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by Aaron Kraut — October 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm 0

Renovated dance studio at Glen Echo's Hall of Mirrors

A former amusement park funhouse will reopen as a dance studio next month at Glen Echo Park.

The Hall of Mirrors Dance Studio was renovated thanks to a construction grant from Montgomery County. The work — which included new climate control, a reconfigured lobby, improved dressing rooms, a spacious new dance studio and waiting area —  will be revealed at a ribbon cutting ceremony set for Saturday, Nov. 8.

The Hall of Mirrors, built in 1964, served as the park’s funhouse when it was a private amusement park. In the more than 40 years since, the building has been transformed into the home of the park’s dance technique and creative movement program.

Old dance studio at Glen Echo's Hall of MirrorsThe renovation will allow the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture to expand dance programming to visitors of all ages.

“Glen Echo Park already enjoys a reputation as a premiere location for social dance events as well as visual and performing art forms,” said Partnership Executive Director Katey Boerner. “Renovating the Hall of Mirrors was the first step toward invigorating our ballet and creative movement classes and bringing these offerings up to par with the breadth of our other programming. Overall, the renovation helps the Partnership build a varied and sustainable program.”

The county grant for the project was $45,000. The Partnership says the grant was dependent on matching grants from other sources and came through the competitive application process managed by the county’s Arts & Humanities Council.

The ribbon cutting on Saturday, Nov. 8 is set for 10:30 a.m.

Photos via Glen Echo Park Partnership

by Aaron Kraut — October 23, 2014 at 11:15 am 490 20 Comments

(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) Montgomery County’s first cycle track is being installed Thursday and could be fully operational by the first week of November.

Crews were putting up flex posts along Woodglen Drive in North Bethesda/White Flint, where new road markings have already been put down for the Woodglen Drive cycle track. The project is the county’s first use of the concept of a buffered bike lane and could be put to use in downtown Bethesda in the next few years.

The cycle track will run from Edson Lane — where the off-road portion of the Bethesda Trolley Trail ends — to Nicholson Lane.

Redevelopment plans for the Metro Pike Plaza shopping center north of Nicholson Lane could include extending the cycle track all the way to Marinelli Road, where there’s an entrance for the White Flint Metro station.

The cycle track will mean a row of parking spaces on the west side of Woodglen Drive will move off the curb. The meters for those spaces will remain. MCDOT’s Pat Shepherd said installation will also include tick marks on the pavement to show parking spaces and signage to point drivers to the correct meter for each space.

Crews will also add bicycle pavement markings and bicycle detection pucks at opposite ends of the cycle track.

The road runs along the North Bethesda Market development anchored by Whole Foods.

The two-way track is eight-feet wide and separated from the parking lane by a roughly three-foot wide buffer area that includes the plastic flex posts.

MCDOT officials said the cycle track would also include green-painted pavement to highlight “conflict areas,” where the cycle track crosses intersections or driveways.

by Aaron Kraut — October 23, 2014 at 10:05 am 0

Meter parking along Bethesda Avenue

Utility work next week will mean no evening parking on the north side of Bethesda Avenue.

Crews will be installing a telecommunications line on the street between Woodmont Avenue and Arlington Road beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 a.m. each day from Monday, Oct. 27 to Saturday, Nov. 1.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Director Ken Hartman tweeted the news Thursday morning.

Alternate parking spots can be found in the Bethesda Elm Street Garage (Garage 57) or a block east of Wisconsin Avenue at the public parking lot at Willow Lane and Leland Street.

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm 643 3 Comments

The Bacon Cheesy Slide burger from Burger 21, Photo via Burger 21The latest better burger brand to hit Bethesda might come from the company behind a well-known chain of fondue restaurants.

Burger 21, from Tampa-based Front Burner Brands, announced on Wednesday that it is seeking new franchise owners for a new batch of locations it hopes to open in Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, Rockville and other places around the D.C. region.

Burger 21 management officials will be at the Capital Franchise Expo on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 at the Dulles Expo Center to promote the idea, and will hold a “franchising Executive Roundtable” on Nov. 2 for qualified candidates.

The chain has 14 locations so far spread through Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia. It features freshly ground Certified Angus Beef burgers, chicken, turkey, vegetarian, shrimp and tuna burgers, plus hot dogs, salads and shakes.

Franchisees can expect one restaurant to require a total investment of anywhere from $400,000-$1,000,000, with an initial franchise fee of $40,000.

