Average Property Owner Would Pay $80 More In Taxes With Proposed Budget — County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended FY 14 budget would include a property tax increase from 99.1 cents per $100 of assessed value to to a little more than $1 per $100 of assessed value. [The Gazette]
Food, Wine & Co. Owners Bringing Taqueria To Cabin John — The owners of downtown Bethesda favorite Food, Wine & Co. (7272 Wisconsin Ave.) are bringing their Fish Taco casual seafood eatery to 7945 MacArthur Blvd. near Carderock Springs. [Bethesda Magazine]
Town of Chevy Chase Green Home Tour Set For Sunday — The second Town of Chevy Chase Green Home Tour is set for this Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will let participants see how some residents have incorporated geothermal power, solar panels and other green strategies into their homes. Sign up with the Town Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jaleo Takes “Martini Madness” Prize — Jaleo’s “Clouds over the Cosmo” martini was voted as the best in a competition of Bethesda Row restaurants. [Bethesda Row via Facebook]
Flickr photo by ehpien
Two of Bethesda’s high profile new gathering spots made a Washington Post list of new and notable restaurants from around the region, a sign of a growing nightlife according to the list.
Punches are served in Mason jars and exposed brick boasts a “Vote Against Prohibition” sign painted on it, hitting all the faux-Prohibition notes. For a sports bar, Brickside’s bar fare is elevated. The menu includes roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce and phyllo-wrapped shrimp, as well as Chicken ‘pops’ that “bring together three fried drumsticks glazed with barbecue sauce and accompanied by yogurt-cucumber sauce,” writes [Post food critic] Tom Sietsema. “The snack is hot, cool and tidy.”
The Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club (7719 Wisconsin Ave.) also made the list and is an opening that according to the Post means as much to Bethesda’s nightlife scene as it does to the restaurant scene.
Bethesda’s nightlife continues to grow, notably with the arrival in March of the elegant Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, a 500-seat, art deco jazz club that’s brought in major talent in its opening weeks. Situated on Wisconsin Avenue in a building that’s houses a few misguided projects before, this project seems more promising, what with a director of Operations who spend decades managing and booking Blues Alley and the Cellar Door.
B-CC Senior Among 3 Deaths In Christmas Eve Beltway Crash — Antony Benlizar, 17, his grandmother and another passenger died when their Chevy Malibu spun out on the outer loop of the Beltway near Connecticut Avenue and was hit by an oncoming vehicle. [The Gazette]
Stick To The Basics With Bus Rapid Transit — Blogger Dan Reed from Just Up The Pike says BRT advocates must focus on the system’s ability to get people where they want to go to convince skeptics of its potential worth. A BRT route has been studied for the Wisconsin Avenue/Rockville Pike corridor. [Just Up The Pike]
Restaurants Added To Bethesda-Chevy Chase Restaurant Week — Eight new restaurants have been added to Bethesda-Chevy Chase Restaurant Week (Jan. 24 to Feb. 3) including Daily Grill (One Bethesda Metro Center), Grapeseed (4865 Cordell Ave.), Le Vieux Logis (7925 Old Georgetown Rd.), Oakville Grille & Wine Bar (10257 Old Georgetown Rd.) and Vino Volo (7243-7247 Woodmont Ave.). [Bethesda Urban Partnership]
Bethesda’s winter Restaurant Week has new sponsors, new prices and a new organizer this year, according to lead media sponsor Bethesda Magazine.
Below is a list of participating restaurants with price points for lunch and dinner. (Restaurant Week runs from Thursday, Jan. 24 to Sunday Feb. 3.)
Assaggi Mozzarella Bar (4838 Bethesda Avenue); (301) 951-1988; www.assaggirestaurant.com ;Lunch $12 and Dinner $33
Black’s Bar & Kitchen (7750 Woodmont Avenue #201); (301) 652-5525; www.blacksbarandkitchen.com; Lunch $16
Brasserie Monte Carlo (7929 Norfolk Avenue); (301) 656-9225; www.brasseriemontecarlo.com; Lunch $16 and Dinner $33
Capital Grille – Chevy Chase (5310 Western Avenue); (301) 718-7812; www.thecapitalgrille.com; Lunch $16 and Dinner $33
Assagi Mozzarella Bar (4838 Bethesda Ave.), Bangkok Garden (4906 St. Elmo Ave.), Benihana (7935 Wisconsin Ave.), Bethesda Crab House (4958 Bethesda Ave.), Brasserie Monte Carlo (7929 Norfolk Ave.), City Lights of China (4820 Bethesda Ave.), Golden House (8100 Wisconsin Ave.), Legal Sea Foods (7101 Democracy Blvd., Westfield Montgomery Mall), MayFlower Chinese (7925 Norfolk Ave.), North China Restaurant (7814 Old Georgetown Rd.), Passage to India (4931 Cordell Ave.), Positano Ristorante Italiano (4948 Fairmont Ave.), Ruth Chris Steak House (7315 Wisconsin Ave.), Sala Thai (4828 Cordell Ave.), Shanghai Village (4929 Bethesda Ave.), Sushi Ko (5455 Wisconsin Ave.), Tara Thai (4828 Bethesda Ave.) are some of the spots that will be open tomorrow.
