Monday, July 16, 2018

Adarash Market to open in Twinbrook

Adarash Market is opening a new Rockville location, in the Twinbrook Center at 2000-B Veirs Mill Road. The Ethiopian market chain already has stores in Long Branch and White Oak. Adarash will provide some international competition to Lotte Plaza Market, already open in the former Twinbrook Safeway building.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Rockville's newest Starbucks is now open

The new Starbucks at 11860 Grand Park Avenue is now open at Pike & Rose. It moved over from its original location at the southeast corner of the property last Friday.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Buffalo Wild Wings cuts back hours in Rockville as MoCo nighttime economy continues to tank

Effective this week, Buffalo Wild Wings at 33-C Maryland Avenue will close an hour earlier each night, except for Sunday nights, which will remain the same. Monday through Thursday, the popular chicken wing restaurant will close at 12:00 AM instead of 1:00 AM. And on Friday and Saturday nights, BWW will now close at 1:00 AM, instead of 2:00 AM as before.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the only
candidate for Montgmery County Council who
will end the government liquor monopoly,
and restore our nighttime economy
Montgomery County's nightlife business continues to tank following the disastrous "nighttime economy initiative" by County Council President Hans Riemer. The Nighttime Economy Task Force debacle led to the closure of 15 nightspots in downtown Bethesda alone, and cutbacks in late-night hours similar to what we are witnessing with Buffalo Wild Wings here. Instead of ending the County's archaic government liquor monopoly that is killing restaurants and bars, Riemer led the Council move to strengthen the monopoly. The same monopoly keeps residents from being able to buy beer and wine at grocery, drug and convenience stores countywide.

There simply aren't enough people out late at night anymore to sustain businesses during those hours. Rockville and downtown Silver Spring have fared slightly better than Bethesda, but we can see things are still moving in the wrong direction countywide.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Veterinary Holistic Care coming to Rockville

Veterinary Holistic Care, a veterinary practice that has operated in Bethesda since 1995, is moving to Rockville. Their existing office is located on a site now planned to be redeveloped into a six-story apartment building by ZOM Living, at 4820 Moorland Lane.

The new home of VHC will be at 4 West Middle Lane, in the Courthouse Center shopping center. In this larger facility, VHC plans to add an underwater pet treadmill, a full surgery suite, and full pet grooming services. No official moving date has been announced as of press time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Signage installed at Yamachan Ramen/Pearl Lady Tea in Rockville (Photos)

The permanent signage is up at Yamachan Ramen/Pearl Lady Tea at 201 E. Middle Lane in Rockville Town Center. It is located in the ground floor of the Cambria Suites/The Upton building. This will be the first Pearl Lady location outside of Japan.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Asian food hall The Spot opens in Rockville

The Spot looked ready to open any minute last week, and now it has. And it's already picked up a large following this weekend. Crowds of people were walking down N. Washington Street, headed to the new Asian food hall in the ground floor of the Metropolitan at Rockville Town Center apartments.

Tenants operating opening weekend included raw fish bowl favorite Poki DC, the bubble teas of Gong Cha, Cheers Cut fried chicken, Mian Pull noodle, and the sweet finish of Hong Kong waffle ice cream from Alpaca Dessert. Several more vendors are coming soon. The Spot is located at 255 N. Washington Street.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Rockville woman missing

Montgomery County police are asking for the public's help in locating a missing Rockville woman. Tabet Ndortabi Tarh of First Street, age 33, hasn't been seen by her family since early in the morning on June 28 at her home.was last seen by family members in the early morning hours on June 28 at her residence on First Street in Rockville.  Police describe Tarh as an African-American female, 5′ 3″, 130 pounds, with brown eyes and dark brown, shoulder length hair that she is known to sometimes wear in a bun. 

When last seen, Tarh was wearing a white scarf and a long, dark blue dress. However, detectives have not yet been able to obtain a photograph of her to release to the public. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Tabet Ndortabi Tarh is urged to contact police at 301.279.8000.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

New Starbucks at Pike & Rose expected to open Friday

The new Starbucks under construction in The Henri at Pike & Rose is finally ready to open. A reader tells me that the current Starbucks at the Federal Realty property has closed, and that the new one is expected to open tomorrow, Friday, July 6, 2018.

