Tex-Mex eatery Mi Cocina is set to open Friday in Friendship Heights. Above are photos from a private event on Wednesday night, courtesy of Bethesdan blogger Amy Moore.
The restaurant (5471 Wisconsin Ave.) is the 22nd location of the Texas-based chain, and the first in the Washington area. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
A press release says the restaurant aims to provide a “memorable, friendly Texas experience.”
On Friday at 10:30 a.m., co-owners Bob McNutt, Dick Washburne, Ray Washburne and general manager Max Sagatizado will join local politicians and the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Photos via Amy Moore
Specials include brunches and price-fixed dinner menus at the following selection of Mother’s Day options. (Feel free to add more in the comments section.)
Assaggi Mozarella Bar (4838 Bethesda Ave.; 301-951-1988) Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Regular dinner menu served all day, featured specials will be available for the very special mom and family.
Brasserie Monte Carlo (7929 Norfolk Ave.; 301-656-9225) Open 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Three-course menu for $45 per person. Main courses are: Crab Stuffed Shrimp, Filet Beef Medallions, Pork Tenderloin, Duck and Vegetarian. Reservations only.
Cesco Osteria (7401 Woodmont Ave.; 301-654-8333) Elegant but casual. Brunch 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Regular menu 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. with carving station, raw bar, pastas, salads, desserts and live Spanish guitar music.
Guardado’s (4918 Del Ray Ave.; 301-986-4920) Special Mother’s Day menu from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
LIA’s (4435 Willard Ave.; 240-223-5427) Mimosas, eggs, and good times for Mother’s Day brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Meritage Restaurant at Bethesda North Marriott ( 5701 Marinelli Rd.; 301-822-9234) Mother’s Day brunch with seating times at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. $29 per person for ages 12 and older, $17 per person for ages 6 to 11.
Morton’s The Steakhouse (7400 Wisconsin Ave.; 301-657-2650) Special three-course Mother’s Day meal.
The website, MocoFoodTrucks.com, includes schedules for 16 of the county’s most popular trucks, including many that make frequent stops in Bethesda.
It also includes a blog and contact info for catering requests.
Brick-and-mortar restaurant owners have traditionally seen food truck owners as competitors who don’t have to spend as much in operating costs. In Bethesda, food truck operators who do set up shop in downtown areas say it’s not uncommon to be harassed by meter attendants. Many prefer to set up in the corporate office parks near Rockledge Drive, where parking is easier and a steady flow of customers is guaranteed.
In September, a group of about 12 vendors discussed how to better communicate marketing strategies and routes and how to fight regulations such as the county’s “9 a.m. to dusk” rule.
The county does not permit trucks to operate past sundown, which effectively limits vendors to lunchtime hours during the winter months.
Later this week, the D.C. Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs will review a proposal that would restrict food trucks to certain areas of the city.
On Monday, a number of Chick-Fil-A locations (including the one in Westfield Montgomery Mall) will host a “Mother-Son Date Knight” meant to give moms and sons some quality medieval-themed time together over chicken sandwiches.
If you’re into that, there are still 13 spots available. The Chick-Fil-A in Montgomery Mall will be taking reservations for seating times up until Sunday on its website.
Each mother-son pair will receive a place mat with questions and topics “to get the conversation started,” according to a press release, and a take-home booklet with ideas for future dates.
Seatings are available at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The Bethesda Chick-Fil-A won’t have the medieval battle scene slated for the Silver Spring location or the knighting ceremony from the Maryland Renaissance Festival set for a Southern Maryland location, but it will of course offer waffle potato fries.
Image via Chick-Fil-A
Whitman Senior Wins Congressional Art Award — Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s office announced Walt Whitman High School senior Kai Valencia as the winner of this year’s Congressional art contest, organized by the Capitol Arts Network. Valencia’s acrylic painting will be displayed with winning entries from other Congressional districts in the U.S. Capitol for a year. Two hundred students from 26 schools in the 8th Congressional District entered the contest. [Rep. Chris Van Hollen]
California Tortilla Offering ‘Virtual Pinata’ For Cinco de Mayo — The fast casual burrito chain’s website will have a virtual pinata from Friday through Sunday which customers can swing at for prizes including free chips and queso and catering for 20. The flagship CalTor location in Bethesda (4871 Cordell Ave.) will offer coupons for a free taco for next week. [California Tortilla via Facebook]
Wall Park Expansion Might ‘Take A While’ — County Parks planners hope to expand Wall Park, home of the Shriver Aquatic Center, into a major park that will serve the growing White Flint area. Gables Residential, the developer that owns land for a potential parking garage that would serve the park, wants the county to put the new roads planned in the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan into the capital budget. [The Gazette]
DC Yoga Week — Many Bethesda area yoga studios are taking part in the event, with some offering free and $5 classes during the next few days leading up to a large yoga session on the National Mall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. [DC Community Yoga]
Flickr photo by sylmellon
Laurie Webber won La Madeleine Country French Cafe’s “Recipe to Paris” contest with her Tomato Basil Mini Pochettes, puff pastry filled with cheese and the restaurant’s Tomato Basil soup. The contest required participants to create an original recipe using the soup.
