Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Title Boxing Club to open at White Flint Plaza

A new boxing gym is coming to the Pike District of Montgomery County. Title Boxing Club, which has an existing Rockville facility at 10028 Darnestown Road, will soon open a new location at 5268-R Nicholson Lane. This will be in the White Flint Plaza shopping center.

Syd's Cakes + Bakes grand opening at Montgomery Mall

Syd's Cakes + Bakes has arrived at the Dining Terrace at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. In addition to baked goods on the sweeter end of the spectrum, they have sandwiches and bubble tea. They're also giving away a free month of bubble tea as part of their grand opening celebration, if you enter the raffle at the bakery with your first purchase. There will be four lucky winners.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Sign installed at Friendship BBQ in Rockville

The permanent sign for Friendship BBQ was installed yesterday at Rockville Town Square. They look like they're about ready to open from what I could see inside when the door was open.

Smashburger Rockville location to reopen

Smashburger's Rockville location promised they would reopen after closing their doors earlier this year. Now the improbable is becoming reality - Smashburger is actually going to reopen this store at 1800-A Rockville Pike in The Galvan development. The restaurant was in the process of hiring potential employees when I stopped by yesterday. So if you've been missing Smashburger since their restaurants around the county closed, you're in luck once they reopen "soon."

Monday, July 29, 2019

Rockville construction update: Duball Town Center Phase II (Photos)

Excavation has begun at the site of Duball, LLC's Rockville Town Center Phase II project. Located off E. Middle Lane on the last remaining surface parking lot in front of the Regal Cinemas Rockville, the property will be home to a 400-unit apartment building, with 150 of those to be set aside for senior housing operated by development partner Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission. The building will also include 20000 SF of ground floor retail/restaurant space. Based on the results of Duball's Phase I project across Helen Heneghan Way, expect high-quality architecture when this delivers in 2021.

Friday, July 26, 2019

909 Rose office building tops out at Pike & Rose (Video+Photos)

909 Rose, the future Class A office building at Rose Avenue and Rockville Pike at Pike & Rose, has topped out. Delivery of the 200000 SF building is anticipated for the spring of 2020. In a weak Montgomery County office market that hasn't attracted a major corporate headquarters in over twenty years, property owner Federal Realty has taken the same practical tack as JBG Smith - they will move their own headquarters down Rockville Pike into this building.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Taylor Gourmet to reopen Pike & Rose location

Taylor Gourmet, which not long ago was on the verge of disappearing entirely, has announced it will reopen three of its shuttered sandwich shops. According to the chain's website, one of the revived locations will be at Pike & Rose. The others are Dupont Circle and Pennsylvania Avenue in the District. All three are expected to open before the end of this summer, according to the announcement.

Rockville Barnes & Noble hosting "Escaping Gilead" Handmaid's Tale event tonight at 7 PM

The Rockville Barnes & Noble will be hosting "Escaping Gilead," a discussion for fans of The Handmaid's Tale tonight, Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 7:00 PM at 12089 Rockville Pike, in the Montrose Crossing shopping center. According to the store's announcement, the discussion will cover both the book and television adaptation, and will also be an opportunity to meet other fans of the series. It's sure to be a popular draw in Montgomery County.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Syd's Cakes + Bakes opening at Montgomery Mall

Shilla Bakery in the Dining Terrace at Westfield Montgomery Mall has been dark for weeks, appearing to have closed for good. A new bakery tenant is taking over their space. Syd's Cakes + Bakes will keep this food court stall in local hands, as Syd's Bakery is a family-owned business.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Friendship BBQ construction underway at Rockville Town Square

Construction on the interior of the future Friendship BBQ is underway at Rockville Town Square. There's a long way to go, as you can see. The restaurant has a liquor license hearing scheduled for August 15.

Monday, July 22, 2019

MoCo residents to protest County Council ADU vote Tuesday

The Montgomery County Council will try to ram through revised Accessory Dwelling Unit zoning rules that will allow tiny homes to be constructed in backyards countywide, in many cases without requiring additional parking spaces. It is the first step in the Council's effort, driven by the developer sugar daddies who funded all nine members' 2018 campaigns, to end single-family home zoning in the County. Residents, over a thousand of whom have signed a petition opposing the ADU scheme, will protest outside the County Council building tomorrow morning, Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 9:00 AM, at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville.

Councilmembers, led by Hans Riemer, plan to introduce another zoning scheme that will allow duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, boarding houses, and even assembly of single-family home lots into stack-and-pack apartment complexes, in currently single-family home neighborhoods. Too incompetent to address the County's moribund economy, failing schools, and rising violent crime, the Council's Maoist-inspired strategy is to bring down successful neighborhoods and school clusters via allowing multifamily development in every neighborhood countywide, and through forced busing of children to schools outside of their neighborhoods.

Residents who have seen the results of similar radical strategies in Seattle and San Francisco are saying, "No, thanks" to the ZTA plan. The ZTA plan will increase school overcrowding in desirable school clusters, and the ultimate multifamily rezoning will more than quadruple existing school overcrowding. Protesters will ask the Council to delay the ZTA vote tomorrow.

