Monday, January 31, 2022

Pupuseria Mamá Emilia opens in Rockville

Pupuseria Mamá Emilia
is now open at 785-H Rockville Pike, in the Ritchie Center. "We are happy to announce to you our favorite customers, we are finally open to the public in our new location," the restaurant posted in a comment right here on Rockville Nights. "Please stop by and come and visit us."

Here is a look at the takeout menu. In addition to dine-in and takeout, you can also have your selections delivered by DoorDash.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Warby Parker opening Rockville location

Warby Parker
, the eyeglass retailer known for online sales but growing larger on the bricks-and-mortar front, will open a new store at Pike & Rose this year. It will be located at 11811 Grand Park Avenue. The company says the store will open this summer. Warby Parker already has locations north and south of Rockville, at Bethesda Row and Downtown Crown. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Drive-thru Dunkin' Donuts planned for Shady Grove Road in Rockville

A new Dunkin' Donuts store with drive thru service is planned for the Shady Grove Road corridor, on the border of Rockville and Gaithersburg. The new store will take over the vacant United Bank branch at 16268 Frederick Road, which actually has more prominent frontage onto Shady Grove than MD 355. This follows the recent pattern of Dunkin' stores moving into vacated banks that already have significant drive-thru infrastructure in place. There is an existing Dunkin' Donuts just around the corner at 16220 Frederick Road.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Signage installed at Ebisu Life Store in Rockville (Photos)

Permanent signage has been installed at the future Ebisu Life Store at 836 Rockville Pike. The Japanese grocery store is currently hiring staff. Last night, both signs were lit. Interior fit-out of the store is still a work-in-progress, however, as there is no shelving, merchandise, or checkout counter yet. When it does open, it promises to be one of the most interesting retail additions to the Pike yet.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

DoorDash to bring DashMart convenience store service to Rockville

DashMart items awaiting orders via
virtual convenience store service

Montgomery County DoorDash users will get access to the company's DashMart convenience store service in the coming months. Much like the "ghost kitchens" that serve a variety of menus from one restaurant - or a remote kitchen that isn't in a restaurant at all - DashMart functions as a ghost convenience store. DoorDash drivers will pick up your order from a central warehouse in Rockville, including anything from milk and eggs to ice cream, soda and potato chips. DashMart also partners with local businesses who wish to sell their packaged food items, artisan wares and home goods through the delivery service.

Photo courtesy DoorDash

Monday, January 24, 2022

Rockville Wegmans/Twinbrook Quarter update (Photos)

Sheeting, shoring and excavation are the primary steps taken at the future site of Wegmans and the Twinbrook Quarter development at Rockville Pike and Halpine Road since my last update. Contractors are now grading the excavated area for construction of the underground parking garage. The shuttered Fuddruckers restaurant remains a prominent sight on the horizon beyond the excavation for the B.F. Saul project.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Rockville Qdoba update (Photos)

Construction of the new Qdoba Mexican Eats restaurant at the Rock Grove shopping center is in the later stages of completion. Both the dining room and kitchen areas are shaping into their final forms. Even the menu flatscreens have been installed. 

Still no tables and chairs, though, and some basic painting and finishes still to be added in places. Qdoba is located at the corner of Frederick Road and Shady Grove Road, on the border of Rockville and Gaithersburg.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Update on Pupuseria Mama Emilia in Rockville (Photos)

There's been more activity at the future Pupuseria Mama Emilia at 785-H Rockville Pike in the Ritchie Center. More signage has been installed, so we now know what the operating hours will be. They are seeking a cook with experience making pupusas. And we have an image of Mama herself now on the storefront.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Signage installed at Rockville Beer & Wine in Derwood

The permanent sign has been installed at Rockville Beer & Wine, opening soon at 15809 Frederick Road in Derwood. It was already lit last night. In addition to adult beverages, the store will also sell Maryland Lottery tickets. A hearing on the store's liquor license is now scheduled for tomorrow, January 20, 2022.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Mr. Smoothie closes in Rockville

Mr. Smoothie
has closed at 33-G Maryland Avenue at Rockville Town Square. The shop was fairly popular, and had made improvements under new management in recent years, so it's unclear why it has now gone out of business.

Car stolen from Rockville parking lot

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a stolen vehicle in Rockville Sunday afternoon, January 16, 2022. The vehicle was taken from a commercial parking lot in the 500 block of Hungerford Drive at 4:10 PM, according to crime data.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Armed robbery at Rockville Shell station

Montgomery County police rushed to the scene of an armed robbery at a Rockville Shell gas station this past Saturday afternoon, January 15, 2022. The robbery occurred at the Shell station at 1911 Rockvile Pike at Rollins Avenue at 4:13 PM, according to crime data. MoCo PG News on Twitter reported that the suspect implied that he had a gun, and escaped with $500-600 in cash before police arrived. A resident on a local listserv said that the clerk was able to signal his distress to customer at the station, who then called police.

Photo courtesy Google Street View (gas is about $1 more now)

Friday, January 14, 2022

Pedestrian struck on Rockville Pike

A pedestrian was struck in Rockville at 10:55 AM this morning. The collision occurred at the intersection of Rockville Pike and Thompson Avenue, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Pete Piringer. There is no word on the condition of the victim at this time.

Image courtesy Google Maps

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Developer seeks to convert Rockville office building to residential

The already-weak office market in Montgomery County hasn't been helped by the pandemic. Now a developer is seeking to convert a Rockville office building to residential apartments, and then add 17 townhomes to the surrounding property. A virtual public meeting on the proposal for 22 W. Jefferson Street has been scheduled for January 18, 2022 at 7:00 PM. 

