Thursday, September 20, 2018

Chick-fil-A sets opening date at Research Row in Rockville

This is the news many of us have been waiting for: the opening date for the new Chick-fil-A restaurant at the equally-new Research Row shopping center at 1401 Research Boulevard in Rockville. The restaurant will open on September 27.

Finally a Chick-fil-A with a drive-thru! But if you are dining inside, the restaurant will seat 96, and features a two-story interactive play area for families who miss the old McDonald's playgrounds.

“I am excited to bring another Chick-fil-A to the Rockville community that I have been a part of for the last 25 years and to have the opportunity to continue serving the community both inside and outside my restaurant,” franchise operator Brad Wood said Wednesday. “I am committed to developing my team members, as together we provide a remarkable experience to our guests who become part of our family."

Of course, the restaurant will be hosting the now-traditional campout the night before the opening. Registration to line up will begin at 6:00 AM on September 26 at the restaurant. Up to 100 adults who live in qualifying nearby zip codes will win gift cards for a year of free Chick-fil-A meals. A book drive will also be held, benefiting a local Boys & Girls Club.

Sweetgreen is coming to Rockville

Federal Realty has signed another big name to its roster of restaurants at Pike & Rose. Fast casual salad concept Sweetgreen will open between Burger Fi and Sunday Morning Bakehouse on Grand Park Avenue.
The restaurant will be in the ground floor of the Canopy by Hilton hotel/930 Rose condo building. Speaking of which, the Canopy hotel is really going full steam now. When I was at Pike & Rose this past weekend, cars unloading luggage at the front of the hotel were backing up down Rose Avenue toward Grand Park Avenue. 
Canopy by Hilton reviewer on TripAdvisor says the
Pike & Rose hotel "exceeded all expectations!"
License plates included New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. And not necessarily the hip crowd the hotel is targeted toward, but families with kids, and the general tourist types. So it seems the hotel has become really popular since its opening in March. Canopy scores 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor, 4.4 on Google Reviews, and I can't find a Yelp listing for it on Google.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Japong Bakery to open in Rockville

Japong Bakery is coming to the Ritchie Center at 785 Rockville Pike. The bakery is scheduled to open September 30 in the former Mr. Banh Mi space.

Japong will offer the top-selling pastries from across Asia, but the selections include some familiar in the West, including cream puffs, cheesecakes and gourmet cakes. Their breads and pastries are made fresh with their exclusive Sourdough recipe. Among the Asian selections are Egg Tarts, a baked pastry crust filled with egg custard.

In related news, Pho 95 in the same shopping center is currently renovating their space.

Councilmember wants to clarify relationship between Mayor & Council and Rockville Sister Cities Corporation

Rockville City Councilmember Mark Pierzchala wants the Mayor and Council to discuss and clarify the relationship between that body and the Rockville Sister Cities. It is unclear what the full purpose of the proposed discussion is, but Pierzchala mentioned that he would like to know what input the Mayor and Council have in terminating Rockville's relationship with a sister city, and the establishment of new ties with a different one.

"It's very unclear in my mind when the Mayor and Council should be chiming in," Pierzchala said at Monday night's Mayor and Council meeting. He said he wants to "define the relationship" between the Rockville Sister City Corporation and the Mayor & Council, and explore the evolution of that relationship and their respective roles over the last 30 years.

The Rockville Sister City Corporation, as it is officially known, was founded as a non-profit in 1987. Rockville's current sister cities are Pinneberg, Germany and Jiaxing, China.

A discussion item has tentatively been added to the next meeting's agenda. That agenda had not been posted on the City website as of this writing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Mayor wants to know why Rockville election board is defying request to appear at City Council

Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton and Councilmember Beryl Feinberg are seeking answers as to why the Board of Supervisors of Elections is refusing to appear before the City Council to brief them on the switch to voting-by-mail, that will occur with the next City election in 2019.  Newton and Feinberg queried Deputy City Clerk Sara Taylor-Farrell and City Attorney Debra Yerg Daniel about the delay in updating officials on their plans and progress on the new voting system.

"I'm a little concerned, because this is a huge deal," Newton said. Feinberg too expressed concerns over the delay given the enormity of the task ahead, calling the new system a "sea change" for the city. She said she wanted to know where exactly the Board is in implementing voting by mail.

Daniel said the Board technically does not have to appear at the request of the Mayor and Council, because they are a separately-chartered body in charge of elections. Staff and Councilmember Virginia Onley said the Board is understaffed, and that their request for additional staffing funds from the Mayor and Council may have to be acted upon before the Board will agree to appear.

Onley suggested discussing the staffing problem with the Board, even if the conversation must be held out of public view. "If it's offline, then let's discuss it offline," Onley suggested. Daniel said an offline discussion could be held in closed session. The Mayor and Council have a closed session today at 4:00 PM at the Cottage at Glenview Mansion, at 603 Edmonston Drive, where the matter may now be discussed. That closed session is, of course, closed to the public.

They will also be discussing something related to the Office of the City Clerk, the original reason for the closed session.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Golden Samovar closed in Rockville after flood

Golden Samovar is closed at Rockville Town Square. The restaurant says the closure is due to repeated flooding of its space from the apartments located upstairs, and that it will not reopen "until the issue is resolved."

However, the restaurant's website is currently down, as well. I know there is a basis in truth for the flooding explanation, because the restaurant indeed closed temporarily in late May, due to water from the apartments upstairs. They then reopened.

We will have to stay tuned here. It would be truly sad to lose Golden Samovar, as we are in great need of Russian and Eastern European restaurants in Montgomery County.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Derwood man missing

Montgomery County police are seeking the public's help in finding a missing Derwood man. Marvin Darnell Obrien, 33, lives in a group home on Granby Road. He was last seen by caretakers there on September 7, when police say he left the home on foot.

Police describe Obrien as an African American male, approximately 5’9″ to 6’ 1” tall and weighing 160 pounds. He has short black hair, brown eyes, and a tattoo located on his forehead.

Anyone who has information regarding the whereabouts of Marvin Darnell Obrien is asked to call the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000 (answers 24-7).