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. (Editor’s note: For an update on this story, click here.)
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.
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.
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 appalachianspring.com.
- 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 askindredspirits.com.
- 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 leilajewels.com.
- 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 occasionsgiftstore.com.
- 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 redorchard.com.
- 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 silvermoonstyle.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.