Some are reservation only and some will open for dinner only, so call ahead.
Bethesda Row Cinema (7235 Woodmont Ave.) and the Regal Bethesda 10 movie theater (7272 Wisconsin Ave.) will be open as usual for any who have a movie-going Christmas Day tradition.
Bethesda’s three Giant grocery store locations (7142 Arlington Rd., 10400 Old Georgetown Rd. and 5400 Westbard Ave.) will be open until 7 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Day. Safeway (7625 Old Georgetown Rd., 4701 Sangamore Rd.) will be open until 8 p.m. today and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Harris Teeter grocery store in White Flint (11845 Old Georgetown Rd., North Bethesda) will be open until 7 p.m. today and closed tomorrow, same with the Whole Foods Market at 5629 River Rd.
Montgomery Leaders Want ‘Huge Infusion of Cash’ For Transportation — At yesterday’s transportation summit in Annapolis, Montgomery County leaders said the state must raise its gas tax to fund critical transportation projects as area roads get more congested. [Washington Post]
Popular Chinese Restaurant Owner Finds New Home — Fu Cheung, the owner of the the Foong Lin Chinese restaurant on Norfolk Avenue, has taken over management of Moon Gate (4613 Willow Ln.) Cheung had to leave his space of more than two decades earlier this year because of development in Woodmont Triangle. [Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row]
Developer Holding Community Meeting On Wisconsin Avenue Apartments — Developer JBG Cos. will discuss its site plan application for a mixed-use development at 7900 Wisconsin Ave. in a meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane). This is the part of the failed JBG/Montgomery County effort to build the new 2nd District police station that will go forward as a private project.
Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s Mussel Bar & Grille (7262 Woodmont Ave.) is partnering up with its location in Atlantic City, N.J., to provide holiday toys for some of the hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy in October.
Those who drop off an unwrapped toy in the motorcycle-paper covered box at the restaurant on Wednesday, Dec. 12 can receive a free desert, Mussel Bar’s triple chocolate gateau.
Wiedmaier is teaming up with other D.C. chefs to collect toys on behalf of his employees at his Atlantic City restaurant in the Revel Casino. Atlantic City was one of many New Jersey shore areas that saw the worst of Sandy, which caused upwards of $36 billion of damage to the state.
David Guas’ Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington and R.J. Cooper’s Rogue 24 in D.C. are also participating in the toy drive, which coincides with the 12-12-12 Sandy Relief Concert in New York. Wiedmaier will be showing the concert at the bar.
Police Still Searching For North Bethesda Carjacking Suspect — Montgomery County Police are still searching for a man they say used a handgun to carjack a woman in North Bethesda on Wednesday afternoon before ditching the car in downtown Silver Spring, where he eluded authorities. The carjacking victim was uninjured. [The Gazette]
Town of Chevy Chase Talks Development — Tonight, the Town of Chevy Chase will hold town hall meeting on the lastest in downtown Bethesda development and the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan. Ken Hartman, director of the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, will run through ongoing and upcoming development projects and Mayor Pat Burda will give the latest on Chevy Chase Lake. The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall (4301 Willow Lane). [Town of Chevy Chase]
Bethesda Chef Shoves Camera, Apologizes — A WUSA9 reporter who shows up unannounced at local restaurants cited for health violations came to Mia’s Pizzas on Cordell Avenue last week. Chef Mia Ballinger wasn’t pleased. She shoved a camera man before agreeing to allow the crew to come in and film her restaurant, which was cleared of its violation and reopened. [WUSA9]
Montgomery Sees Significant Turnout For Early Voting — Almost 78,000 participated in early voting last week despite a disruption from Hurricane Sandy. The number is about three times the number of early voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, the first time it was an option. [The Gazette]
Warm temperatures and sunny conditions gave way to clouds and a few raindrops Saturday, but that didn’t stop thousands from descending on Woodmont Triangle for the 23rd annual edition of Bethesda’s signature event.
More than 55 restaurants distributed food samples at the Taste of Bethesda, a strong showing that brought a flood of people to Norfolk, Fairmont, Cordell, St. Elmo and Del Ray Avenues.
