New restaurant heading to Westfield Montgomery
A popular Bethesda restaurant known for its thin-crust pizzas and salads is finalizing plans for a new location at Westfield Montgomery Mall. We can’t reveal the name just yet, but we can tell you that the menu focuses on healthy eating with fresh vegetables, antibiotic-free meats, cauliflower pizza crusts and gluten-free options. Unlike the recently departed Blaze Pizza and Naples Ristorante, this is a locally owned chain that already has a following in our area.
Noodles & Company, Yum Crepes close
Meanwhile, Noodles & Company exited Westfield Montgomery Mall this week along with the short-lived Yum Crepes. Noodles & Company recently announced plans to trim 55 locations; this week’s closings also included the one on Elm Street in downtown Bethesda. The Rockville restaurant at Congressional Plaza remains open, as does the one in Gaithersburg.
Kicks USA, a Philadelphia-based chain specializing in trendy sneakers, will make its Maryland debut this year with a new store at Westfield Montgomery Mall. The retailer will take over two storefronts near Macy’s Home that were previously occupied by Core, which closed this winter, and Voorthuis Opticians, which has relocated to the Nordstrom wing. Kicks sells shoes for men, women and kids, but its marketing is aimed squarely at teen boys who collect and trade the latest editions from Nike, Adidas, Vans and other popular lines. The company publishes a “release date” schedule for each new design, making savvy use of social media and fanboy videos like this one for the latest pair of Air Jordans.
Spring brings more store closings
Two more waves of store closings were announced this week as the Payless shoe chain filed Chapter 11 and women’s retailer Bebe made plans to move its business online. Say goodbye to the Payless store on Rockville Pike, which had been open for just seven months, and the Bebe store at Westfield Montgomery Mall, which will close by the end of May. Payless is reorganizing and will continue to operate some of its stores, including the one at Westfield Montgomery. Bebe had no other locations in Maryland.
Barnes & Noble closes the book on Bethesda
Barnes & Noble has announced plans to close its three-story location in downtown Bethesda, an institution for more than two decades at the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda Avenues. The departure, scheduled for the end of this year, will leave the struggling bookseller with just two stores in Montgomery County: one at Montrose Crossing on Rockville Pike, and the other at Rio Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg.
New deal brewing for Panera
The Panera restaurant chain was purchased this week by JAB Holding Company, a German firm that also acquired Krispy Kreme and Einstein Bros. Bagels in the past few years. The goal? Brand synergies. JAB also owns a bunch of coffee companies including Peet’s, Caribou and Keurig Green Mountain. The Panera acquisition offers 2,000 new places to sell coffee.
Did you miss something?
Did you know that Moby Dick is up and running in Potomac Village and Mission BBQ has arrived on Rockville Pike? Wondering about the opening dates for North Bethesda’s new REI store and the new restaurants at Park Potomac? Spring break is a great time to visit our website, www.storereporter.com, and catch up any news you might have missed. Also, Store Reporter is finally on Twitter! Follow us: @store_reporter.com.