Big move for Barnes & Noble
Remember last month when we tipped you off that something big was about to happen at Congressional Plaza? Well, that rumor we told you about turned out to be true: Barnes & Noble is moving in. The bookseller will trade its longtime digs at Montrose Crossing, home to discounters like Marshall’s and Target, for a smaller space at Congressional among the posh likes of Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Saks Off 5th and The Fresh Market. Plans call for a 2020 opening next to The Container Store, where there’s plenty of space after the recent departures of Thomasville (bankrupt), White House Black Market (closed), Chico’s (relocated elsewhere in the plaza) and Lebanese Taverna (likewise). (More details on all of these changes in our Feb. 21st edition.) Barnes & Noble has been trying stay afloat in this online economy by closing many of its big-box locations (we’re looking at you, downtown Bethesda) in favor of slimmed-down stores with a carefully edited merchandise mix.
Japanese steakhouse sets a date
After months of construction delays and lots of speculation about whether it was ever going to happen, the Viva Japanese steakhouse at Westfield Montgomery mall is finally setting a date. The hibachis are scheduled to fire up May 1st across from the ArcLight Cinema, right above newcomer Urban Plates. Meanwhile, check out our March 21st edition for news about another interesting tenant that will move in just down the hall.
Mall stores say goodbye
As we move into the spring shopping season, several stores are reaching their final days at Westfield Montgomery mall. Invisalign, whose parent company is shuttering all its retail operations, will depart on April 3rd. Crabtree & Evelyn, also closing stores across the country, is nearly empty after a lengthy going-out-of-business sale. Italian men’s store Fascino is calling its quits just two months after relocating to a prime spot in the Macy’s wing. But Gymboree and Payless, whose parent companies both filed bankruptcy in the past few months, will hang around awhile longer as they continue to unload excess merchandise.
Rockville Smashburger goes dark
The lights were out and the doors were locked at Smashburger on Rockville Pike this week, but owner Julian Goodman says the closing is likely temporary. Goodman, a franchisee, says he’s “turning back” this location to Smashburger’s parent company and expects that it will reopen. The Rockville Smashburger, which debuted three years ago on the ground floor of Galvan at Twinbrook, never seemed to pack in the crowds like neighboring Asian eateries Akira Ramen, Urban Hot Pot and Gong Cha. Three other Smashburger restaurants in Bethesda, Gaithersburg and Germantown all closed their doors in 2017.