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Taste of Bethesda 2014 Lineup

by Aaron Kraut | July 29, 2014 at 12:15 pm | 789 views | No Comments

2013 Taste of Bethesda, Cordell Avenue

Downtown Bethesda’s signature event is officially set for Oct. 11 and will include dishes from at least 47 Bethesda restaurants and live music.

The 2014 Taste of Bethesda will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. along Norfolk, Fairmont, St Elmo, Cordell and Del Ray Avenues in Woodmont Triangle. The Bethesda Urban Partnership-run event attracted between 38,000 and 40,000 people in 2013, thanks largely to some good weather.

Taste tickets are sold at the event in bundles of four tickets for $5. Drinks and smaller food items generally cost one ticket each, while more substantial dishes can range from two to four tickets.

Some restaurants that have opened since last year’s event, including Tyber Bierhaus, Bethesda Curry Kitchen, PizzaPass and Heckman’s Delicatessen, will take part. The full food lineup is after the jump.

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Bethesda Big Train Head Into Playoffs As No. 1 Seed

by Aaron Kraut | July 28, 2014 at 3:25 pm | 81 views | No Comments

The Montgomery Cup, via Bethesda Big TrainWith their sixth regular season championship in the 10-year history of the Cal Ripken League, members of the Bethesda Big Train are guaranteed home playoff games on at least Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Big Train, a team of college baseball players who make their home in Bethesda for part of the summer, is traditionally one of the strongest teams in the league, despite a new cast of players each year.

A 31-9 regular season record over the last two months gave them a six-game advantage on the second-place Baltimore Redbirds. All of the league’s 11 teams are based in the Baltimore and Washington metro areas.

The Big Train will host a yet-to-be-determined opponent on Tuesday night and host another playoff game on Wednesday (win or lose Tuesday’s game) at Shirley Povich Field in Cabin John Regional Park (10600 Westlake Dr.).

The Big Train are also the winners of the Montgomery Cup, a trophy given out annually to the Montgomery County Cal Ripken League squad that has the best head-to-head record agains the three other county-based teams.

For more information, visit the Big Train’s official website.

Photo via Bethesda Big Train

No Bethesda-Chevy Chase Restaurant Week This Summer

by Aaron Kraut | July 28, 2014 at 2:35 pm | 618 views | No Comments

Bethesda Row, Flickr pool photo by AmyMarieMooreSince 2005, late July into early August has meant special fixed price menus at many of the highest profile restaurants in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.

This year, there will be no summer restaurant week dedicated to Bethesda. There wasn’t a restaurant week in January either, which had become the traditional time for a winter restaurant week promotion featuring 25-30 local eateries.

Jeff Heinenman, chef and owner of Grapeseed and Freddy’s Lobster & Clams, said there were no official area restaurant weeks this year because there just hasn’t been a sufficient lead organizer.

The Washington Post ran the events up to a few years ago. Last year, the Restaurant Association of Maryland took it over, with sponsorships from Bethesda Magazine and help from longtime supporters such as the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, Bethesda Urban Partnership and NIH.

Hillary Yeh, marketing coordinator with the Restaurant Association of Maryland, said the Association would not be running the event anymore. Heinenman said the statewide Association didn’t want to run an event with such a local focus.

“I’m not sure who will take on the management of this effort for Bethesda in the future,” wrote B-CC Chamber President Ginanne Italiano in an email. “It’s very time consuming, staff-intensive and can be pretty expensive as far as advertising rates go, which local restaurants have to take into consideration.”

During last summer’s restaurant week, restaurants offered a two-course lunch for $12 or $16 and, or a three-course dinner for $33.

“There’s nothing happening because there’s no one to run it,” said Heinenman, whose Grapeseed was a lead sponsor of last year’s event. “The Post was big enough to use some of their leverage for marketing.”

Heinenman said some Bethesda restaurants have got into D.C.’s restaurant week. Federal Realty runs a regular restaurant week for its restaurant tenants at Bethesda Row.