For GPS purposes, the street address of the new Starbucks is 11860 Grand Park Avenue. Will this one be a Starbucks Reserve? We're still awaiting the first Starbucks Reserve in Montgomery County (but I will settle for a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf). Whatever the case, this is the only Starbucks in MoCo where you can take your icy Starbucks drink to The Beach at Pike & Rose.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Demolition begins for Aldi in Rockville (Photos)

If you thought Aldi was just going to convert the old Circuit City/hh gregg building on Rockville Pike into their new Rockville grocery store, think again. Instead, major demolition is underway at the site. I'm starting to question if they will meet the projected 2018 store opening as promised at this point. The store site is located in the Congressional North shopping center.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Signage installed at Rockville Asian food hall The Spot (Photos)

The signs are up at The Spot, and the interior is rapidly coming together as well. You can see the seating, and individual stalls of the hall's tenants. Of three Asian food halls opening in the next 12 months in Rockville, The Spot looks the closest to completion. The Spot is located in the ground floor of The Metropolitan at Rockville Town Center apartments at 255 N. Washington Street.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Rockville Pike tree massacre

There's been a tree massacre on the east side of Rockville Pike near Talbott Street. An unidentified crew clearcut all of the trees along the access road in front of the Bassett Furniture and former funeral home. Once a shady stretch, it's now like a desert, as these before and after photos and video show.
Compare this Google Street View photo
to the photo of the same scene yesterday at
the top of this article
More scenes from before the environmental destruction that has taken place, above and all photos below:

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Carvana auto vending machine towers over Shady Grove (Photos)

The glass tower that appeared off Shady Grove Road at I-270 recently had many wondering, "What is that thing?" A vending machine for cars, that draws a steady stream of gawkers on foot from nearby businesses like Red Lobster. Few, however, possess the magic token that can force the machine to dispense one of its vehicles. Yes, those are used cars inside that tower. A small office and vehicle facility alongside the column make this the most unique used car dealership in the area.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Montgomery County election results capped by County Executive cliffhanger

A majority of Democratic primary voters sent a clear message in Tuesday's election - big money can now mean big wins at the polls in Montgomery County. Josh Rales may want to think about trying again after massive war chests, public and private, brought candidates to victory. Self-funding businessman David Blair rode millions of dollars, and a double-barrel endorsement from the Washington Post, to a neck-and-neck finish with County Councilman Marc Elrich. The race was too close to call when Board of Elections officials paused counting at 12:45 AM this morning, and might not be decided until the counting of provisional ballots is completed - which could take until next week.

Other flush-with-cash Democratic candidates who won included David Trone in the 6th Congressional District, Andrew Friedson (County Council - District 1), and Hans Riemer, Will Jawando, Evan Glass and Gabe Albornoz (County Council - At-Large).

As most winners celebrated at local bars with supporters, Blair threw a spectacle of an election night party that looked more Mar-a-Lago than Montgomery. But his remarks were far more humble than Trumpian, as he marveled at a close finish few insiders expected, and expressed pride in conducting a positive campaign when others went negative. Yet, Elrich is temporarily ahead by almost 500 votes, and bested Blair in early voting, which has already been counted.

Former Rockville mayor and County Planning Department Deputy Director Rose Krasnow made a respectable showing, as did District 1 Councilmember Roger Berliner, but both had barely half the votes that Blair and Elrich each accrued. Both were clearly done in by their strong association with development decisions that enraged multiple communities, from Westbard to Damascus. Ultimately, both found that assuming those communities' votes weren't enough to sink their future campaigns to be a fatal miscalculation. And Blair effectively blocked their developer lane to victory.

Other winners in contested primaries last night included Craig Rice (D) and Ed Amatetti (R) [Council District 2], Sid Katz (Council District 3) who faced a strong challenge from Ben Shnider, Nancy Navarro (Council District 4) and Tom Hucker (Council District 5). Katz survived because he is well-liked, stepped in authoritatively in the MCPS school bus depot debacle, and has one of the sharpest political minds and memories. After I met Katz at an event in Gaithersburg years ago, for only a few seconds, he greeted me by name from then on.
A majority of Democratic voters ignored the
advice of the "Vote for More Women" sign at
top left in yesterday's election
Big losers last night included Councilmember George Leventhal, who didn't even reach the middle tier of finishers, despite two decades in office and plenty of cash on hand. And 2018 is most definitely not the Year of the Woman in Montgomery County, as Democrats went big for male candidates, potentially leaving Councilmember Nancy Navarro as the only woman on the Council. Ana Sol Gutierrez made a surprisingly competitive second-place finish in Council District 1, in a race where Reggie Oldak and Meredith Wellington were also thought to have a chance. Upcounty voters had to be disappointed to see Germantown's Marilyn Balcombe in fifth place for the four at-large seats. Balcombe had the Washington Post endorsement, but didn't enjoy the same magical boost it gave others.