The “beyond the better burger” fast-casual concept will have plenty of local competition. Smashburger and Bobby’s Burger Palace opened last year in Bethesda, which already was home to BGR The Burger Joint and Five Guys.

Photo via Burger 21

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm 470 8 Comments

Closed northbound lane of Hillandale Road in Bethesda

(Updated Friday at 1:20 p.m.) Repairs of the partially collapsed storm drain that led to the closure of a Bethesda road last week will keep one lane of the road closed for up to six months.

According to the Montgomery County Transportation Department’s Division of Highway Services, a storm drain culvert under Hillandale Road roadway was found to be degraded last Thursday. That led to the county closing the northbound lane of Hillandale Road between Little Falls Parkway and Willet Parkway.

On Friday, MCDOT said crews will be replacing the pipe that carries part of the Willett Branch creek under the road.

The closure cuts off access to the Bethesda Swimming Pool (6300 Little Falls Parkway) and Willet Parkway from the south. Detour signage has been set up to direct drivers to northbound Arlington Road, eastbound Bradley Boulevard and then southbound Hillandale Road.

For more information contact MCDOT’s Jeff Knutsen (jeff[dot]knutsen[at]montgomerycountymd[dot]gov) or Josh Faust at 240-777-7642.

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 12:25 pm 0

Sara Sulzbach, right, with family members at last year's Candy Cane City 5K, Photo via Hope Connections For Cancer SupportNine months after her breast cancer was determined to be in remission, Sara Sulzbach will be surrounded by 40 family members and close friends when she races in next month’s Candy Cane City 5K in Chevy Chase.

Sulzbach was diagnosed with an advanced stage of breast cancer in the fall of 2012 — at the age of 43. The Silver Spring resident underwent 130 medical procedures and, perhaps just as important, hooked up with the team at Hope Connections for Cancer Support in Bethesda.

The nonprofit, which moved to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) campus at 9650 Rockville Pike last year, provides weekly and monthly support groups, gentle yoga courses, knitting, stich, chat sessions and other free programming meant to provide emotional help for cancer patients.

Sulzbach took part in the nonprofit’s Pink Ribbon Pilates class and attended group meetings for a year-and-a-half.

Now, she’s training for the 5K, set for Saturday, Nov. 9. She also ran in last year’s event, while still undergoing cancer treatment.

The race will mark her one-year point as a cancer survivor and she’ll have that group of family and friends with her as part of the “Sara’s New & Improved Rack Pack” team.

Hope Connections will also have a team in the 5K. For more information, visit the group’s website.

All donations will help people affected by cancer through the nonprofit, which provides its programming free of charge.

Photo via Hope Connections For Cancer Support

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 10:30 am 0

Filmmakers answer audience questions at the inaugural Bethesda Film Fest in March at Imagination Stage (file photo)The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is looking for short documentaries to feature in its third annual Bethesda Film Fest, set for next March.

The event will again use a two-night format on Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21 at Imagination Stage.

Up to five films will be featured by filmmakers from Maryland, Virginia and D.C. and a documentary by a filmmaker younger than 18 may also be included.

Selected filmmakers will get a $500 honorarium and be invited to speak about their films at the Film Fest.

A panel including Kiley Kraskouskas, president and Executive producer of Thinking Forward Media, Ellen Tripler, associate producer at Journey Films, and members of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District Board of Directors will select the films.

All topics are eligible. The documentary must be between five and 30 minutes long. Those interested in applying can mail a DVD of their documentary and a completed application form to Bethesda Film Fest c/o Bethesda Urban Partnership, 7700 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda,MD 20814.

Entries must be received by Jan. 12, 2015.

by Aaron Kraut — October 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm 2,229 3 Comments

A Southern California movie theater chain hopes a passionate following in Los Angeles translates to its new, 16-theater setup at Bethesda’s Westfield Montgomery mall.

ArcLight will begin opening its Bethesda location this weekend with a handful of screenings before a full-scale opening the week of Nov. 7. That’s when Matthew McConaughey’s new science fiction film “Interstellar” will hit theaters.

On Tuesday, ArcLight officials gave a tour of the facility — the first outside of California for the chain and what will be the third movie theater in Bethesda.

“In L.A., it’s a passion brand,” said Larry Krutchik, ArcLight’s top public relations man. “There are legions of people who won’t see a movie anywhere else.”

Gretchen McCourt, executive vice president of ArcLight, said no advertisements before movies and no lines to buy tickets have a lot to do with that.