Flickr pool photo by AmyMarieMoore

SBW: Gluten-Free Food Delivery Company Expands To Bethesda

by Aaron Kraut | July 25, 2014 at 10:10 am | 293 views | No Comments

This is Small Business Weekly, a recurring feature in which we’ll spotlight a small, independently owned business in Bethesda or Chevy Chase. Got a business you think we should check out? Drop us a line at desk[at]bethesdanow[dot]com.

The Green Spoon founder Hanson Cheng, via Ethan Rothstein/ARLNow.comIt’s not often a gluten-free food delivery service wins an award for best tasting food at an event full of established restaurants.

That’s what happened to The Green Spoon founder Hanson Cheng and chef Donn Souliyadath in May, when their dish of Kofte meatballs with tzatziki, spiced kale and chickpeas won the best entree award among 46 restaurants at the Taste of Arlington.

It came at a fortunate time for Cheng, who has expanded the Arlington-based business to other areas around the Washington region, including Bethesda, where The Green Spoon has about 12 clients.

At least a week before the customers want the meal, they order it online from The Green Spoon’s website. They can choose which day they want it and which meal. Lunches are $12.95, dinners are $16.95 and kids meals are $8.95. All are gluten free and all our sourced from local ingredients Cheng said are delivered a day or a day-and-a-half after bought from a farmer, farmers market or other vendor.

The concept is simple: No genetically altered ingredients and no chemical substitutes that you’ll typically find in gluten-free breads or pastas. The Green Spoon, which Cheng founded in January in part because of his own interest in nutrition and fitness, avoids gluten-heavy foods altogether.

“I wanted a chef to go into a farmers market and make and plan out a healthy meal for me for every day of the entire week,” Cheng said. “Basically, I thought about what a personal chef does. And then I got the idea that you could deliver that to people.”

As word about the company grew — no doubt helped by the Taste of Arlington showing — people from Bethesda and other places began inquiring about what it would take to get deliveries.

Cheng said he uses a simply formula to determine when it would be economically viable for his company, now 12 employees strong, to deliver to a particular area. Once he got about five customers in Bethesda, it made sense to start deliveries.

Souliyadath cooks the meals out of an operating Arlington restaurant, which mainly means cooking overnight when the restaurant is closed. Based on the company’s early success, he’s hoping to find a kitchen space just for The Green Spoon.

“That’s our number one priority,” Cheng said. “My guys are cooking overnight during off-hours and it’s just killing them. We’re growing very quickly.”

Cheng said what separates The Green Spoon from similar services such as Power Supply is that while his company uses many of the same Paleo diet principles, it’s not quite as strict and includes direct delivery to customers, instead of pre-arranged pick-up spots.

“It’s not rocket science,” Cheng said. “We do have a great chef, but it just takes a lot more planning. So to win in Taste of Arlington against all these restaurants that don’t have a health focus, it showed people we can make healthy meals that taste amazing.”

Photo via Ethan Rothstein/ARLNow.com

Small Business Weekly Archive

Microsoft To Open Retail Store At Westfield Montgomery Mall

by Aaron Kraut | July 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 263 views | 1 Comment

Westfield Montgomery Mall, via Westfield MontgomeryMicrosoft is putting a retail store in Westfield Montgomery mall.

The computer and software giant will open its third retail store in Maryland on the mall’s second level, in the Macy’s wing. It will be in direct competition with the mall’s Apple Store, also on the second floor.

Microsoft’s retail side operated a pop-up store at Westfield Montgomery during the 2012 holiday season.

On Thursday, Microsoft announced the 1,200-square-foot store will employ between 25 and 30 people.

Here’s the rundown from the press release:

Microsoft Stores offer an assortment of best-in-class products, including Windows 8.1 PCs, tablets, Windows Phones, Xbox One, Microsoft Office 365 and more. Customers also receive end-to-end service with an Answer Desk and knowledgeable staff to answer questions, make recommendations, and help with PC setups and other services, so they can walk out the door with a product that’s ready to run.

Photo via Westfield Montgomery

Photographer On A Mission To Chronicle Downtown Bethesda

by Aaron Kraut | July 23, 2014 at 3:05 pm | 553 views | 2 Comments

Maybe it’s his interest in city planning, his eye for architecture or the challenge of making good photos out of old, unremarkable buildings.

