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Lobster ME Part Of New Batch Of Restaurants At Westfield Montgomery

by Aaron Kraut | August 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm | 57 views | No Comments

Not to be forgotten among the new restaurants coming to Westfield Montgomery mall is Lobster ME, the Las Vegas-based chain that offers lobster on a stick, among other treats.

Lobster ME offers Maine-style lobster rolls, tacos, lobster on waffles, lobster mac and cheese and a number of other lobster-infused fast casual dishes.

It will open in late October next to the Cava Mezze Grill also coming to Westfield Montgomery’s new Dining Terrace — the section added on to the mall’s food court.

The restaurant is embarking on a major national expansion from its two Las Vegas shops and popular Las Vegas food truck. That expansion will start in Bethesda, where Westfield Montgomery has brought in a host of new fast casual and full-service eateries as part of a $90 million renovation and expansion project.

Lobster ME’s attention-grabbing item is the “Lobsicle,” a grilled or battered lobster tail on a stick for $14.

In a press release, Lobster ME CEO Jeffrey Fine said the restaurant hopes to incorporate Maryland crab into the Bethesda menu. The mall location will be built using preserved old growth timber, straight from the Penobscot River in Maine.

It’ll be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekend.

Photos via Lobster ME

Bethesda’s Parva Gets New Name, New Look

by Aaron Kraut | August 21, 2014 at 10:30 am | 149 views | 2 Comments

Parva gets a renovation and new paint job on Woodmont Avenue

The Parva restaurant and lounge in Bethesda has new management, a new look and a new name.

The two-floor space (7904 Woodmont Ave.) will now be known as the Parva Cocina & Tequila Bar, according to its website, and offer a “relaxed place” for margaritas and Tex-Mex.

The renovation and rebranding came about two months after condo residents across the street challenged Parva’s liquor license in a contentious county hearing. Residents of the Fairmont complained that Parva’s late-night lounge music was too loud and that the lounge was the cause of unruly behavior in Woodmont Triangle.

Parva Cocina & Tequila Bar new logo, via ParvaBut Parva had never been cited by police or the county for liquor or noise violations. The Board of License Commissioners allowed Parva to keep its alcohol license, but owners Juan Carlos Balcazar and his brother Edwin pledged to work with Fairmont residents to find a solution.

In July, the downstairs restaurant section of Parva was closed for a complete redesign. Painters recently finished applying a new coat of red paint on part of the front of the building.

Plumbing work closed the sidewalk in front of the building last week, which the restaurant says has delayed its planned “re-grand opening.” The upstairs lounge has remained open.

New logo via Parva

Bethesda Food Truck Market Offers Patrons A Challenge

by Aaron Kraut | August 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm | 293 views | No Comments

The crowd at the Rock Spring Park Owner Association Farmers Market in Bethesda (file photo)A popular food truck and farmers market will extend its season into September if its patrons donate a certain amount of items to a local nonprofit.

Operators of the Rock Spring Park Market — the weekly lunchtime favorite of many Rockledge Drive office workers — said they’ve received many requests to extend the market season past its scheduled final date next week.

So the market has issued a challenge: If 125 items are donated to homeless prevention nonprofit Bethesda Cares at the market between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday, the Rock Spring Farmers Market will be extended to Sept. 4.

If 250 items are donated, the market will be extended to Sept. 11. If 375 items are donated, it will go until Sept. 18 and if 500 or more items are donated, the market will be extended to Sept. 25.

Stacee Longenecker, who puts together the Thursday market event for property manager Piedmont Office Realty Trust, made the announcement on Wednesday. The property manager sets up the market each Thursday during the summer along the sidewalks near the 6720 Rockledge Dr. Garage.

It’s become a popular spot for local food trucks and farmers market vendors, and a popular lunchtime spot for the hundreds of nearby office workers without many nearby restaurants.

Bethesda Cares will accept all food items, though canned goods, pasta, granola bars and oatmeal packets are especially needed. The nonprofit will also accept socks and clothing items (especially gently-used men’s clothing), toiletries and money. One dollar will be equal to one item, for the purposes of the market challenge.

Westfield Montgomery Shows Off New Dining Terrace, Movie Theater

by Aaron Kraut | August 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm | 1,093 views | 4 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.”

