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Dave & Buster’s Is Closed In White Flint Mall

by Aaron Kraut — August 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm 4,181 26 Comments

Dave & Buster's closed at White Flint Mall

Almost three weeks after a federal judge sealed its fate, the Dave & Buster’s location at White Flint Mall has closed.

The restaurant, bar and arcade closed for good Wednesday, catching a steady stream of potential customers by surprise.

Last month, Judge Roger Titus gave Dave & Buster’s 30 days to leave its space at the mall, where it had been for 18 years. It was one of the last remaining tenants of the facility. Property owner Lerner Enterprises plans to tear down and rebuild it into a massive mixed-use town center project.

Titus ruled the chain violated the “radius restriction” part of its lease because it opened another restaurant location in 2006 at Arundel Mills Mall.

Dave & Buster's closed at White Flint MallIn court, White Flint Mall said it only brought up the radius restriction after Dave & Buster’s sued the mall in an effort to stop its redevelopment plans. Lord & Taylor sued the mall in similar fashion.

Dave & Buster’s General Manager Robert Solomon told Bethesda Magazine that most of the roughly 100 employees who worked at the White Flint location will be transferred to other locations. He said the games and equipment will also be moved to other locations.

An employee said any leftover ticket winnings or game credits can be used at other locations.

A sign on the doors thanked Bethesda for 18 years of patronage. The only major businesses left in the mostly vacant mall are Lord & Taylor and P.F. Chang’s.

A number of Planning Department approvals remain before Lerner Enterprises can begin redevelopment. It last went before the Planning Board in October 2012 with its sketch plan. It’s unclear when the developer hopes to return with more detailed plans.

  • Lindsay Luke

    That sucks. I figured they would take the whole 30 days. I had some value on my card, but its not worth the drive to Arundel Mills.

    • http://www.schuminweb.com/ Ben Schumin

      I’d guess that by “vacate”, they have to be completely out of the space, including keys handed over, by that 30-day timeframe. Thus they likely ran the business normally for as long as they could, and then took the remaining time to quickly wind up operations at the location.

  • Frank

    “The only major businesses left in the mostly vacant mall are Lord & Taylor and P.F. Chang’s.”

    Actually those are the only businesses, period. Lord & Taylor owns their building and will remain, so P.F. Chang’s is the only thing keeping the mall open. Everything besides those and Dave & Buster’s had closed by June.

    • Fred

      As I recall, the Lord & Taylor was part of the main Mall building.

      • Frank

        Lord & Taylor as well as the former Bloomingdale’s smoothly adjoined the rest of the mall but other than that are/were pretty much self-contained. Bloomingdale’s was torn down last spring and the mall was sealed off on that end.

        Presumably Lord & Taylor will build a nice new wall on the side where the mall entrances used to be, rather than leaving jagged edges and boarded-up former entrances, or a temporary metal structure like where Bloomingdale’s used to be.

        • http://www.schuminweb.com/ Ben Schumin

          Correct. Most mall anchor stores are like that, where they are not structurally part of the mall, but rather are built right against it and adjoin it. They have separate systems for the most part, too. For instance, look at the fire alarms in a mall, and then at the fire alarms in an anchor store in the same mall. I’ll bet they’re different.

    • justsayin’

      Uh, Lord & Taylor quite clearly leases their space in White Flint Mall from White Flint Mall.


      • Frank

        Thanks, I stand corrected. An 80(?)-year lease. Not exactly “at-will”, though.

  • Thoroughlyamused

    This sucks. I hope they find another spot in Bethesda. Good times, good times.

  • Bob

    Good riddance. That place was a dump with terrible food.

    • Thoroughlyamused

      The food sucked, but the booze kept flowing and the games were awesome.

      • rorojo

        You can always bring a flask to Chuck E Cheese

      • josfitz

        Yes, let’s not forget the booze – ah wilderness …

  • thuff

    I was up there last night to run all the credits off the various cards that I had been accumulating over the years, the place (D&B) was hopping. I asked them when they were closing, they said, next Monday. Odd that they didn’t know.

  • Frank

    The randomly placed trashcan with the top askew is a nice touch.

  • Frank

    P.F. Chang’s has a door directly to the outside, and that door is right next to the entrance of Lord & Taylor. So there is probably no need to keep the interior of the mall open now.

    • http://www.schuminweb.com/ Ben Schumin

      There’s still a jewelry store inside the mall on the first floor, so yes, they still have to keep the interior of the mall open for now.

      • Frank

        I could have sworn that Khoury Bros. was already closed, the last time I went to the mall back in May or June. The signs were still there, the lights were on, but there was no inventory or staff.

        • http://www.schuminweb.com/ Ben Schumin

          I was there a week and some ago, and there was inventory and staff in place, and the gate was open, going about business as usual in there.

          • thuff

            They can’t close the first floor yet, but they could close the second and third floors now.

          • http://www.schuminweb.com/ Ben Schumin

            Oh, most definitely. They could probably close 2 and 3 without issue, but how much do you want to bet that Lord and Taylor would pitch a massive fit if they did that?

  • Neil Caulfield

    Will be interesting to see how this new town center project they are working on will benefit such a strange area. They are going to have to improve traffic patterns on 355 and clean up the surrounding shopping centers

    • Frank

      I believe that most of the properties immediately north of the mall – the area between the mall, Nicholson Lane, Rockville Pike, and the White Flint Plaza, are already targeted for redevelopment. The former Staples/Eatzi’s property on the north side of Nicholson is also spoken-for.

      Regarding traffic patterns, extending Executive Boulevard east into the site of the mall, and extending Nebel Street south to meet it, plus a more urban grid of streets, should help. Also, realigning Executive Boulevard between Marinelli Road and Old Georgetown should simply the road network.

      • josfitz

        And, can I make one more plea for the adoption of the successful “All turns from right lane” traffic pattern utilized in the NYC area. It saves time and increases traffic thru-put by eliminating the need for left turns and their storage lanes. The adoption of a one-way street pattern in a street grid can also serve to effectively increase traffic efficiency. One of the chief problems we have here is the lack of parallel through streets. The Pike is just about it. Old Georgetown Road is not viable since it empties directly into the Pike. The utilization of Executive Blvd. and Jefferson can help but again they are not designed to be through streets that could actually serve as an alternative to Rockville Pike. It would appear the smartest thing that could be done quickly and without much disruption would be to (1) add a fourth lane in each direction to Rockville Pike (2) to eliminate left turns and to (3) add right turn deceleration/turning lanes.

        • http://www.schuminweb.com/ Ben Schumin

          So you’re suggesting jughandles on Rockville Pike? Interesting idea.

  • http://www.schuminweb.com/ Ben Schumin

    Agreed. I would like to see them reopen in another location in the same general area. Arundel Mills is a bit far to go for D&B’s, and the White Flint location was hopping right up until it closed, too.


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