Perhaps it’s sentimental. He’s not sure exactly why, but Potomac-based photographer Boris Feldblyum is on a mission to chronicle downtown Bethesda in the midst of substantial change.

Feldblyum immigrated to the area from the former Soviet Union in the 1970′s and in the last 10 years, has shot a variety of downtown Bethesda buildings as a side project and displayed them on his website.

His regular clients include architecture firms and real estate developers. But when he’s strolling through downtown Bethesda, he often finds himself pulling out his camera and snapping shots of structures most probably don’t give a second thought to until those structures are being torn down.

“It’s hard to think of present in the past tense,” Feldblyum said. “I realized, here I am with a camera and there is an opportunity and it doesn’t matter right now whether the building is attractive or not. I have a camera. I take a photo.”

There are photos taken last winter of the one-story brick building at 8008 Wisconsin Ave., the former space of Ranger Surplus that’s up to be razed and redeveloped into a 14-story apartment building. There’s a photo of 7900 Wisconsin Ave., a mid-century office building few would describe as endearing. It’s slated to be redeveloped into a 17-story apartment building with some striking architectural features.

“A building like that, there might be no architectural or aesthetic value to it, but the building was there,” Feldblyum said. “People got used to it. It was part of an everyday routine. Buildings are a part of memory, streets are part of our memory.”

Feldblyum said his interest in photography, especially of the architectural variety, probably started when he was 11 or 12 growing up in the Soviet Union. Feldblyum would take the photos, which he later realized was rooted in his interest in the history of changing landscapes and communities in the country.

Upon one of his first visits to Bethesda with American relatives, Feldblyum remembered seeing the Crown Books that used to be located at Wisconsin Avenue and East-West Highway. It was the first mega-bookstore that he had ever seen.

Some years after it had closed, he wondered why he didn’t take a photograph of it.

“I started thinking about the lost opportunities,” Feldblyum said. “Now especially, I look at buildings as potentially future has-beens.”

Since, he has taken photos of downtown Bethesda, Silver Spring and Rockville, all with the goal of chronicling what was there by photographing what’s there now. In a rapidly redeveloping Bethesda — where there are at least 20 new building projects recently completed, under construction or in the pipeline — he’s not the only one interested.

A few times a year, Feldblyum will get inquiries for photos of old or existing Bethesda buildings, mainly from commercial clients in search of photos of former offices or peeks into Bethesda’s not-so-distant past.

“It’s hard for me to realize why I take photos,” Feldblyum said. “It’s just something that I do.”

After some more reflection, Feldblyum came up with another possible explanation: “Part of what we like about the past is that we were young,” he said. “Maybe this is the easiest way to handle this.”

Photos via Boris Feldblyum

Got A Flat Tire? Bethesda Fire Station #6 Can Help

by Aaron Kraut | July 22, 2014 at 12:55 pm | 205 views | 3 Comments

Bethesda Fire Station #6 helps remove flat tire on Monday, Photo via MCFRSThe crew on Monday at Bethesda Fire Station #6 added emergency car maintenance to its daily fire and rescue duties.

According to Bill Delaney, who manages the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service blog, a group of MCFRS employees noticed a senior resident who got a flat tire just across the street from the station on the corner of Bradley Boulevard and Wisconsin Avenue.

Rather than watch the resident struggle to get the tire fixed or car towed in the middle of a busy street, the crew rolled the car into the station driveway and installed a spare tire.

“While not a situation they normally handle the crew felt it important to help, promptly changed the tire, and got the driver safely on their way,” Delaney wrote.

Photo via MCFRS

Bethesda Restaurant Turning Back The Clock On Menu Prices

by Aaron Kraut | July 22, 2014 at 11:20 am | 1,162 views | No Comments

Image via Lebanese TavernaTo celebrate its 35th anniversary, a locally based restaurant with a location at Bethesda Row will offer 1979 menu prices for two days in August.

A family of Lebanese immigrants opened the first Lebanese Taverna 35 years ago in Arlington. It’s now a company of six full-service restaurants with a location at 7141 Arlington Rd. And on Aug. 20 and 21, it will also have $2.50 tabouleh and $2.75 baba ghanoush.