The Post played such a large and heavy-handed role in the Democratic primary, that some progressives began referring to it as the Amazon Post, a nickname more often used by Republicans like Trump. One entertaining conspiracy theory making the rounds on social media was that Jeff Bezos was seeking to install Blair, who would be a pushover for Amazon in return.

Republican Robin Ficker will take on the winner of the Blair-Elrich matchup in November. He would have a better path to victory against Elrich, if the "business community" (a.k.a. developers) were to "get dangerous," as Bob Ehrlich put it, and get behind Ficker. Ficker is also fond of noting that Elrich voted to pass the highly-controversial Westbard sector plan, which was overwhelmingly opposed by residents, a decision that left even some of Elrich's strongest supporters scratching their heads.
More than Elrich, Riemer will face the full wrath of neighborhoods that were bulldozed over the last four years by the County Council and Planning Board. Democratic voters, who made up a majority of term-limits votes and of the opposition to multiple sector plans like Westbard, will have an easy choice to switch their fourth Council At-Large vote from developer-backed Riemer to yours truly, Robert Dyer. Progressive voters will be aghast to learn that Riemer has accepted money from Mitt Romney's Bain Capital and Danaher's Mitch Rales, two pioneers in outsourcing American jobs to China.

Riemer also opposes the recommendations of County Executive Ike Leggett's Tenant Work Group, tanked the "nighttime economy" with his Nighttime Economy Task Force debacle, caused County residents who had signed up for County government mailing lists' personal information to be posted online through a loophole in his vaunted "Open Data" law, essentially banned airbnb as an easy source of income for residents (effective July 1), and singlehandedly destroyed the food truck business in Montgomery County. Then there was Beerghazi, the scandal in which Riemer withheld information about illegal activity in the Department of Liquor Control until after he was safely reelected in 2014. And that's just the beginning.

And my years-long message about the County's moribund economy and poor business climate is the same message that has Blair neck-and-neck with Montgomery County's most popular Democrat. It's going to be a fun four-and-a-half months, folks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill to open Wednesday in Rockville

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill will open tomorrow, Wednesday, June 27, 2018, at 10:30 AM at 10062 Darnestown Road in Rockville. This will be the Salt Lake City-based Mexican chain's 117th location in the United States. Cafe Rio is fast casual, so it is more of a direct competitor with Chipotle than with Chuy's or Uncle Julio's.

The first 300 people present for the ribbon-cutting at 10:30 will receive a free meal and beverage. A giant burrito will be on hand, as well as a $2500 check to Montgomery County Public Schools. “Cafe Rio fans in Rockville have been requesting a Cafe Rio for a long time, and we’re ecstatic to join the community,” Cafe Rio Chief Marketing Officer Todd Smith said in a statement Monday. “We’re proud to serve made-from-scratch, delicious food, and we credit our success to our customers’ dedication to the same fresh food, made fresh mantra.”

Photos via Cafe Rio Mexican Grill

Monday, June 25, 2018

On the Vine to open in Rockville

On the Vine, a beer and wine store, will open this winter in the ground floor of the Mallory Square Apartments in Rockville. They will offer on-site tastings, as well as 1800 square feet of craft beer and fine wines. On the Vine will be located at 15230 Siesta Way.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Rockville Audi to add 2 more surface parking lots

Rockville Audi is preparing to submit a plan to the City of Rockville for the addition of two lots west of the current dealership building at 1125 Rockville Pike. It will improve those lots for surface parking. From the Google satellite image of the G-shaped dealership property, it's not immediately clear where those lots will be carved out.
The existing lot and dealership, with its
current G-shaped layout (it abuts apartments
behind, and Woodmont Country Club to the south
A required public meeting will be held by the dealership on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 7:00 PM in the Black Eyed Susan Conference Room at City Hall, which is located at 111 Maryland Avenue.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rockville construction update: Five Guys at Montrose Crossing (Photos)

Five Guys is not new to either Rockville or Bethesda, but this new one at Montrose Crossing on Rockville Pike will split the difference. The familiar checkered tile, counters and even the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine are in place. No furniture yet, though.