There were about 5,000 votes on the more than 200 recipes in the three-week contest.
Webber learned of the contest at the downtown Bethesda La Madeleine at 7607 Old Georgetown Road. She tested out the pochettes on friends and family members, then started asking people for votes once she found out she was a finalist. Her daughters named the dish.
Webber will get a week-long trip to France that will include tours of Paris and vineyards and fruit orchards in the Loire Valley.
During the contest, the Dallas-based chain donated $1 to the Children’s Hunger Fund for each jar of Tomato Basil that was purchased. They will donate $11,514.
Photo from La Madeleine via Facebook
Zen Tara Tea, the independent tea shop and retailer that opened its own Bethesda Avenue store after success at a local farmers market, is closing on May 26.
The news was first reported by blogger Robert Dyer. Zen Tara Tea (4710 Bethesda Ave.) will let customers know in an e-newsletter on Wednesday.
Co-owner Methee Thavornvongkajorn said a variety of factors contributed to the decision, including nearby construction of Lot 31. The construction there has caused disruptions to the busy intersection of Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues. The crosswalk on the south side of the intersection has been closed off and many have complained of a parking crunch now that the surface Lot 31 is gone.
Developer StonebridgeCarrass, which is building two apartment buildings on top of a new county-operated underground parking garage, has put signage around the construction area pointing people to existing businesses that may be affected.
“We don’t want to blame it on the construction alone,” Thavornvongkajorn said. “It’s that, it’s the parking. We have quite a few people who actually say they don’t come into Bethesda anymore. Some customers in Rockville actually have us do delivery.”
Thavornvongkajorn and partner Guy Munsch will maintain the online retail arm of the business. It opened in 2007 with a small tea counter at the Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market, just up the street from the store. The store, which opened in 2010, featured more than 100 teas, most grown organically.
From the e-newsletter:
Talking with our staff and our landlord over the past month, ultimately we decided it was best to maintain our integrity and close this chapter of our tea adventure with our heads held high. Zen Tara Tea is not going bankrupt, isn’t closing in the middle of the night leaving employees and creditors in a lurch, not asking for a bailout – we’ve lived up to all our responsibilities. There are certainly things we could have done better and will learn for next time but we have few true regrets. We’re also extremely proud of our teas and our service, many of the customer service problems endemic to retail businesses we’ve never had, thanks to our staff and to really great customers as well.
Thavornvongkajorn said the pair has discussed opening a smaller shop with the same landlord in the future, though for now, they’ll go on a “tea sabbatical.”
Video via Zen Tara Tea
Fast casual bakery, breakfast and sandwich chain Le Pain Quotidien opened its tenth D.C. area location on Monday in Chevy Chase at the Shops at Wisconsin Place.
Following up on its Bethesda Row location (7140 Bethesda Lane) the Belgian-inspired restaurant took over the old Tynan Coffee & Tea space (5310 Western Ave.) with an opening on Monday.
The 1,331-square-foot space seats 34 inside and has space for 38 seats on the patio and includes a communal table of reclaimed wood, the restaurant’s main feature.
Le Pain Quotidien at the Shops at Wisconsin Place will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Photo via Le Pain Quotidien
The Max Brenner chocolate shop slated for Bethesda Row should open in mid-June and will not feature the full brunch and dinner menu of the Israeli-shop’s restaurants in Boston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and New York City.
The Bethesda Max Brenner, taking over the former Ritz Camera space at 7263 Woodmont Ave., will focus exclusively on the chocolate products, including pastries, cakes and the chocolate pizza.
Max Brenner CEO Sam Borgese says it will be the store’s first “Chocolate Bar” location in the U.S. The chain that began in the late 90′s as a small shop selling handmade chocolates has grown to six countries and 40 similar Chocolate Bar restaurant concepts. Max Brenner is now a subsidiary of the Strauss Group, Israel’s second-largest food and beverage company.
The branding claims the chain is “creating a new chocolate culture worldwide,” with a bunch of unique chocolate-filled menu items and a Bethesda Row store the company says will provide “a holistic sensual experience — a more intimate space where you can smell, see, listen, taste and touch chocolate.”
