Thursday, December 31, 2020

Rockville GameStop closing at Fallsgrove was home store for Bethesda Softworks

The GameStop store closing soon at the Fallsgrove Village Center in Rockville has a special significance for the area. It's far from the only GameStop location to close in Montgomery County, or even Rockville. But it has a historic place for fans of Fallout, Skyrim and other classics - and for the creators of those games themselves. That's because the Fallsgrove store was the home GameStop for Bethesda Softworks, (a.k.a. Bethesda Game Studios) whose headquarters has for many years also been in Rockville, only a short distance away.

Among the Bethesda gaming memories at this spot: In 2011, Bethesda employees appeared in the store for the midnight launch of Skyrim. Employees of Bethesda handed out donuts and Dovahkiin face masks that night at the store. Four years later, Bethesda staff again appeared to sign copies of Fallout 4 at this GameStop. I'm still a bit steamed that there wasn't any Nuka Cola left at Target on launch day! 

Which GameStop will be the new home store when Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI are released? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Armed robbery at Rockville convenience store

City of Rockville police responded to the report of an armed robbery at a convenience store Monday evening. The robbery took place at a store in the 700 block of Rockville Pike around 6:53 PM. Crime data does not specify the store by name, but there is a Tiger Mart at the Exxon station on that block across from Marlo Furniture. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

IT'SUGAR closing at Rockville Town Square

, the candy store at 130 E. Gibbs Street at Rockville Town Square is closing, the company confirmed this morning. A closing sale is now underway, although a closing date has not yet been announced. The IT'SUGAR company filed for bankruptcy in September.

Rockville GameStop closing

Devastating news for gamers and those trying to pass the extended time at home in Rockville with the diversion of video games: GameStop is closing its store at the Fallsgrove Village Center at 14929 Shady Grove Road. 

A closing sale is now underway. As you can see, many of the shelves are starting to look sparse as popular titles are snapped up.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Rockville's ABC's & 1-2-3's teacher supply store closing

A rare teacher educational-supply store in Rockville is sporting a sign that has become ubiquitous in store windows countywide in recent years: Going Out of Business. ABC's & 1-2-3's at 825 Rockville Pike in Wintergreen Plaza is now holding a closing sale. A sign in the window advertises a 50%-off sale.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Ssong's Hot Dog opening today at Montgomery Mall

Ssong's Hot Dog
 is ready to make its eagerly-awaited debut at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Their newest location in the mall's Dining Terrace food court will open today, December 24, 2020. Ssong's Hot Dog features Korean-style hot dogs with a variety of toppings you can choose, served on skewers like a corn dog. There are also seafood, potato and rice options, as well as their Tornado Fries.

Montgomery County judge won't end indoor dining ban

Parker Lewis can't lose. And neither can Montgomery County government in a Maryland courtroom, it can often seem. The recent decision by a judge in Anne Arundel County overturning that jurisdiction's ban on indoor and outdoor dining set up an excellent measuring stick for the Montgomery County decision that came last night in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Judge James Bonifant declined to grant an injunction against Montgomery County's ban on indoor dining. Another hearing on the matter will be held after the Christmas holiday. Similar efforts to overturn bans were also rejected in Baltimore City and Prince George's County on Wednesday. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Car stolen in Rockville

City of Rockville police responded to a report of a stolen car early yesterday morning. The vehicle was taken from a commercial parking lot in the 14600 block of Rothgeb Drive around 2:00 AM.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Assault at Rockville grocery store

City of Rockville police responded to a report of a second-degree assault at a grocery store Saturday night. The assault was reported at a supermarket in the 1900 block of Veirs Mill Road in the Twinbrook area around 6:55 PM that evening.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Gameworks coming to Montgomery County

is coming to Montgomery County in 2021. The entertainment center and gaming chain has leased space on Level 1 at Westfield Montgomery Mall, Westfield announced yesterday. 

While similar to Dave & Buster's, Gameworks distinguishes itself with its emphasis on eSports. Their venues feature an eSports lounge with games running on top-of-the-line PCs and consoles. Gameworks also serves food and drinks like D&B, in The Works Kitchen. This will be their eighth location, and the second on the east coast.