There will be a few trailers shown before each film, but no pre-trailer advertisements that have become common in multiplexes around the country. McCourt said a movie at ArcLight typically starts within 6-8 minutes of the advertised starting time.

There also is no box office. McCourt said about 60 percent of the theater’s ticket sales are done online or through a mobile phone app before customers even enter the theater. The seats are numbered and seating is pre-reserved, meaning there are just a few electronic kiosks to purchase or print tickets in the lobby.

The theaters at ArcLight Bethesda range between 85 seats and 295 seats. One of the largest theaters features a 65-foot across and 45-foot tall widescreen. All seats are 25 inches wide with retractable, double-wide armrests. Movie goers are invited to bring their cocktails and drinks from the bar into the theater.

ArcLight will feature a combination of big blockbusters, independent films, documentaries and classic films, plus memberships and special film programming.

Members get $1 off all tickets. General admission for adults ranges from $11.75-$13.75 a ticket depending on what time of the week. There’s a $3.50 3D premium charge. Memberships are $15 a year.

by Aaron Kraut — October 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm 247 1 Comment

Bethesda Row trick-or-treat, via Bethesda RowAbout 40 businesses and restaurants will offer a Bethesda Row version of trick-or-treating next week.

From 5 p.m.-7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, the stores will offer deals, live entertainment and trick-or-treating for the kids. There will also be a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to the Paper Source.

American Tap Room, 100 Montaditos, Aveda, Bethesda Bagels, Bluemercury, Bonobos, Calypso St. Barth, Capital Teas, Cava Grill, City Sports, Cork & Fork, Dolcezza, Equinox, Ginger, Haagen-Dazs, Icebreaker, J.McLaughlin, Jaleo, Kidville, Le Creuset, Lebanese Taverna, Lucy, Luke’s Lobster, Lululemon Athletica, Make Meaning, Mamma Lucia, Mon Ami Gabi, mussel Bar, Paper Source, Pink Palm, Quartermaine, Raku, Redwood, Roosters, Sassanova, Secolari, ShopHouse, Upstairs at Bethesda Row, Vino Volo and Wear it Well will all take part.

by Aaron Kraut — October 17, 2014 at 11:20 am 164 0

Closed northbound lane of Hillandale Road in Bethesda

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has shut down one lane of Hillandale Road after part of the roadway buckled.

According to the Department’s Division of Highway Services, a storm drain culvert under the roadway was found to be degraded.

That led to an emergency pavement repair on Thursday. On Friday morning, the northbound lane of Hillandale Road starting at Little Falls Parkway was still closed.

A Montgomery County official was on site inspecting the damage.

The closure cuts off access to the Bethesda Swimming Pool (6300 Little Falls Parkway) and Willet Parkway from the south. Detour signage has been set up to direct drivers to northbound Arlington Road, eastbound Bradley Boulevard and then southbound Hillandale Road.

by Aaron Kraut — October 17, 2014 at 9:30 am 1,152 0

With all of the much-hyped restaurant concepts and shiny new buildings coming to White Flint, Marty Magill thinks there’s more than enough room for a straightforward sports bar with live music and a casual dining room.

Magill and crew are hosting a soft opening of Qunicy’s South Bar and Grille this weekend, with an official grand opening expected next week.

The restaurant has a 36-seat bar, 18 TVs with any sports offerings you can think of and a menu that closely mirrors that of Quincy’s Bar and Grille in Gaithersburg.

Magill and his wife Alexis bought that restaurant in 2008. They saw Quincy’s South (11401 Woodglen Dr.) as an opportunity to build a “neighborhood place at a good price point,” where there isn’t a whole lot of the same.

“I think we’re going to wiggle ourselves into a little niche here,” Magill said. “This is the kind of place, where if you have $40 or $20 in your pocket, you can have a burger and a couple of beers and have a good time.”

The kitchen, helmed by former Royal Mile Pub chef Bryan Ortiz, will offer wings, chicken tenders, all the typical appetizers associated with a sports bar and American fare including burgers, hot dogs, pizza, sandwiches, a Crab Cake Platter and Guinness Braised brisket.

Entrees run in the $13-$15 range, sandwiches and burgers run from $9-$12 and soups and salads go from $6-$13. Magill said the restaurant’s happy hour will run from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. each weekday, with various weekend specials and live music four nights a week.

Magill said he was able to provide relatively cheap menu prices because of a relatively cheap rent.