The full throwback menu is here. It’s for dine-in customers only and includes the staples: $6.95 for shawarma that costs $12.50 at the restaurant today, $6.95 for shish kabob that now starts at $16 and $2.25 for hummus that now starts at $6.50.

The 1979 menu special will rotate for two days at a time through all restaurant locations.

Image via Lebanese Taverna

Shoppes Of Bethesda Getting A Facelift

by Aaron Kraut | July 22, 2014 at 10:20 am | 671 views | 1 Comment

A Bethesda shopping center is getting a facelift as it brings in more big-name national retailers.

The Shoppes of Bethesda, which has parking and an upper level along Hampden Lane and a lower level on Elm Street, is undergoing a series of facade and signing changes.

Crews are on-site and have chained off much of the upper level. The stores remain open, with temporary signage and scaffolding built on top of entrance ways.

Four locally owned stores in the shopping center closed or relocated in 2013. A fifth tenant, Irish pub and restaurant Ri Ra, relocated to Georgetown. The Hinode sushi restaurant closed last week and will be replaced by Tako Grill, another Bethesda sushi restaurant now on Wisconsin Avenue.

New arrivals to the center included Pure Barre, a national chain of franchised fitness studios. A Noodles & Co. and Soul Ryde cycling studio are set to take over the empty Ri Ra space on Elm Street.

Shoppes of Bethesda owner David Draiman has been mum, at least to us, about future plans for the center. Back in November, blogger Robert Dyer posted a rendering of the renovations found on the Shoppes of Bethesda Facebook page.

Rendering image via Facebook

Eastham’s Demolished

by Aaron Kraut | July 21, 2014 at 9:15 am | 468 views | No Comments

Work has started on the 12-floor, 139-unit Solaire apartment project at the longtime site of Eastham’s Exxon Servicenter on Wisconsin Avenue.

Last week, crews demolished the gas station structures that had served as home to the auto repair shop. The shop was at the spot (7100 Wisconsin Ave.) since 1929. It has moved to a shuttered gas station at Old Georgetown Road and Fairmont Avenue — but only temporarily.

That site is also set for redevelopment.

Rendering via Washington Property Company

Some In Chevy Chase Village Not Getting Street Paving Message

by Aaron Kraut | July 17, 2014 at 4:10 pm | 163 views | No Comments

Chevy Chase Village Hall (file photo)Almost every morning since a neighborhood repaving project began this month in Chevy Chase Village, residents have left their vehicles parked in the way.

That’s the message the municipality sent out Thursday, which says it has had to go through the arduous task of trying to contact the owners of the cars too often since the street paving project began on July 7.

“Village staff must try to contact the owners of these cars — which can be very time consuming — and when a resident cannot be located or is unable to move the car in a timely fashion, the car is towed,” reads the Village website.

To make matters worse, some residents have moved their cars, but into illegal spots:

Parking violations create hazardous conditions for pedestrians and vehicles alike.With the exception of permit parking restrictions (we understand that some residents will have to park on different streets due to being displaced by repaving), Village police will be actively enforcing all other parking laws during the repaving project.The below list represents some of the most frequent violations that we have encountered.Among other parking prohibitions, you must NOT park:

  • In violation of an official sign;
  • Within 5 feet of a driveway opening;
  • Within 30 feet of a stop sign or other traffic device;
  • Within 35 feet of an intersection;
  • Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant;
  • Within 2 feet of another vehicle;
  • Opposite the flow of traffic (‘left wheels to the curb’)

The paving operation will continue through the middle of August. The Village promoted the project as the final part of a number of infrastructure projects that have led to dug up streets and roads.

Apparently not everyone got the message.

“We need your help so that paving operations will not be delayed, and so that you will not get a parking ticket,” the Village website reads.

If your vehicle is towed, you can contact the Village Communications Center at 301-654-7300. For questions about the repaving project, the Village said residents can reach Michael Younes, its director of Municipal Operations, at michael[dot]younes[at]montgomerycountymd[dot]gov.