YouTube star Mr. Beast, rapper Tyga's ghost kitchens now delivering to Rockville

Ghost kitchens are the hot trend in the pandemic-stricken hospitality industry these days. But it's not just neighborhood restaurant owners and local entrepreneurs testing the increasingly-hot waters; celebrities now want into the game. Two names familiar to many young people have now entered the market in Montgomery County and the District: top YouTuber Mr. Beast, and rapper Tyga.

Mr. Beast has just launched MrBeast Burger, a ghost kitchen burger "restaurant" you can order from via most popular food delivery apps (or the official MrBeast Burger app), at 122 Kentlands Boulevard and 1825 Connecticut Avenue N.W. in the District. Tyga is selling delivery-only Tyga Bites from...those same two addresses.

What's going on here? Both men are taking a Jeff Bezos approach to these ventures. Just as Bezos used existing Whole Foods grocery stores to further his delivery and logistics goals, MrBeast Burger and TygaBites are using Buca di Beppo restaurants across the country to launch these ghost kitchens. Your burgers, chicken and other menu items will be prepared by the chefs at those restaurants, and Mr. Beast and Tyga get a cut of the profits. Using this method, Mr. Beast was able to open 300 locations nationwide.

Despite the two geographically-disparate locations, apps appear to allow a surprisingly large number of Montgomery County residents to qualify for delivery from one or the other sites. Just open your favorite delivery app, and see if you can get a delivery. Bethesda seems to work from the D.C. location, Rockville from Kentlands, etc. Expect to see more of these gimmicks in the near future, as it appears to be a business model that any celebrity can plug into for Trump-like naming rights, while boosting sales for the Buca di Beppo chain.

How long before Tarnation Bob's Tarnation Burger pops up on delivery apps nationwide?

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Montgomery County police officer attacked while buying food at Chipotle in Rockville


Nyziere London

A Montgomery County police officer was sucker-punched by an assailant while standing in line to buy food at the Chipotle at 14925 Shady Grove Road in Rockville on Thursday night around 6:48 PM. Nyziere London, 21, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, allegedly approached the officer and suddenly punched him twice in the face. Another County police officer paying at the counter rushed over to assist the victimized officer in taking London into custody.

London has been charged with second-degree assault and resisting arrest. He was transported to the Central Processing Unit and is being held without bond.

Chief Marcus Jones released a statement regarding the unprovoked assault on the officer, who is a 26-year veteran of the force. “Officers work hard every day to ensure that our community stays safe. Police work can often put officers in harm’s way, but I’m saddened that this unprovoked attack occurred while this officer was attempting to simply grab a quick bite to eat during his shift. This is another danger to our profession.”

Police across the country have been under heavy criticism and scrutiny this year, which has led to lower morale - and in some cases attacks on police officers - in numerous jurisdictions nationwide. Here, the Montgomery County Council has consistently painted local law enforcement in a negative light in its public statements and legislation over the last several years.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Fallsgrove Liquor & Wine employee tests positive for Covid-19

Store closes for cleaning

Montgomery County government-operated Fallsgrove Liquor & Wine in Rockville closed temporarily after an employee tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. County officials say the employee was last in the store on Monday, December 14. A specialized team is being brought in to disinfect the store, which will reopen once it has the go-ahead from County health officials.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Maryland Gov. limits travel to essential purposes only, requires out-of-state travelers to quarantine or provide negative test

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) held a press conference late this afternoon, announcing several executive orders and coronavirus protocol directives. Hogan announced he is lowering the state's public gathering limit from 25 people to 10. The governor also issued an emergency order limiting travel to essential purposes only. Travelers from out-of-state (or Marylanders returning from out-of-state) must self-quarantine for 10 days, or provide a negative Covid-19 test, upon arriving in the state. 

Mandatory telework has been proscribed for all state employees who can. Hogan said that starting December 21, front-facing government offices will be temporarily suspending all in-person interactions with the public for two weeks.

Echoing New Zealand's exemption for the Easter Bunny earlier this year, Hogan exempted Santa Claus, elves, and reindeer from travel restrictions. He said Dr. Anthony Fauci told him in a Zoom conference earlier today that Santa Claus has immunity to Covid-19.