The bar’s building is set for redevelopment as part of JBG’s North Bethesda Market II project. The roughly 300-foot, 400-unit glass residential building will one day be Montgomery County’s tallest.

Magill said he’s been told the start of that project could be five years off, or even longer — enough time to establish the Quincy’s brand in a rapidly redeveloping White Flint/North Bethesda area.

by Aaron Kraut — October 16, 2014 at 12:25 pm 256 0

The Behemoth Burger, now at Bowlmor Bethesda The Chi-Town Mega Dog, now at Bowlmor Bethesda

In case bowling happens to increase your appetite, the Bowlmor Lanes location in Bethesda has a couple of giant new menu items it announced Wednesday.

Bowlmor unveiled a new menu that will include the Behemoth Burger, a five-pound, 14-inch round “party burger” served with all the toppings and, thankfully, made for sharing.

There’s also the Chi-Town Mega Dog, a two-foot hot dog topped with peppers, diced onions, sliced pickles, tomatoes, mustard and neon relish.

If somehow you’d like to eat desert after one of those, there’s also the Monster Cookie Melt, a big cookie literally served in a skillet pan and blanketed with vanilla ice cream, chocolate, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Bowlmor (5353 Westbard Ave.) is also adding new items to its regular menu, including a breakfast burger with hash browns, a fried egg and bacon and an artisan flatbread.

Bowlmor executive chef Edward Porter recently won Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games,” and seems to be taking host Guy Fieri’s love of greasy diner food to heart.

The five-pound burger, of course, pales in comparison to the gigantic offering of local burger chain BGR The Burger Joint. BGR features the “9 pounder,” which really weighs more than 15 pounds when toppings and bread are added.

Photos via Bowlmor Lanes

by Aaron Kraut — October 15, 2014 at 3:25 pm 1,141 6 Comments

The former Vapiano space at 4900 Hampden Lane

A Greek restaurant with a famous chef and a well-regarded D.C. flagship is rumored to be taking over the Bethesda Row space just vacated by Vapiano.

According to popular restaurant message board DonRockwell.com, Kapnos will be filling the spot at 4900 Hampden Lane.

The 14th Street hangout from celebrity chef Mike Isabella recently announced it would be opening another location in Arlington. A representative of the restaurant couldn’t be reached.

Vanessa Rodriguez, senior marketing manager for property owner Federal Realty, said the company couldn’t confirm Kapnos is on the way.

“Federal Realty is under final negotiation with a chef-driven restaurant to be located in the former Vapiano’s restaurant space,” read a statement provided by Federal Realty. “We are excited at the possibilities of this exciting concept. Once lease details are finalized, we can provide further details.”

Isabella made his name with Graffiato, the Italian spot he opened in 2011 in D.C., and his appearance on season six of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

Chef George Pagonis, who Isabella tabbed to helm kitchen operations at Kapnos, will make his “Top Chef” debut when the newest season debuts Wednesday.

Image via Google Maps

by Aaron Kraut — October 15, 2014 at 2:25 pm 188 1 Comment

Bethesda Elementary Central Farm Market, via RealTimeFarms.comThe Bethesda Central Farm Market will be closed this Sunday as the Bethesda Elementary School parking lot is used as a staging ground.

Artists at this weekend’s Bethesda Row Arts Festival will use the space — usually home to the popular farmers market — to park trucks and other equipment before setting up on Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street in Bethesda Row.

Many of the regular Bethesda farmers market vendors will be at the regular Saturday Pike Central Farm Market (5992 Executive Blvd.) from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and the Sunday Mosaic Central Farm Market in Fairfax.

The Bethesda market will return Sunday, Oct. 26 and run every week through December.

by Aaron Kraut — October 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm 308 4 Comments

As Time Goes Buy storefront on Norfolk Avenue

An art deco furniture and design store called As Time Goes Buy is setting up in a vacant Woodmont Triangle spot for an expected grand opening this weekend.

The people behind the store put up a sign announcing the new business this week. A Facebook page for the store said it was supposed to open on Wednesday, but now that the opening has been pushed back to this weekend.

Inside is furniture and accessories that fill what was once a frozen yogurt shop. The space (7920 Norfolk Ave.) has been vacant since March, though the frozen yogurt shop there closed as early as January.

The sign promises, “A collection of historic artifacts that reflect ‘a moment in time’ as seen through the artistry of famous and also little known, often obscure, brilliant artists and designers of the day…”

Douglas Development owns the spot, next door to the Rock Bottom Brewery and on the first floor of an 11-story office building.

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