Bethesda Picture Frame Shop Leaving Bethesda Row

by Aaron Kraut | July 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm | 1,061 views | 2 Comments

Sign announces the Picture Frame Shop will move out of its Bethesda Avenue spaceA framing shop on Bethesda Row is leaving Bethesda Avenue, offering a half-off sale on all merchandise in the process.

The Picture Frame Shop, which has been in Bethesda since 1991, posted a sign on its front door announcing it will close on July 31 at 4835 Bethesda Ave., then relocate. It’s unclear where to.

The owner of the shop could not be reached Thursday. An employee at the store said she couldn’t talk about the situation.

The shop was known in part for its window display of random celebrity photos in sample frames. The shop did framing for photos, sports memorabilia, mirrors and paintings, as well as some art restoration work.

The news was first reported by blogger Robert Dyer.

Bethesda Farm Women’s Market Announces More New Food Vendors

by Aaron Kraut | July 17, 2014 at 11:15 am | 452 views | No Comments

Kiwi Kuisine's Bert "Ram" Todd, via Kiwi KuisineCorned Beef King won’t be the only new food vendor at the historic Bethesda Farm Women’s Market.

As we reported in June, the Market (7155 Wisconsin Ave.) is retooling its Friday flea market with a more food-centric approach.

The new outside portion of the Friday Market will feature El Tenedor De Nacho, a Montgomery Village based empanada and Bolivian catering service, Kiwi Kuisine and Borekg.

Kiwi Kuisine will come from Alexandria, where a former rugby player in New Zealand has created a farmers market favorite for sausage rolls and meat pies. Borekg sells sweet and savory pastries, vegetarioan borek, baklava and hummus.

Inside the Market building will be Maria’s India Garden Express and a number of other vendors. New craft vendors will include Damascus resident Mark Moxley’s Wooden Bowls & Boards. The Farm Market also says new seafood and meat vendors will be coming in August.

The new Friday Market is set to run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Friday until Nov. 28. Corned Beef King, which opened permanently at the market on Saturday, and fixture Hardy’s BBQ will remain at the Market throughout the week.

Photo via Kiwi Kuisine

Frankly Pizza To Open Next Week In Kensington

by Aaron Kraut | July 17, 2014 at 8:10 am | 365 views | 1 Comment

The Margherita pizza from Frankly...Pizza

A mobile pizza operation that frequented a number of local farmers markets will open a brick-and-mortar restaurant next week in Kensington.

Frankly…Pizza! began in 2011 with a wood fired oven on the back of owner Frank Linn’s truck. The Neapolitan-style pies will now have a permanent home at 10417 Armory Ave., behind the Kensington Safeway grocery store.

After some permitting and build-out delays, Linn announced via Facebook on Wednesday that the restaurant will open Wednesday, July 23. The shop will start out with a limited menu before adding more selections in the first few weeks.

It will be open from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

No word if Linn will maintain the mobile operation. It became a hit at markets including the weekly Rock Spring Park Market in a Bethesda office park.

Willie’s Bar Coming To Renovated Chevy Chase Hotel

by Aaron Kraut | July 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm | 282 views | No Comments

Rendering for Willie's Bar inside the Embassy Suites at Chevy Chase Pavilion, via Embassy Suites Flat Bread Pizzas on the new Willie's Bar menu, via Embassy Suites

Part of the $10.5 million renovation at a Friendship Heights hotel will include a new dining and bar area named after a hotel employee who died last year.

The Embassy Suites at Chevy Chase Pavilion will open Willie’s Bar, named after admired hotel sous chef Wilfredo Benavides. Benavides died after a battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The bar and lounge — which will be open to the public — will encompass 2,000 square feet and offer 100 top-shelf spirits, wines and local beers along with a new small plates menu.

According to a press release, one percent of all Willie’s Bar proceeds will go to the ALS Association.

The renovations at Embassy Suites are expected to be completed by late October. Included is a new entrance facade, lobby, upgraded rooms and updated fitness center.  More lounge seating is planned to overlook the atrium of the Chevy Chase Pavilion.

The new menu will feature caprese salad, kale and artichoke dip, fish tacos, flat bread pizzas and other items.

Photos via Embassy Suites

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