West Elm opening this fall in Rockville

More "coming soon" signage has been posted in the windows of the future West Elm storefront on Rose Avenue at Pike & Rose. The modern furniture and decor retailer is expected to open this fall in the Pinstripes building. As you can see, they are now hiring, as well.

Interestingly, on a recent weekend night (not the same evening these photos were taken), the crowd at Pike & Rose exceeded the number of people out around Bethesda Row in downtown Bethesda. The loss of the Regal Cinemas Bethesda 10 and Barnes & Noble have been truly devastating, just as I warned the Montgomery County Council and Planning Board, both of which declined to require a replacement cineplex despite having the authority and responsibility to do so.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

McDonald's testing Blueberry McGriddles at Washington, D.C. area restaurants - here's my review

McDonald's is testing Blueberry McGriddles at select Washington, D.C. area locations, including some in Montgomery County. The new McGriddles have the same sausage or bacon, cheese and egg fillings found in the original McGriddle sandwiches, but swap the maple syrup-filled pancakes for blueberry pancakes.
The blueberry pancakes retain the
McDonald's Golden Arches imprint
of the original McGriddles
This is a rare event, as the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area is rarely used as a test market for potential menu additions by fast food chains. McDonald's did test Mighty Wings at the former 4500 East-West Highway location in the 1990s. The chicken wings were introduced briefly nationwide almost twenty years later, in a fancier box than the plain white one the test wings came in.
The Blueberry McGriddle came with a
thick, folded scrambled egg, but
deletes the maple syrup filling found in
original McGriddles pancakes
Should Blueberry McGriddles be added to the permanent menu? Watch my review for my thoughts and a detailed look at the test item, which comes in sausage and bacon versions, and is only available during morning breakfast hours.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Montgomery County 911 system fails again

Officials don't know how
many emergency calls went
unanswered during outage

Montgomery County's 911 system failed twice Thursday, according to the Montgomery County Police Department, which does not operate the system. An MCPD spokesperson said that County officials cannot, as of now, tell them how many urgent 911 calls went unanswered during the service interruptions, but that the department is aware of one caller in need of basic life support medical services who was affected.

Callers who dialed 911 around 8:30 AM yesterday morning - and again between 9:35 and 9:43 AM - could not get through to the 911 call center, and instead heard a message saying they number they'd reached was out of service. According to MCPD, the failure was traced to a network outage between system components.

There is no indication that the Alert Montgomery system informed citizens of either outage. Montgomery County Government has yet to post any statement regarding the outages as of this writing.
It was exactly three years ago that I broke the story of a similar 911 system failure. Later, the County tried to cover up the fact that Alert Montgomery had failed to issue alerts to subscribers until long after the outage had ended. Two people were confirmed to have died has a result of that 2016 911 system failure, 

Yet despite their failure having fatal results for two of their constituents in 2016, the County Council has clearly failed to change its ways. Here we are again, with another 911 outage three years later. Similarly, the Council failed to upgrade the public safety radio communications system for County first responders for more than a decade, deliberately kicking the can down the road to have more play money to spend on their cartel sugar daddies.

In fact, since taking the oath of office last December, the latest Council has failed to take action on a single major crisis. Not a single thing has been done to exercise oversight and update the 911 system, complete our master plan highway system, turn around our moribund economy that now ranks last in the region by every economic development benchmark, nor to address rising rates of violent crime.
Most of the current Council term has been spent on a grotesque attack on the men and women of the Montgomery County police department. The Council's continual slander, defamation and disparagement of Montgomery's finest only put our first responders and the public in greater danger. Which fits perfectly with the County Council's record of making public safety a low priority, to the point that there are actual people who have died as a result of their failure to address basic government issues like providing a functioning 911 system. It's outrageous.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Chevy Chase Cars Express Store opens at Montgomery Mall

Chevy Chase Cars has opened a new Express Store on Level 1 at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Similar to the Tesla Store at the mall, they have vehicles on display and touchscreens with information about them. Potential buyers can learn about vehicle features and the buying process at the store, and then order their car using the website from their home or office.
The set-up is similar to the
high-tech, high-end customer
experience found at the Tesla Store
Touchscreens demonstrate how you can configure your vehicle options and Protection Plans. There is a special Express Store price displayed for each car. You can choose to pay in full, or via lease or credit. It will also show an instant price for the trade-in value of your current vehicle. A "Personal Concierge" functions much like the chat feature dealerships and retail websites increasingly have online. You can even select to have your vehicle delivered to your home.
While Chevy Chase Cars' main dealership is located in downtown Bethesda, your future vehicle may actually be on-site at the mall. A decent size inventory of cars is currently parked outside near the former Sears Auto Center building, in addition to those on display inside the mall.
Touchscreen in showroom
allows buyer to learn about options,
protection plans, delivery method,
and to call on a virtual concierge

Chevy Chase Cars vehicles
parked outside the former
Sears Auto Center at the mall