affordable advertising opportunities for placement in our Sales & Events Calendar. Click here to inquire.

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Market at River Falls returns on Wednesday

photo 4-9River Falls Market in Potomac Village is set to reopen next Wednesday (Dec. 17) with a slight name change (it’s now The Market at River Falls) and a new husband-and-wife team in charge: James McWhorter, a VP with wholesaler Coastal Sunbelt Produce, and Yasmin Abadian, a realtor with Long & Foster in the Village. (It was the breakup of the market’s previous husband-and-wife owners that led to its closing last October; click here to read that story.) Andrew Malinowski, the market’s longtime head chef, will be back on board for the reopening along with his popular recipes. “We’re going to expand into more organic and plant-based foods,” Abadian says. “But everything that people loved is coming back, including the superior-quality fish, the chicken tenders, the meatballs and of course the crab cakes.” However, River Falls won’t be the only place to find those crab cakes. Read the next item for more.


Dueling crab cakes

Potomac Grocer crabcakes
After the demise of River Falls Market in October, several key staffers quickly found jobs across the street at the recently opened Potomac Grocer (10107 River Road). Among those who made the switch are executive chef Steven Fela; meat and seafood specialist Michael “Junior” Turgott; and most recently, general manager Max Devens. “This area feels like home to me,” says Devens, who spent the intervening months working at the D.C. market Wagshal’s. “Since I’ve come back to Potomac Village, the reception I’ve gotten from customers has made this one of the most heartwarming times of my life.” With the reopening of River Falls, it will be interesting to watch how customer loyalties play out now that so many have switched their business over to Potomac Grocer. They’ve been coming not only for the familiar staff, but also for the familiar recipes — which apparently will now be prepared similarly at both stores.


Chinese food back at Cabin John next week
Chinese lantern

China Gourmet Bistro, the new restaurant moving into the Cabin John Shopping Center, will open for business on Monday, Dec. 15. “We’re going to have a modern Asian menu with the majority Chinese food, but also some Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and Singaporean dishes,” says owner Vivien He, whose family also owns a small Chinese restaurant in Ellicott City. “One of our specialties will be Ramen noodles — not the instant kind — where you can choose different toppings like braised beef, chicken or shrimp.” This will be the third Chinese restaurant to operate from the same space at Cabin John. But this one will offer something that its predecessors didn’t: Delivery.


Corned Beef King looking for a new kingdom

The Corned Beef King is no longer holding court on Falls Road. Last week, right after we reported that the popular food truck had signed a long-term lease to park at the Copenhaver Swim Club, owner Jon RosCorned Beef King food trucksler was forced to move after an unhappy neighbor complained to the county. The news came as a major disappointment to many Store Reporter readers who told us they’ve been driving as far as Olney for one of Rossler’s corned beef sandwiches. Click here for our Dec. 4 report on the Corned Beef King — and stay tuned to Store Reporter to find out where he’ll park next.


Check with us for great gift ideasMicrosoft Band image
Gramophone for iPhone

How are you doing on that holiday shopping list? Not quite done yet? Need some inspiration? Look no further than Store Reporter’s first Holiday Gift Issue, which came out earlier this week. It’s filled with great gift ideas for women, men, teens and kids — all of which can be purchased locally. If you missed the guide in your inbox (or you found it so compelling that you’d like to read it again), click here to see it now.


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Even though Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, we have a feeling you’ve still got some shopping left to do. Looking for ideas and inspiration? Welcome to Store Reporter’s first Special Edition Holiday Gift Issue. We’ve got plenty of both. 


Warm and luxurious

Cottage Monet dress topper 2 For the woman whoCottage Monet dress topper loves a soft touch, The Cottage Monet in Rockville has a cashmere “dress topper” that can be worn in many different ways — as a poncho, as a cowl neck, off the shoulder, or even as a scarf. This is great for frequent travelers, as it can be taken on a plane or into a restaurant, then rolled into a carry-on, hand-washed and laid it out to dry. It’s 100 percent cashmere, priced at $150, and available in 54 colors from blues to greens to pinks to neutrals. “I love the paprika color, but grey has been very strong this year,” says Cottage Monet owner Caya Cagri. “It’s the new neutral.” Find this, as well as other great gifts from Vera Bradley, Vietri, Thymes, Mariposa, Trollbeads and more, at The Cottage Monet in Rockville Town Square, 36 Maryland Ave. Click here to see the store’s Facebook page, click here to get in touch by email, or call 301-279-2422.



