Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Whatever the holdup was in Roy Rogers' return to Rockville has been resolved. Coming Soon signage and permits are finally up at the 718 Rockville Pike location (longtime site of a Ford dealership, across from Marlo Furniture) of the first Roy Rogers restaurant Rockville has had in decades. The restaurant is currently hiring staff, and expects to open the first week in November.

Monday, September 29, 2014


Potomac River Running is the latest tenant to close at Rockvile Town Square. One pink sock, a message from a loyal customer and a few odds and ends are all that remain of the family-owned, local chain's Rockville store.

Cosi, Oro Pomodoro, Pho & Rolls, Carbón and the Hair Cuttery, have all vacated the Federal Realty property in only the last 3 months. Capital One bank is scheduled to close its Rockville Town Square branch permanently on October 17 at 6:00 PM.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Angry residents of Derwood are challenging Montgomery County officials over a group home for psychiatric patients they contend was improperly rubber stamped by government. The Gazette reports that the home, located at 6112 Granby Road, has been the source of 6 police responses, and 8 visits by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services so far.

"Crisis" patients, including those with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and manic depression, are staying in the home for 3 to 10 day residences, according to the Gazette. Some have been found wandering the neighborhood unsupervised.

Residents were dissatisfied with the county's response to their concerns at a meeting Tuesday evening, and are now considering a legal challenge, reports the Gazette's Terri Hogan.

Group homes have generated controversy in recent years, particularly when such operations came to light in Clarksburg and Aspen Hill only after violent crimes by residents drew public attention.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


A lot of progress has taken place at The JBG Companies' 275 N. Washington Street project in Rockville. One of the first Town Center Phase II developments, the building will include 28,000 SF of retail and restaurant space. A battle over how much parking the development would include was resolved by the Rockville Planning Commission recently. One part of the structure has a very traditional brick facade, which contrasts with the glass facade of the rest.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Barry Fig, a Rockville resident and hockey coach, pled guilty to theft and drug charges yesterday in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Fig, 36, was sentenced to 14 months behind bars for crimes that included stealing wallets at local ice rinks, including Wheaton Ice Arena. The cause of Fig's downfall was his addiction to the prescription drug Adderall, according to ABC 7's Kevin Lewis.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Here is video from last Thursday night's VIP preview party at Del Frisco's Grille Rockville, opening this Thursday at Pike & Rose. You can see the decor, the cocktail luge in action, and a sample of the dishes that were served from the menu that night. For a full report, and many photos, from the Del Frisco's event, click here for my story last Friday.

Monday, September 22, 2014


WMATA is finally on something of a timetable to restore automatic train control to its subway system, and the Red Line will be the first route to have it, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. In October, some Red Line trains will begin operating automatically, and all trains will do so by next March, according to the Post report. That long-overdue positive sign wasn't the only big Red Line news this past weekend. Metro tested new 7000-series railcars on the Red Line Saturday and Sunday, between the Twinbrook and Shady Grove Metro stations.

I caught one in action at the Rockville station on Sunday. The train was not accepting passengers during the test run. The 7000-series are manufactured by Kawasaki.

