Thursday, May 31, 2018

Rockville Chamber of Commerce names new CEO

A business and advertising executive who got her start at ESPN in 1979 is the new CEO of the Rockville Chamber of Commerce. Marji Graf will be moving to Rockville to take the reins of the growing business group from outgoing CEO Michelle Day.

Graf, who has lived in Vermont for last two decades, has been the CEO of the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce for the last 10 years. She also has experience as the owner of two businesses herself over the years. Graf will officially take leadership of the Rockville Chamber on July 2.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Rose Krasnow campaign headquarters open on Rockville Pike

Former Rockville mayor Rose Krasnow, who is running for Montgomery County Executive, has a campaign headquarters in the soon-to-be-demolished shopping center at the corner of Rockville Pike and Halpine Road. It's a ramshackle affair compared to millionaire rival David Blair's gleaming HQ with professional signage down the Pike - if you're not looking closely, you wouldn't even know it was there.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Block posts Coming Soon signage at Pike & Rose

Large advertising screens for The Block, a highly-anticipated expansion of the popular Annandale Asian food hall, have been installed at its future Pike & Rose location. Posted along the facade of the building it will share with current tenant Pinstripes, the screens feature blown-up images of the renderings of The Block's dining areas you saw recently on this site. The Block is scheduled to open next year at the Federal Realty development.

Monday, May 28, 2018

CrossFit Fireborne fitness studio to open Tuesday in Rockville

After a holiday weekend of hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ and apple pie, some in Rockville may be ready to burn off some calories Tuesday. CrossFit Fireborne might have the solution when they open tomorrow, May 29, 2018 at 1610 Rockville Pike. The fitness studio will offer custom-tailored programs for both adults and kids. Learn more at their website, where you can register for classes.

Friday, May 25, 2018

MOM's Organic Market in Upper Rock to open June 1

The long-awaited opening of MOM's Organic Market at 10 Upper Rock Circle is almost here. It will open June 1, 2018, and the local chain will be holding an opening weekend celebration at the store from June 1 to June 3.

Officially designated as MOM's Gaithersburg store, the market is located in JBG Smith's Upper Rock development, which is within the city limits of Rockville. A historic office building was torn down to clear the way for this new retail center, which is convenient from both the adjacent Gables Upper Rock apartments and I-270 (just take the Shady Grove Road exit and head east, and it's the first thing you see on the right past the interchange [you'll see the CVS Pharmacy, which is in the same shopping center]).

Opening weekend will include tastings of local foods, kids' activities and giveaways. You'll also have the opportunity to meet representatives from environmental organizations like Waterkeepers Chesapeake and Trash Free Maryland, and staff from Montgomery Parks' Brookside Gardens.

The new MOM's will feature only the highest-quality organic produce, an all-organic vegetarian eatery called Naked Lunch, sustainable insect proteins, a Backyard Beekeeping section with everything you need for this important environmental activity, free car-charging stations, only sustainable seafood (including canned tuna), a wide selection of GOTS-certified organic and sustainable clothing, a liquid bulk section featuring goods like vinegar and honey, a recycling center that can handle household items like cell phones and household batteries, and a large Health and Wellness department, where you can find everything from bulk organic herbs to bulk soap, bath salts and body scrubs.

MOM's does not carry any products that use cartoon characters to target children, and this location will be no exception. 5% of the grand opening sales will be donated to Waterkeepers Chesapeake. MOM's is one of the more on-target tenant choices in Upper Rock, considering that the city envisioned the development as a community for the "creative class" of young professionals. It sounds like they have a wider variety of merchandise than Whole Foods, as well.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

New planning area divisions proposed for Rockville

City of Rockville planning staff presented a newly-proposed map dividing the city into 17 new planning areas to the Planning Commission last night at City Hall. The map is part of the Rockville 2040 Comprehensive Master Plan Update process.

The areas are proposed to be labeled as follows:

1. Town Center 
2. East Rockville 
3. Hungerford, Lynfield, and New Mark Commons 
4. West End and Woodley Gardens East-West 
5. Woodley Gardens and College Gardens 
6. Lincoln Park 
7. Montgomery College 
8. Twinbrook, Twinbrook Forest and Northeast Rockville 
9. Rockville Pike 
10. Montrose and North Farm 
11. Woodmont 
12. Tower Oaks 
13. Orchard Ridge, Potomac Woods, and Falls Ridge 
14. Rockshire and Fallsmead 
15. Fallsgrove and Research 
16. King Farm 
17. Southlawn and Redgate

Among the new changes are that Stonestreet Avenue has been split and moved into the East Rockville and Lincoln Park areas. The new map will also keep both Twinbrook planning areas together, as they were in the Twinbrook master plan update.