Fun and festive

Here’s the perfect gift for your mah jongg maven friends: Six colorful soaps made to look like mah jongg tiles, complete with rank and suit decorations. Perfect for the powder room of Mah Jongg tile guest soapsthe person who’s hosting the game, or wrap them individually as a trinket for everyone in the mahj group. $18.50 at Leila Jewels in the Cabin John Shopping Center, 7737 Tuckerman Lane, Potomac. Leila has plenty of other great hostess gifts priced under $30, from wine stoppers to candy bowls to a wide variety of vases — as well as lovely jewelry and Judaica. Call the store at 301-299-5675 to check availability, or click here to browse Leila’s new website.



The gift of fitness

Do you know someone who will soon be making a New Year’s resolution to get into shape? Perhaps they’d appreciate a package of classes at Barre Belle Studio, an intimate gym at the border of Potomac and Rockville that’s dedicated exclusively to the ballet barre workout. Located at 12500 C Park PotomacBarre Belle Ave. (off I-270 and Montrose Road), Barre Belle offers a warm and inviting atmosphere with limited class sizes that are appropriate for varying levels of fitness. For new clients only, Barre Belle is offering three-class passes for $45 (good for 30 days from first use) and one-month, unlimited-class passes for $150. And for those who might stress about what to wear for their workout: Barre Belle also carries on-trend Onzie Yoga Apparel and Great Soles gripped socks. Update: Barre Belle Studio has closed. Read Store Reporter every week to find out about other local places to get a great workout.




Wearing your heart on your sleeve

Store Reporter has been testing out the Microsoft Band, a fitness tracker/smartwatch that’s expected to be one of this year’s hot gifts at the newly opened Microsoft Store. The $199.99 gadget, which theMicrosoft Band image store gave us to review, can count your steps, monitor your heart rate, navigate your running route, offer a weather forecast and analyze your sleeping patterns. It also promises to integrate with your phone (even the ones from Apple and Samsung), adding the ability to check texts and emails from your wrist. We found that last part to be a challenge, as we weren’t able to maintain consistent connectivity with our iPhone. But as a fitness aide and general window into tracking your everyday health, we also found a lot to like — including a running total of calories burned and guided workouts that buzz your wrist when it’s time to change from squats to lunges. Click here for more information on the Microsoft Band, or check it out in person at the Microsoft Store, Westfield Montgomery Mall, 7101 Democracy Blvd.


inBag Handbag Organizer



Little things that are sure to please

The Stocking Stuffers section of The Container Store is a great place to find easy gifts with universal appeal. We particularly love the in.bag Handbag Organizer ($24.99) which makes it easy to switch your stuff from purse to purse (plus you can add a matching Cosmetic Pouch and Duo Eyeglass Case for $14.99 each). Other winning gifts this year include the fish-shaped Nibbles CableKeep for iPad Charger ($12.99) and the Finger Ring Bumper Case for iPhone ($19.99), which lets you loop your phone around your finger to help prevent drops. We’re also impressed with the Kelvin.23 Multi-Tool ($29.99), which packs a hammer, a measuring tape, a flashlight, a magnet, a level and a 16-bit screwdriver into oKelvin Multi-toolne very compact piece of equipment. Click here to shop Stocking Stuffers at The Container Store online (some are on sale at greatly reduced prices this week), or visit the store in person at Congressional Plaza, 1601 Rockville Pike.







Sounds from the past

In case you haven’t heard, vinyl is back in a big way this year. While sales of CDs and digital music are suffering, vinyl records are continuing a four-year upswing: In fact, last week was the Urban Outfitters record playersecond-highest week for vinyl sales since 1991. If you know an adult who’s still holding onto a favorite record collection — or a teen who’s just starting one — this might be the year to buy a new turntable. You can find them everywhere, from NordGramophone for iPhonestrom to Target to the $98 one shown here at hipster hangout Urban Outfitters. (Click here for details, and click here for our Nov. 6 issue to read more on Urban’s role in the vinyl craze.) And for those who want to turn back the clock even further, we recently spotted the charming Gramophone for iPhone ($199) at Restoration Hardware on Wisconsin Avenue NW. With a solid wood base and a speaker horn that replicates the ones from decades ago, this Gramophone amplifies sound with the power of pure physics — no electricity involved. Click here or stop at a Restoration Hardware store in D.C. or Tysons Corner to check it out for yourself.