Hotel Wants Visitors To See D.C. ‘Like A Local’ From Bethesda

by Aaron Kraut | August 20, 2014 at 10:00 am | 490 views | 3 Comments

Bethesda Row (file photo)

As part of a new marketing campaign, Marriott has offered some tips for how to see D.C. like a local from Bethesda might.

Marriott’s #LikeALocal package (hashtag included) is offering weekend packages at the chain’s three area hotels — the Bethesda Marriott at Pooks Hill, the Bethesda Marriott Suites on Democracy Boulevard and the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center on Marinelli Road.

The offer promises to let travelers “bypass the tourist traps to experience the District like the locals do.”

According to Marriott, that means shopping at Bethesda Row, hitting up Strathmore and running or biking on the Capital Crescent Trail, all things locals definitely like to do.

Bethesda locals also apparently like to eat.

“Eating in Bethesda means eating well,” according to the promotion. “Locals love starting the day with Bethesda Bagels’ artisan offerings, for example, and following it up with a savory lunch at Cava Grill. Serving tasty, healthy and fast versions of the food that made Cava one of D.C.’s best restaurants, Cava Grill is an ideal precursor to dinner at Jaleo. There, renowned chef Jose Andres has made tapas a household word — and a go-to meal option — with his exciting recipes and multiple locations.”

The package includes a $20 credit to app-based ride service Uber, which probably won’t sit well with some local taxi cab companies.

Luxury Condo Project Tops Out On Montgomery Lane

by Aaron Kraut | August 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm | 533 views | 2 Comments

For a glimpse of the changes coming to one section of Bethesda, check out the construction progress on a five-floor, four-unit luxury condo project at 4825 Montgomery Lane.

The condos have been built as high as the project will go, showing how it and at least two other multi-family residential projects on the way will alter the skyline of what was once a section of single-family houses.

Most of the houses along Montgomery Lane, West Lane and Arlington Road are used for small businesses, medical practices and other professional services.

The 4825 property, at the corner of West and Montgomery Lanes, will include four individual garage doors.

controversial seven-story, 120-unit apartment complex (4831 West Lane) is planned for across the street. And around the corner, crews have demolished a garden apartment building and single-family house to make way for The Lauren, an ultra-luxury condo building.

Renderings via Montgomery County Planning Department

Bethesda A Very Honest Place, According To Honest Tea

by Aaron Kraut | August 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm | 308 views | 2 Comments

Honest Tea put people's honesty to the test earlier this month by placing unattended bottled teas in front of the Barnes & Noble in July 2013. Signs asked people to pay $1 each for drinks they took.Bethesda-based Honest Tea brought back its “National Honesty Index” this summer to test just how willing people were to abide by the honor code in exchange for a Honest Tea beverage.

From July 16-Aug. 12, the company set up unmanned racks of bottled beverages in 60 places, all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Signage asked those who took beverages to put $1 into a bin for each beverage they took.

Honest Tea collected information on “the number of people who paid or stole,” though the company clearly didn’t report anyone for theft.

The marketing project showed that 94 percent of the beverages taken from the Bethesda set-up were paid for, which tied with four other places for the honor of 32nd most honest.

Nationally, 95 percent of the beverages taken were paid for. Nearby, Washington, D.C. was the most improved city compared to last year’s results, with 96 percent of the beverages paid for (just 80 percent were paid for in 2013).

Strathmore Shows Off Renderings Of White Flint Music Venue

by Aaron Kraut | August 19, 2014 at 1:10 pm | 521 views | No Comments

Strathmore on Tuesday revealed some interior renderings of its new AMP concert venue set for the Pike & Rose development in White Flint/North Bethesda.

The renderings show a lounge and stage, plus a potential set up for a private event. AMP will open to event rentals this fall and will open for live concerts in March 2015.

The 250-seat music venue is situated in the main commercial building of the first phase of developer Federal Realty’s Pike & Rose project. The company has spent the past two years remaking the Mid-Pike Plaza shopping center into a mixed-use, town-center style development.

It’s partnering with Strathmore for the music venue. Strathmore’s existing facility — the Music Center at Strathmore on Tuckerman Lane — holds nearly 2,000 seats and is one of two homes of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

AMP will be 2,800 square feet with floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies, plus a green room and 1,100-square-foot pre-function space.