To participate in the event, join the meeting at that time and enter Meeting Number (access code): 2633 580 7334 and Meeting Password: Y6MySgEaZ88. You can also join by phone (or for those joining by computer without a microphone) by dialing +1-408-418-9388 United States Toll, and entering Access Code: 2633 580 7334.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Pupuseria Mama Emilia opening in Rockville

Pupuseria Mama Emilia
is coming soon to Rockville. The Salvadoran restaurant will be opening at 785-H Rockville Pike, in the Ritchie Center, where the sign is already up and lit. This space was previously home to Dokiya Ramen. Pupuseria Mama Emilia is a new venture from the owners of Pupuseria La Familia in Beltsville, which also features the recipes of Mama Emilia.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Water main break at New Mark Commons in Rockville

There is a water main break at 138 New Mark Esplanade, in the New Mark Commons community of Rockville. Thirty-five nearby homes will be impacted by water outages during the repairs, which the City of Rockville says are now getting underway. A city public works crew is now on-scene to excavate the water main.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Rockville Planning Commission to review Fortune Terrace development this week

A proposed residential development on Fortune Terrace in Rockville will go before the Planning Commission this Wednesday night, January 12, 2022 at 7:00 PM. Developer EYA has proposed building 99 townhomes, 96 multi-family units and 213 multi-family senior housing units at 11511 Fortune Terrace. An existing office building would be demolished to clear the way for the development if it is approved; 70,000 square foot Lifetime Fitness gym would remain on the site. Planning staff is recommending approval of the plan, with conditions.

Friday, January 7, 2022

MCPS drops 5% threshold for virtual learning

MCPS Interim Superintendent 
Monifa McKnight

Montgomery County Public Schools announced its latest coronavirus policy about-face this afternoon. After starting the spring semester with a 5% threshold for Covid-19 cases that would trigger a school to switch to virtual learning, eleven schools were forced to go online. But when more than 100 schools met the threshold days later, MCPS canceled a scheduled Thursday email update to parents. It then announced in the past hour that it is dropping the 5% threshold for virtual learning.

"Moving forward, MCPS and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will examine schools on a case-by-case basis to determine if any particular school needs to transition to virtual learning for a designated period of time," Interim Superintendent of Schools Monifa McKnight and Acting Chief Health Officer James Bridgers wrote in this afternoon's statement. "Factors considered will continue to include the number of students and staff who have tested positive; the number of students in quarantine; the number of staff absent for COVID-related reasons; and the level of spread of the virus in the school."

McKnight and Bridgers cited the fact that the state of Maryland does not call for a specific threshold to suspend in-class learning. Their statement did not explain why the threshold was adopted if not recommended by the state. It said the Thursday emails will resume next week. Take-home rapid test kits will also be distributed to all students and staff next week, the statement added. Students who test positive will have to isolate for 10 days from the date of the positive test.

Photo courtesy MCPS

New public parking garage opens in Rockville Town Center

Parking is always a hot topic in Rockville Town Center. Now there is a new option for drivers: the public parking garage at the Ansel apartments at 33 Monroe Street. The just-opened garage is operated by Colonial Parking.

There aren't any businesses to patronize at the Ansel yet, but you can still park there when going to any other nearby destination in the town center. In fact, there may never be any businesses in the Ansel. Despite developer Duball, LLC's success in attracting desirable national brands like World of Beer and Panera Bread to the sister Upton/Cambria Suites building across the street, the company is now seeking permission to convert the ground floor retail spaces in the Ansel to residential apartments.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Sexual assault reported at Rockville store

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a sexual assault at a retail store in Rockville Tuesday night, January 4, 2022. At least one individual reported being fondled, as well as being the victim of a 2nd degree assault at the store, which was in the 5700 block of Bou Avenue. Target is on that block. The incident was reported at 7:12 PM Tuesday, according to crime data.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Westfield warns of staffing shortages at Montgomery Mall, Wheaton Plaza amid omicron surge, snow

Mall operator Westfield is warning patrons about staff shortages at both of its Montgomery County properties. Blue alert banners have been posted at the top of the home pages for Westfield's Montgomery Mall and Wheaton Plaza malls advising patrons to call ahead to verify if a particular store is open regular hours. Hours may vary at the moment, Westfield says, due to "unexpected changes in store staffing levels." This week, factors have included not only Covid-19 and the media-hyped "Great Resignation," but also winter weather (more of which is on the way in the coming days).

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

11 Montgomery County Public Schools switching to virtual learning for 2 weeks

Montgomery County Public Schools are closed today, but students at eleven schools won't be returning to the classroom anytime soon. MCPS announced this morning that the following schools are switching to virtual learning for two weeks, due to student coronavirus case numbers:

Cannon Road ES

Forest Knolls ES

Hallie Wells MS

Monocacy ES

North Chevy Chase ES

Roberto Clemente MS

Rock Terrace School

Rosemont ES

Seneca Valley HS

Sherwood ES

Waters Landing ES 

Roaming Rooster aiming for spring 2022 opening in Rockville (Photos)

The signage is up at Roaming Rooster at Pike & Rose. This local chicken sandwich chain is booming, and opened its latest area location in Tysons a couple of months back. Roaming Rooster says it currently expects this restaurant at 11586 Old Georgetown Road to open this spring. The closure of Taylor Gourmet at Pike & Rose will be a boon for Roaming Rooster in the lunchtime sandwich search at the property, with many offices being added to the site in the next two years.