Photo via Max Brenner
Blogger Robert Dyer reported the restaurant at 4932 St Elmo Ave. posted a note on its door last weekend that it would be closed and that “We hope to be able to serve you again soon, once we have resolved matters.”
Those matters apparently weren’t resolved. A For Lease sign went up in the window of the restaurant on Tuesday.
When reached for comment, a representative for the restaurant said he was heading into a meeting with a lawyer and that the situation was “quite the story.” We haven’t heard back.
The restaurant opened in 2011 and earned mixed reviews, but was perhaps best known for its Saturday night Flamenco dancing.
California Tortilla Offering Free Chips and Queso For Tax Day — Say “1040,” and get free chips and queso at California Tortilla to “celebrate” tax day.
Gay Kensington Boy Scout Organizes Protest Against Boy Scout’s Gay Ban — Pascal Tessier, 16, joined with members of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance on Thursday for a demonstration on Thursday in downtown Bethesda. The Boy Scouts of America will vote next month on whether to lift its ban on gay scouts and leaders. [Washington Post]
Metro To Spend $5 Million So Drivers, Operators Don’t Fall Asleep At The Wheel — The money is part of the system’s “fatigue risk management system.” It will also limit how much overtime Metro workers can take. [Washington Examiner]
Flickr photo by ehpien
UPDATED 1:20 p.m. on Monday A spokesperson for Smashburger, a Denver-based hamburger chain, confirmed today that the restaurant has signed a lease for the building under construction at the corner of Norfolk and Cordell Avenues.
Smashburger’s Stacie Lang said the burger shop will be about 2,100-square-feet and will open in late 2013 or early 2014.
Bethesda Urban Partnership director David Dabney told the Woodmont Triangle Action Group today that an unnamed hamburger restaurant is going into the building, which will house a two-story bar and restaurant from Tommy Joe’s owner Alan Pohoryles.
The restaurant, called “Roof,” will include a rooftop bar in the middle of one of Woodmont Triangle’s busiest areas.
Smashburger has more than 200 corporate and franchise restaurants in 29 states and five countries. The only other local location is in Fairfax.
Smashburger will fill out the first floor of the building, which will also include a Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins.
From Smashburger’s website:
By offering fresh, premium “smashed to order” burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, signature side items and hand-spun Haagen-Dazs shakes, Smashburger has modernized the way people think about burgers. Known for localizing its menu in every market with regionally inspired burgers and side items and offering local craft beers, Smashburger has received numerous awards including topping Fast Casual’s 2012 Top Mover & Shakers list, America’s Most Promising Company by Forbes magazine, INC. 500’s List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies INC’s #9 Hire Power Award winner, and is regularly voted “best burger’ in cities all around the world.
A typical burger ranges from $4.99 to $6.99. It’s most apparent competition will be the BGR The Burger Joint location in Veterans Park (4827 Fairmont Ave.). Pohoryles has said he hopes to have Roof open by July.
A major rebranding effort of Caribou Coffee stores outside the company’s home state of Minnesota will mean a big change for the Bethesda location, which over the years has become a favorite for downtown residents and commuters coming to and from the Metro station.
Store manager Lauren Callahan said the Bethesda store (7629 Old Georgetown Rd.) is one of 88 stores nationwide that will become a Peet’s Coffee & Tea, probably sometime in the next 12 to 18 months.
The company is closing 80 underperforming stores. The crew at Caribou will remain, Callahan said. They just won’t be known as Caribou anymore.
“We’ll be here until they close us down,” Callahan said.
Bethesda Row will celebrate a Restaurant Week of its own starting next Monday with 13 participating restaurants.
All the restaurants (with a few exceptions) will offer a $15 three-course lunch and $30 three-course dinner from April 15-April 21.
Tapas-favorite Jaleo is also giving away a $200 dining certificate.
Click each restaurant below to see what’s on its Restaurant Week menu:
Assagi Mozzarella Bar | American Tap Room | Cafe Deluxe | Jaleo | Lebanese Taverna (not available) | Le Pain Quotidien (not available) | Luke’s Lobster | Mon Ami Gabi | Mussel Bar & Grille (lunch only) | Parker’s American Bistro | Raku (choose from full menu) | Redwood | Vino Volo
All are welcome to the event, which this year will feature sweet treats such as puddings, pastries candies and chocolates. Nina Deva, owner of Fraiche Cupcakery in Wildwood Shopping Center (10219 Old Georgetown Rd.), will serve as the judge.
Bakes should bring enough for at least eight servings. The winner will receive a gift card to Fraiche Cupcakery.
All bakers and eaters must RSVP to the Town Office at 301-654-7144 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo via Central Farm Markets