Hogan said the state will provide $30 million in assistance for restaurants, and $15 million more for entertainment venues, hurt by the pandemic. He also announced $40 million being added to the Temporary Assistance Program, and $40 million to care providers for the developmentally disabled.

The governor asked residents to do their part to reduce the spread of the virus, and to look forward to "a better, healthier and happier 2021."

Car stolen in Rockville

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a stolen car in Rockville Tuesday morning. The stolen vehicle had been parked on the street in the 14200 block of Woodcrest Drive. It is believed the car was taken sometime between 9:00 PM Monday night and 9:00 AM Tuesday morning. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Gyuzo Japanese BBQ closes at Rockville Town Square until Montgomery County indoor dining ban ends

The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved an executive order banning indoor dining yesterday. Interestingly, the Council did not put out a press release to trumpet their vote, a vote that angered many in the hospitality sector. In response, Gyuzo Japanese BBQ at Rockville Town Square was forced to immediately close for the duration of the ban, and to lay off employees ten days before Christmas. 

Due to the restaurant's concept of cooking food at your table, the impact is most severe at Gyuzo. Other restaurant tenants at RTS are soldiering on with tents and heaters, like Finnegan's Wake. Gyuzo is not alone in closing as a result of the indoor dining ban; Tastee Diner, a Bethesda institution for decades, also announced it was closing until the ban is lifted. That could potentially be spring at the earliest.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Maryland SHA treating MD 355 ahead of Wednesday snow event

A significant snowstorm approaching the northeast is expected to drop up to 3 inches of snow on Montgomery County Wednesday into Thursday. The key variable will be how much comes down as snow, and how much as rain. Maryland's State Highway Administration isn't taking any chances. Rockville Pike (MD 355) had already received a layer of deicing solution between Rockville and downtown Bethesda last night, 24 hours before the storm was even expected to arrive.

Monday, December 14, 2020

VisArts seeking rent relief from City of Rockville


, a visual arts 501(c)(3) non-profit, is seeking rent abatement from the City of Rockville. In a letter to the Mayor & Council on November 24, VisArts Executive Director Alice Nappy asked for rent forgiveness for the period of January 1 through June 30, 2021. Nappy wrote that the organization's revenue has plummeted, due to the inability to hold its normal classes and the local ban on large gatherings. In the latter case, VisArts has been unable to stage large events that would ordinarily bring in at least $350,000 a year alone.

Nappy wrote that VisArts has applied for all relief programs available, and has cut every possible cost. City staff are recommending approval of the rent relief. The Mayor and Council will take up the request at its virtual meeting tonight at 6:00 PM.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Armed robbery in Rockville

City of Rockville police responded to a report of an armed robbery Wednesday night. The robbery was reported at an apartment building in the 1000 block of Rockville Pike around 9:40 PM. According to crime data, the weapon used was not a firearm.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Potbelly trolls Panera Bread in Rockville Town Center

Panera Bread
remains closed in the ground floor of the Upton/Cambria Suites building in Rockville Town Center. Neighboring sandwich shop Potbelly is having a little fun at its rival's expense, trolling for potential customers for its 199 E. Montgomery Avenue location a block away at Regal Row.

Directly under the "temporarily closed" message from Panera, Potbelly has taped its own message to sandwich seekers. "But Potbelly is just up the hill...mmmm....Mmmmm....MMMMMM....DELICIOUS!!"

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Indecent exposure at Rockville laundromat

City of Rockville police responded to a report of indecent exposure at a Rockville laundromat yesterday afternoon. The incident occurred at a laundromat in the 2200 block of Veirs Mill Road around 5:00 PM, according to crime data.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Rockville construction update: Ansel Apartments (Photos)

Here's a look at the progress of the Ansel Apartments in Rockville Town Center. This is between E. Middle Lane and "Regal Row," on the former public parking lot site outside the Regal Cinemas. Duball, LLC is the developer, and Bozzuto will be the property manager. Delivery of Ansel is anticipated in the fall of 2021.