We simply must improve the service and reliability of Metro, if we are to even begin to manage future growth in places like downtown Bethesda, White Flint, Silver Spring and Rockville. Scarce transportation dollars need to go to the projects where they impact the most people, such as 8-car trains for Metro, more capacity on the Red Line (especially north of Grosvenor), and a new Potomac River crossing to relieve congestion on the Beltway and I-270.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Del Frisco's Grille gave a crowd of VIPs a preview of the first restaurant opening at Pike & Rose last night. Signage had been attached to the facade of the restaurant, which is scheduled to open next Thursday, September 25.
General Manager Rahsaan Stone (L)
greets VIP guests at the tented
entryway erected outside the
restaurant's entrance
Attendees made a red carpet entrance, greeted by General Manager Rahsaan Stone and a free cocktail. Each party posed for photos before a Del Frisco's Grille logo red carpet backdrop. Inside, the spacious restaurant was packed, even with the standalone tables removed from the floor. An open bar finished what the martini glass at the door started, and uniformed servers made the rounds with a selection of appetizers and small plates from Executive Chef Cody Lynch's forthcoming menu.
A mixologist sends another
Apt. 5-D martini
down the ice luge
In many ways, the event had the feel of one held in the District more than in staid Montgomery County. Strawberry martinis with Tito's Vodka, lemon sour, simple syrup, a dash of balsamic, and cracked black pepper - called the Apt. 5-D, and quite good, I must add - gushed down a large cocktail luge, before arriving in their appointed glasses. The spectacle easily commanded the most cellphone photos of the evening, with shots of the frozen sculpture popping up on Instagram. Millennials hammed it up at an electronic photo machine throughout the night, and made up a large portion of the crowd in general. A raw bar with another ice sculpture served up oysters and shrimp just in front of the restaurant's open kitchen.
Striking a pose at
the electronic
photo "booth"

The finished product,
ready to print

The restaurant's main,
wraparound bar was
abuzz with activity all night
So was another kind of
bar - the raw bar

Raw oysters were the
main attraction here
The circulating appetizers got favorable reviews from everyone I spoke to. Dominated in sheer numbers by the restaurant's signature Ahi Tuna Tacos, it featured inventive twists on some popular small plates. My favorite was the crab fritters. Not to be confused with the crab cake sliders, which were pretty good themselves, the fritters have a far-lighter texture than you would expect from a fried dish. Inside the crispy exterior were bits of sweet peppers, tender corn, and - of course - crab. A drizzle of sriracha mayonnaise added a spicy finish to the top.
Cheesesteak Eggrolls

Crabcake on toast

Tomato and mozzarella skewers

Pork and cabbage taco

A fantastic crab fritter

Del Frisco's signature
Ahi Tuna Tacos

Grille Prime Cheeseburger

After pursuing another Del Frisco's signature item, the Cheesesteak Eggrolls, without success, I spotted Chef Cody Lynch, who brought out a plate of 4 fresh from the kitchen for me. These were another winner, with the flavors of a fresh Philly Cheesesteak sandwich somehow jammed into an eggroll-like shell. Other good choices were the Grille Prime Cheeseburger, Pork Tacos with cabbage, and a veggie burger. Later in the evening, some selections from the dessert menu began to appear, including Coconut Cream Pie. Beers currently on tap are Stella Artois, Allagash White, Samuel Adams seasonal Oktoberfest, Yuengling and Blue Moon. I'm looking forward to trying some of the full entrees after the opening, because there are quite a few on the menu that sound great.
What's currently on tap;
GM Rahsaan Stone says
the selections will alternate
All in all, the evening was a brief taste of what nights at Pike & Rose could be like in the future. Federal Realty Development Associate Jay Corbalis said that the company is positioning Pike & Rose as an entertainment-centered development, with the AMP by Strathmore live music venue and iPic cineplex both on-site. With similar movie theaters canceled at JBG's North Bethesda Market II, and possibly at Lerner's White Flint Mall site redevelopment, Pike & Rose seems likely to become the nightlife activity hub of the "new" White Flint. You need to get dinner with that movie, or a bar to meet up with friends before the show, and Del Frisco's seems poised to fit the bill.

Stay tuned for video from the event! Here are more photos; click to enlarge for greater detail:

This artwork hangs behind the wall
that separates the host stand from
bar area

Warmer installed on the
outdoor patio

The patio was packed
last night

Looking toward Executive Blvd.

A successful evening for
Executive Chef Cody Lynch
GM Rahsaan Stone

Oenophiles weren't left out
at the bar

"Do right and feed every man" is
the motto over the kitchen - and
on the back of staff uniforms

Valets line up the VIP vehicles
after the party