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Westfield Montgomery Shows Off New Dining Terrace, Movie Theater

by Aaron Kraut — August 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm 1,583 5 Comments

Long gone are the animatronic chefs that would speak in thick French accents as you were sitting down to eat in Westfield Montgomery mall’s food court.

Since last October, the shopping mall conglomerate has embarked on a $90 million renovation and expansion of the Bethesda property that has included getting rid of the traditional food court concept altogether.

Now, it’s the Dining Terrace, packed with modern-style seating, 40-foot-high ceilings, five mature trees and soon to be home to three full-service restaurants, plus the escalator entrance to a luxury 16-screen movie theater out of Los Angeles.

“We started to get feedback from retailers and customers a few years ago that we needed to raise our game a little bit, bring a little bit of a new face to the property,” said Westfield’s Eric Howard on a Wednesday media tour. “We really fel that this move will help position us as the retail destination of choice in Bethesda.”

Many of the mall’s fast casual food options remain with new fixtures, signage and furniture. The yet-to-be-opened section of the Dining Terrace will include restaurants such as Cava Mezze Grill, Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria and Boston-based steak and seafood favorite MET, which will be known as MET Bethesda.

Cava is expected to open in November. The movie theater, ArcLight Cinemas’ first foray outside of the Los Angeles area, should open in October.

Gretchen McCourt, an executive vice president with ArcLight, said it’s one of the few theaters to offer a mix of big Hollywood blockbusters and more speciality films.

It’ll have pre-reserved seating, large seats and take up the upper floors of what used to be a parking garage.

The $90 million worth of work included many of the lounge areas, seating and fixtures that have been installed throughout the mall, which has also worked hard to add new restaurants such as Blaze Pizza, the Cheesecake Factory and Bobby’s Burger Palace throughout the property. CRAVE, fusion American and sushi restaurant, will open in the fall.

But the crown jewel is no doubt the Dining Terrace. It’s double the size of the food court many came to know and love, and with what Westfield says is a more diverse roster of dining selections.

“What we had before was a food court,” Howard said, “a lot of quick-service offerings, seating packages. This is a new prototype.”

  • rorojo

    Interesting to see an aging, traditional, enclosed shopping mall trying to elevate its game instead of just tearing it down and redeveloping. It’ll be interesting see if Westfield’s bet on Montgomery county pays off.

    • josfitz

      I hear you but after twenty years of shopping on-line for everything, hadn’t been to the mall for twenty years I was very pleasantly surprised to see what has already been done out there. The new additions in the food area are overdue and will be welcomed by many in my opinion. I must give current management credit for realizing what needed to be done to upgrade and improve and for doing just that. The new eating choices leaning more towards actual restaurants representing different venues in addition to fast-food should be a big improvement.

  • Laura LJ Painton

    I’m really excited! I like that they kept Sarku and Mirch Masala.. I literally will make trips from home in downtown Bethesda up to the mall to get those when we’re in the mood. Additions such as Bobby’s Burgers make it just that much better! Looking forward to the new MET as well (not familiar with it). So far I really like the look and feel of how it is shaping up – much more Bethesda-esque than it was before! The movie theater sounds wonderful, and as an avid movie-goer, I’ll look forward to enjoying that.

  • Rhett

    Even though it was initially supposed to be open in the spring, I’m very impressed that the ArcLight is now on pace to open before iPic just a couple miles away. Three months ago, from looking at the construction, that didn’t appear to be the case

  • justsayin’

    The talking French chefs! A childhood favorite. They should bring ‘em back, put them right in front of the “five mature trees”

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