Who didn’t survive the holidays?
With the holidays behind us, we’re heading into the month when long-struggling stores and restaurants often close their doors. The newly renamed Cabin John Village already has seen two exits: Momo Taro Sushi Express and the dry cleaner Fashion Flair. Downtown Bethesda is sadly counting down the days for the closing of Barnes & Noble, soon to be replaced by a massive Anthropologie department store. One unexpected departure was that of L’Academie de Cuisine, the respected local cooking school whose alumni include Rose’s Luxury chef Aaron Silverman, TV personality Carla Hall, and Potomac’s own Once Upon a Chef Jenn Segal. We’re expecting more closings in the next few weeks. If you’re still holding on to any holiday gift certificates, be sure to spend them ASAP.
Downsizing for Appalachian Spring
Six months after the closing of its original location in Georgetown, Appalachian Spring is shuttering two more stores as its owners make plans to retire. “Shopping is not the recreational vehicle that it used to be,” says David Brooks, who started the gift store chain 50 years ago with his wife Polly. Today’s customers have less time to browse, Brooks says, and the Virginia store in particular took a hit when Reston Town Center started charging for parking. That store and the one at D.C.’s Union Station will close this month. The Rockville store at Congressional Plaza will remain in business under new ownership, as longtime manager Blair Marra takes the reins.
Amici Miei is back
Amici Miei, the Italian restaurant that exited Potomac Woods Plaza last November, reopens this week at its new home in downtown Rockville. The new space is smaller and renovations are still under way, says owner Roberto Deias, “but it’s nice and cozy, and the customers really love it.” The menu includes plenty of longtime favorites, along with some new Sardinian dishes. You’ll find Amici Miei at 6 North Washington Street, in the former home of Peruvian restaurant Sazon Inka.
Rooftop garden for Pike & Rose
Coming this spring to Pike & Rose: A rooftop vegetable garden offering farm-share memberships for the North Bethesda area. Up Top Acres, which already operates a half-dozen rooftop farms around D.C., will be growing greens, herbs, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers and more atop one of the new Pike & Rose buildings. For more on what’s ahead for Pike & Rose — including an ice cream shop/bakery and a new concept from the founders of CAVA— read our Nov. 2 and Nov. 30 issues at www.storereporter.com.