It’ll also be located in the same building as an eight-screen iPic Theatres at 11800 Grand Park Ave., the new street Federal Realty built connecting to Old Georgetown Road.

The space will feature the Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s 550 Events & Provisions division as its exclusive food and catering vendor, not a surprise after Federal Realty announced the group would open a beer garden concept in the new neighborhood.

MCPS Looking For More Backpack Donations

by Aaron Kraut | August 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm | 148 views | 1 Comment

MCPSMontgomery County Public Schools is looking for more donations to its backpack and school supplies campaign as the first day of school approaches.

The backpacks, to be filled with school supplies, will be given out at the start of the 2014-2015 school year (Monday, Aug. 26) to students in need.

MCPS says it has raised about $153,000 through its Give BACKpacks campaign, which will provide more than 17,000 backpacks to students at 43 county schools.

Almost 52,000 MCPS students receive free and reduced-price meals, an indicator of poverty. The Give BACKpacks campaign started last year and brought in more than $100,000 for backpacks and supplies for about 15,000 students.

On Monday, MCPS said it was looking for more help for this year’s campaign. The school system has gotten large donations from the Educational Systems Federal Credit Union ($25,000), Montgomery County Council of PTAs ($8,000), Wegmans ($7,500) and Capital One Bank ($6,500).

The school system says a $10 donation will provide for one backpack filled with school supplies, $300 would provide backpacks for a class, $6,500 would set up a school and $25,000 or more would provide backpacks for an entire cluster. Donations of all sizes are welcome.

For more information, visit the campaign website.

Blaze Pizza To Open Thursday At Westfield Montgomery

by Aaron Kraut | August 18, 2014 at 9:00 am | 437 views | 1 Comment

Blaze Pizza in Westfield Montgomery mall

The Chipotle of pizza chains will open Thursday in Westfield Montgomery mall in Bethesda.

Blaze Pizzathe California-based franchiser rapidly expanding across the country, will open across from the Aroma Espresso Bar near Entrance 4 to the mall.

All pizzas come at 11 inches with any toppings all for one price. The pizzas are cooked for 180 seconds and ordered piece-by-piece down a line just like at Chipotle.

On Sunday, Blaze Pizza gave out free samples to mall customers walking by after a staff training session. New Blaze Pizza restaurants typically include a free pizza promotion on opening day. 

Blaze Pizza is just one of many new restaurants and features at Westfield Montgomery. The mall’s new dining terrace, connected to its new 16-theater ArcLight Cinemas, is nearing completion. Look for more on that later this week on BethesdaNow.com.

Dave & Buster’s Is Closed In White Flint Mall

by Aaron Kraut | August 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm | 3,937 views | 22 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.

PHOTOS: Bethesda Mews Awaits Construction

by Aaron Kraut | August 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm | 962 views | No Comments

This empty patch of grass and dirt will one day be home to a meandering stone wall, garden, sidewalks and 29 upscale single-family homes.

The demolition of the former American College of Cardiology building earlier this year has made way for a wide open 10-acre site along Old Georgetown Road — one of Bethesda’s busiest thoroughfares. The large brick office building the College used to call home is gone. So are a number of trees that dotted the property.

In place will go the 29 houses, three townhomes and two duplexes of Bethesda Mews, from D.C.-based Streetscape Partners. The developer will build an extension of Camberley Avenue through the neighborhood to Alta Vista Road, two recreation areas and a stormwater system improvement for the existing neighborhood.

 

There will also be a 9,000-square-foot area at the “grand entrance” to the community that will include stone garden walls, benches, pathways, sitting areas and an archway. The project was approved by the Planning Board in April 2013 with support from the neighborhood citizens association.

 

New Chevy Chase Brain Center Says It Can Boost Memory

by Aaron Kraut | August 13, 2014 at 11:35 am | 249 views | No Comments

Ribbon cutting of the NeurExpand Brain Center in Chevy Chase, with Dr. Majid Fotuhi holding the ceremonial scissorsMemory loss doesn’t have to be an unavoidable consequence of aging, according to the folks at the new NeurExpand Brain Center in Friendship Heights.

Financed by former top executives from a nutritional supplement company and led by Dr. Majid Fotuhi, the office was the scene of a crowded ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday featuring elected officials, doctors, local business leaders and retirement community professionals.

