Roti near the mall is the first to fall
Sometimes January brings a rash of store and restaurant closings, as leases end and businesses cut their losses after a disappointing holiday season. Macy’s, for example, is closing 40 stores across the country (although none in Montgomery County). But this year the Rockville/Potomac area made it through the holidays pretty much intact: The only closing we’ve noted so far is the Roti Mediterranean Grill just outside Westfield Montgomery Mall. Carl Segal, CEO of Chicago-based Roti, says traffic at that location began to suffer when Chipotle, Cava Grill and other fast-casual restaurants moved into the mall’s snazzy new Dining Terrace. So Roti signed a lease at Pike & Rose, where Segal says the hip young customer base is better suited to the modernized menu he’ll be rolling out this year. “We like to be next to the &pizzas and Shophouses of the world,” he says. “We all share customers and complement each other.”
Big move for Rockville Soccer
Rockville Soccer, the retail home base for MSI and a long list of local soccer clubs, has moved into larger quarters on the second floor of Wintergreen Plaza. Owner Hrant Tatarian, who runs a small chain of soccer stores in the D.C. area, says his 23-year-old business had outgrown its cramped space at the Sunshine Square Shopping Center further south on Rockville Pike. The new store, near Gold’s Gym and Adventure Theater MTC, offers 4,000 square of footwear, uniforms and soccer equipment. “We wanted to have concept shops for Nike and Adidas like you’d expect to see in a Dick’s or a Nordstrom,” Tatarian says. “We really needed the extra room.”
New year, new burrito at Cal Tort
In a month when just about everyone seems to be hitting the gym and focusing on clean eating, California Tortilla has rolled out a “Super Food Burrito” stuffed with all the right buzzwords: kale, avocado, quinoa, whole wheat and “GMO-free.” The $7.39 dish is currently slated for a limited run, but a strong early response suggests it may end up sticking around. “We wanted to come out with something especially healthy during this first quarter when so many people are starting their diets,” says Keith Goldman, chief operating officer and head chef for the Rockville-based restaurant chain. “It took us a while to figure out how to make kale taste good,” he chuckles. “But if the first few days are any indication, this burrito is going to be one of our top sellers.”
What’s next for White Flint?
At this time last year, P.F. Chang’s was serving its final customers as the once-posh White Flint Mall closed its doors for the last time. Summer brought the culmination of a longstanding lawsuit when the mall’s owners, Lerner Enterprises and Tower Cos., were ordered to pay Lord & Taylor $31 million for lost profits during the mall’s redevelopment. Now White Flint has been reduced to a pile of rubble, with only Lord & Taylor left standing (and still doing business). As we swing into 2016, count on Store Reporter to keep you up to date on all things White Flint: When the new project will break ground, what shape it will take, and who might still be interested in moving there by the time this saga comes to an end. (Hint: Wegmans is over it.)