Commissioners raised some questions about the accuracy of the nomenclature for some areas. "Woodley Gardens East-West," appearing on the same list as "Woodley Gardens" is "a little confusing," Commissioner Don Hadley noted. The label was apparently based on a separate subdivision name for part of the area lumped in with the West End.

Another concern, addressed by Hadley and Commissioner Charles Littlefield, was the lack of consideration of borders between conflicting land uses, such as residential and industrial. How these could be represented on the map, or whether they should be, were topics of debate.

One such area, N. Adams Street, has a mix of office and residential uses. That could cause issues if redevelopment occurs along the street, which is a transition area between single-family homes and the Town Center. Chief of Long Range Planning David Levy said the street was discussed by staff and community representatives Tuesday night, including former Rockville Mayor Larry Giammo.

Hate the map, or feel your neighborhood wasn't heard in the process? Planning staff will be meeting with all neighborhoods to discuss the proposed planning area boundaries in the coming months.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Rockville construction update: The Escher/1900 Chapman Avenue apartments (Video+Photos)

Lots of news out of the 1900 Chapman Avenue development, on the former Syms site in Rockville. First, it finally has an official name, The Escher. Second, at long last, there is a website and leasing information. Finally, there are some impressive lighting features at The Escher, as you can see in these photos and in this video:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Signage installed at Kabuto in Rockville

The permanent signage is now up at Kabuto, a Japanese steakhouse and sushi bar in the ground floor of Foulger-Pratt's Rockville Metro II building, located at 1 Choice Hotels Circle. Work is coming along slowly-but-surely inside, with a wraparound bar already installed.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Yamachan Ramen to open in Rockville...and Pearl Lady Harajuku Bubble Tea Shop!

Another ramen eatery is coming to Rockville, this time to the heart of Rockville's Town Center. Yamachan Ramen has leased a prime corner spot next to Supercuts at The Upton/Cambria Hotel and Suites development, at the intersection of E. Middle Lane and Maryland Avenue. The restaurant will use the ramen noodle products of the Yamachan Ramen brand.
Pearl Lady Bubble Tea Shop logo
stenciled on the restaurant's window
Even more interesting, is that stencils on the doors and windows of the restaurant are touting Tokyo's famous Pearl Lady Harajuku Bubble Tea Shop as part of the new establishment. What a great addition to the Town Center, and definitely something to set it apart from the many competing bubble tea options in town. Pearl Lady is regularly named one of the top 5 bubble tea shops in Japan, and as far as I can tell, this would be the first Pearl Lady shop outside of Japan. A must try!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Rockville Planning Commission to go into closed session May 23

The Rockville Planning Commission will adjourn into a closed session at its 7:00 PM meeting May 23, 2018 at City Hall, to "consult with counsel to obtain legal advice regarding a pending Site Plan application." At 7:30, commissioners will then reconvene in open session for the rest of the evening's agenda, which will include a discussion of planning area boundaries for the Updated Comprehensive Master Plan. The applicant with the "pending Site Plan" is not identified.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Staycation at the Beach at Pike & Rose; mattress retailer to fill old Starbucks space (Photos)

The beach just got 150 miles closer to home at Pike & Rose. Property owner Federal Realty is turning an empty lot at the north end of the development into a seaside take on The Bullpen near Nationals Park. Just north of Rose Park along Prose Street, west of the Porsche Bethesda dealership, The Beach will offer real sand, public seating areas, games, and programmed events throughout the summer.

On weekends, The Beach will become a Happy Hour destination, thanks to catering partner Ridgewells. Their Beach Bar will offer light snacks, beer and wine, and beach-inspired cocktails that will of course include the Orange Crush.

You don't even have to be at The Beach to see The Beach - Federal Realty has installed a 24-hour camera trained on The Beach atop Pinstripes. The Beach is scheduled to be open by Memorial Day Weekend.

Meanwhile, in new tenant news at Pike & Rose, organic mattress retailer Naturepedic will soon open at store at the development. The Ohio-based retailer currently has only 12 showrooms in North America. This one will be in the former Starbucks location near the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Rockville Pike, which became vacant when Starbucks relocated to Grand Park Avenue.