Fotuhi, a Baltimore County neurologist who’s shared his approach to boosting memory on The Dr. Oz Show (among others), started his own clinic dedicated to reversing memory loss in aging adults.

With backing from David Abramson and Steve Dubin, the former executives at since-sold Martek Biosciences, Fotuhi and his team of doctors say they’ve tailored a comprehensive, weeks-long program that can help exercise and enlarge the hippocampus — the part of your brain that helps with learning and memory.

As people age, the size of the hippocampus tends to shrink. But with the right combination of healthy eating, sleep patterns, fitness and management of other risk factors, Fotuhi says that process can be reversed.

“One of the most common misconceptions is that when you start to lose your memory, it’s Alzheimer’s. There are a lot of different things that go into that,” said NeurExpand Chief Operating Officer Chris Lindsay. “Eating, sleeping, fitness level. It can be related to anxiety or depression. We bring the patient in who has a memory complaint and try to tease apart which of those multiple risk factors are contributing, or in what order.”

NeurExpand says its Brain Fitness Program is covered by Medicare and most insurance companies.

A neurologist at NeurExpand would typically start by testing a patient’s vitamin levels and an MRI test to measure the patient’s hippocampus. The office provides consultations on better diet habits, exercise routines, meditation and even a balance and fall prevention risk assessment.

“Right now, you might walk into a neurologist’s office and they may run a few tests, the mini-mental test is a well-known one,” said NeurExpand’s Kevin Lance. “They say, unfortunately, you may have Alzheimer’s or you might not. Here’s a pill. We take it to the next level. We work on lifestyle changes to correct any issues.”

The company has big expansion plans, including a group of offices in Northern Virginia. At Tuesday’s grand opening, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Councilmember Roger Berliner and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman spoke about the apparent health benefits of NeurExpand and its contribution to the local economy.

Ulman, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, was familiar with NeurExpand from its Columbia office and with Abramson and Dubin from Columbia-based Martek.

Abramson described the Friendship Heights location (5550 Friendship Blvd.) as the perfect place to put such an operation. The office had a soft opening in June.

“You have density here. You have a higher socio-economic demographic. You have more people here who are more mindful and more apt to take action,” Lindsay said. “There are more people here who might say to themselves, ‘This is not like what I’m used to so I’m going to do something about it,’ instead of ‘I’m just getting old.’”

Dunkin’ Donuts To Open On Bethesda’s Elm Street

by Aaron Kraut | August 13, 2014 at 9:00 am | 529 views | 15 Comments

Galaxie Cleaners on Elm Street is moving upstairs in the Shoppes of Bethesda to make way for a Dunkin' Donuts Galaxie Cleaners will move to the Hampden Lane side of the Shoppes of Bethesda

The Dunkin’ Donuts franchise that used to be on Bethesda Avenue will open in mid or late September in a new location on Elm Street.

Franchise operator Boris Lander said the move one block over will put the Dunkin’ at 4943 Elm St. in the Shoppes of Bethesda.

Galaxie Cleaners will move from 4943 Elm St. upstairs to 4926 Hampden Lane, also part of the Shoppes of Bethesda property. That move will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, with the drycleaner business hoping to reopen in the new spot on Friday.

The Dunkin’ Donuts move was necessary when property owner Federal Realty declined to renew Lander’s Bethesda Avenue lease. The franchise location closed at the end of May.

In its place at 4810 Bethesda Ave. went luxury clothing boutique Calypso St. Barth.

Lander’s Luis Group opened a combination Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins location in March on Cordell Avenue and a Dunkin’ location in February inside the Bethesda Metro station bus bay.

Outdoor Movie Night On Hampden Lane

by Aaron Kraut | August 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 281 views | No Comments

4800 Hampden Lane courtyard, image via Google Maps

A Bethesda real estate agency will fill up an office courtyard on Thursday with its own version of summer outdoor movie night.

Beasley Real Estate, based in the office complex at 4800 Hampden Lane, will host a screening of “Transformers” at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

The event will happen in the courtyard space between Elm Street and Hampden Lane, just up the street from Bethesda Row.

Chairs will be available but will be given out on a first come, first serve basis. People are welcome to bring their own chairs and blankets. Kori Kamradt Bathurst, the social media director at Beasley Real Estate, said gourmet popcorn and bottled water will be provided.

For more information visit the event page on Facebook.

Image via Google Maps

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