For the teens on your list: Something plaid and flannelTarget red flannel shirt

Our Teen Store Reporters tell us that plaid flannel shirts are all the rage at local high schools this year — a look that’s equally popular with guys and girls. Shirts can be worn fitted and close to the body; oversized with a tank top underneath; or simply tied around the waist as an accessory. Choose one with long sleeves that can be rolled up to three-quarter length for a different look. We like the one shown here from Target ($22.99). Click here for details and additional colors.




Nike Elite socks

Happy feet for teens and kids

For sporty kids and teens alike, we hear that Nike Elite socks are on plenty of wish lists this holiday season. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns, they’re warm and comfortable, and in this area they’re popular with both sexes from elementary school to high school. Plus, they’re relatively easy on the wallet. (For example, the pair shown here is $14 from Foot Locker at Westfield Montgomery Mall.)



Battle SheepFor kids (and their parents): Family games you won’t mind playing

Blue Orange and ThinkFun, two innovative companies that make great toys for families to enjoy together, have sent us some of their new games for review this year. One of our top picks is Battle Sheep (about $25), a strategy game that combines elements of chess, Blokus and Settlers of Catan — but with playfully illustrated cartoon sheep that softenSpot It Splash the blow when you get “fenced out.” (Click here for details.) Spot it! is a fast-moving matching game with several new versions this year — including one that’s waterproof and another that teaches the alphabet with characters from Disney’s Frozen. (Even if your kids can’t read yet, don’t assume that means they won’t beat you at this game.) There are more than two dozen different Spot It! games (priced from $9 to $13). We also like Puzzle Battle ($15), a deceptively simple speed-puzzle game for two players (click here for details) and Last Letter ($13), which reminded us of a word game we played with our siblings on family road trips (click here). You can buy all these games online, of course. But we recommend supporting our local toy stores.

Puzzle BattleLast Letter

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Snow news is good news

All the snow this week gave Store Reporter the chance to do some digging. Allow her to shine a little sun on some tucked-away shopping spots you may have missed…


Museum qualityMinistry of Silly Walks Watch, Mansion at Strathmore Gift Shop

You know how you always find the best gifts when you visit the museum shops in D.C.? Well, here’s a little secret: The Mansion at Strathmore has a terrific shop of its own with a well-curated selection of jewelry, textiles, pottery and other gifts — many hand-crafted by local artists. Highlights include brightly patterned mismatched socks; quirky watches like the Monty Python-inspired one shown here; and herbal soaps wrapped in felted wool that shrinks to fit as the soaps get smaller. “Art for your sink,” says shop director Charlene McClelland.


Seder Plate, Leila Fine Gifts & Jewels Jewels and Judaica

Nestled between the restaurants at Cabin John Shopping Center is the tiny shop Leila Fine Gifts & Jewels. Owner Deb Shalom seeks out merchandise that’s “unusual, colorful, fun and different from anything you’d find somewhere else.” The two-year-old store is known for artsy Judaica such as the seder plate pictured here, which like many Leila items is made by a local designer. There’s also a great selection of jewelry and decorative household items, including lovely hostess gifts priced below $20.


Give the kids a break

Westfield Montgomery Mall Family Restroom
If you regularly find yourself at Westfield Montgomery Mall with young kids in tow, this snazzy new “family lounge” in the Sears wing is a hidden gem you’ll definitely want to uncover. Inside you’ll find kid-friendly restrooms, a private area for nursing, and children’s movies playing on a big-screen TV. If quality time with Nemo doesn’t fix things, perhaps some French fries will do the trick: A second family lounge is now under construction near the food court.


Radio Shack: Over and out?

On the heels of a hilarious Super Bowl campaign ad promising to shed its stuck-in-the-’80s image, RadioRadioShack logoShack announced this week that it’s closing 1,100 stores nationwide. The company has not yet released a list of the doomed stores, and staffers at the Cabin John and Rockville Pike locations say they haven’t heard any news so far. But a RadioShack employee at Westfield Montgomery Mall was quite confident that his store won’t be affected. “No way,” he said. “We’re the number one store in the district.”


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