Photo: Robert Dyer
Renderings courtesy Pike & Rose

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Taylor Gourmet to open Rockville location this morning

Taylor Gourmet's newest Montgomery County location will open today at 826 Rose Avenue at Pike & Rose. The fast casual hoagie shop is in the ground floor of the Canopy by Hilton hotel at the Federal Realty development. If you are one of the first 100 people in line at 11:00 AM this morning, you will win a free tote bag featuring art by JD Deardourff.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Slapfish aiming for June opening in Rockville

Fast-casual seafood restaurant Slapfish is working towards a tentative early June opening at the Montrose Crossing shopping center at 12033 Rockville Pike. The 2250 SF restaurant will feature 68 seats inside, and 16 more on an outdoor patio space.

Slapfish will be open Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 AM to 10:00 PM, and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 AM to 11:00 PM. They will serve craft beer and wine among the beverage choices.

Can they succeed like Luke's Lobster, or will they fail like LobsterME? Their prices appear to be lower than LobsterME in California. Will this location offer the Lobster Ramen Burrito? Stay tuned!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Rockville Farmers Market opens

The Rockville Farmers Market reopened for the season Saturday in the jury parking lot at East Jefferson and Monroe Streets in Rockville Town Center. It will be open from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM every Saturday through November 17. New vendors for 2018 will offer fresh cheeses, mushrooms from the Eastern Shore, beeswax candles, soaps, empanadas, herbs, flowers and other locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Image courtesy City of Rockville

Friday, May 11, 2018

Flower Child restaurant to open in Rockville

Flower Child, another healthy dining concept from the creator of True Food Kitchen, is coming to Montgomery County. Fox Restaurant Concepts has leased spaces at Wildwood Shopping Center in Bethesda, and at 10016 Darnestown Road in Rockville. Flower Child's menu consists of trendy vegetable and grain-based bowls, plates and wraps, with the option to add chicken, steak, salmon or tofu.

As expected, there is an emphasis on organic, non-gmo and superfood ingredients. Salads, and a short starters list with hummus, soup and avocado toast round out the menu. Beverage selections include local craft beer, wine and, of course, kombucha.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Baked Bear to open May 19 in Rockville

Just in time for warmer temperatures, The Baked Bear will open its doors at Pike & Rose for the first time on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 1:00 PM. Is there any reason to get there early? You better believe it.

The first 300 people in line will get a free ice cream sandwich. The first 20 people in line will also get a free Baked Bear t-shirt. And the first 100 people will be entered to win 50 pre-made sandwiches for a party or event.

The Baked Bear has a Cookie-of-the-Month on the menu, and this month's sounds pretty interesting: Mexican Hot Chocolate. Find The Baked Bear at 929 Rose Avenue #404.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Sneak preview of interior of JINYA Ramen Bar opening this summer in Rockville (Photos)

We knew JINYA Ramen Bar was opening at Pike & Rose, but now we know what the restaurant at 910 Prose Street will look like inside when its doors open early this summer. The chain sent me these renderings of the exterior and interior of their first Montgomery County location, and photos of a few dishes.

In addition to traditional, Americanized and custom ramen options like Spicy Chicken Ramen, Slurp Up Cilantro Ramen, Old Skool Ramen, and Spicy Creamy Vegan Ramen, JINYA will also offer salads, bowls, small plates, mini tacos (salmon, tuna or pork chashu & kimchee), desserts, and even Tokyo Curry Rice.

Japanese-cocktails, local craft beers, whiskeys, sake and seasonal house-made beverages will be among the beverage options. Outdoor patio seating will also be available. JINYA will share a building with the already-open L.L. Bean store, overlooking Rose Park.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Signage installed at Pike Kitchen Asian food hall in Rockville (Photos)

Signage is up at the future Pike Kitchen Asian food hall in the Edmonston Crossing shopping center on Rockville Pike. The space is located between LensCrafters and Taco Bell. Wave to me as I come through the drive-thru with a $5 box meal.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Hallmark relocates at Congressional Plaza in Rockville (Photos)

Hallmark Gold Crown has moved three doors down from its original spot at Congressional Plaza. It can now be found next to Child's Play at 1663 Rockville Pike. For those seeking employment, the store is currently hiring. Wunderbar.