Maintenance staff from Bethesda Urban Partnership, the nonprofit charged with marketing Bethesda and the organizer of the event, began setting up the more than 80 white tents, tables and chairs before 3 a.m. Saturday.
By 7 a.m., the Taste of Bethesda welcome sign above Norfolk and Fairmont Avenues had been erected, and workers were attaching restaurant names to tents.
A batch of four tickets was $5 and most restaurants offered three-ticket or four-ticket items including small plates, lunch-sized meals and burger, pork or steak sliders.
The tenderloin slider from Ruth Chris Steak House (7315 Wisconsin Ave.) drew a long line, as did the sweet potato fries from BGR The Burger Joint (4827 Fairmont Ave.) and the jambalaya from Louisiana Kitchen & Bayou Bar (4907 Cordell Ave.).
Jaleo (7271 Woodmont Ave.) brought back its crowd-pleasing chicken/mushroom paella pot and the yet-to-open Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club (7719 Wisconsin Ave.) served red beans and rice, gumbo and its own version of jambalaya.
Club Director of Operations Ralph Camilli said construction started on the club this week after a few delays, and operators are targeting a late-December or January opening.
With the Nov. 6 election approaching, there were a number of political candidates and their supporters in the crowd.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) shook hands and talked with a number of Taste participants. His Republican opponent (and fellow Kensington resident) Ken Timmerman also made an appearance. Independent U.S. Senate candidate Rob Sobhani, of Potomac, made the rounds too.
Click and scroll through the photo gallery below:
Caddies on Cordell is mentioned in most discussions of Bethesda’s bar scene and on Oct. 6, the golf-themed sports bar with the famous outdoor patio will be celebrating 10 years.
“We’ve been lucky,” said manager and bartender Lisa Gormley, who was a customer at Caddies before joining the staff four years ago. “Obviously, places come and go here. Somehow, we’ve found the right formula.”
That formula started with the three original owners, Bethesda natives Gabe Coulon, Chris Sansone, and Andrew Leach, who joined up to create Caddies (4922 Cordell Ave.) after working their way up at various Bethesda area restaurants.
Leach has since opened a new restaurant in Olney, which opened up a spot for Coulon’s brother, Rob, to join the ownership group. The brothers began at the now closed Rio Grande Cafe on Fairmont Avenue.
“We’re all local here. For a lack of a better way to say it, it’s that kind of “Cheers” feel. We know everybody. We know what they drink,” Rob Coulon said. “It’s a place where you don’t have to feel uncomfortable going by yourself because we all get to know you. That neighborhood feel is what keeps us going.”
The sports bar emphasis doesn’t hurt.
Over its 10 years, Caddies has attracted Washington Redskins Hall of Fame running back John Riggins (“I remember having dinner with him right back there,” Coulon said), Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green and golfer Sergio Garcia, who signed one of the golf flags hanging from the ceiling.
Then, in what was likely Caddies’ most famous moment, there was former Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman.
Riggleman, a Rockville native, headed to Caddies after he quit the Nationals job following a game in the middle of the 2011 season. In a moment that will live on in D.C. sports lore, he was photographed drinking with some of his favorite female fans.
“Yeah, well, I was solving the world’s problems last night at Caddies,” Riggleman said in a radio interview the next day. “Hey, I was big in there. My face is up on the screen and everything.”
“Everybody brings that up and that was a wonderful time,” Coulon said. “But that wasn’t the only time he was in here. That just happened to be the one that blew up.”
Caddies 10th Anniversary celebration is set for Oct. 6, from open to close and will include drink specials, giveaways and a DJ from 8 p.m. to close.
They want to be ready just in case.
A group of some of the county’s most popular mobile vendors got together Monday in Rockville for a first ever informal meeting of Montgomery County food truck owners.
According to Curley Q’s BBQ owner David Cornblatt, the 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.
So far, though, Go Fish! food truck owner Missy Carr said she hasn’t seen police enforce many regulations, including the “ice cream truck rule” that requires a line of customers at a mobile vendor in order for it to remained parked.
“I have spoken with police officers. It’s not like they’re well-versed on food vendor licensing. I don’t think they’re worried about it. It’s not as big of an issue,” Carr said. “It’s kind of one of those things, you know it’s out there. You know it can be a problem at some point. It’s not a problem now so do you want to call attention to it?”
Some Bethesda brick-and-mortar operators have publicly expressed concern.
Jeff Heineman, owner of Grapeseed American Bistro + Wine Bar and Freddy’s Lobsters & Clams on Cordell Avenue, told Bethesda Magazine he’s worried food trucks could take away from his restaurants’ already slim profit margins if they grow in popularity.
Jon Rossler, owner of the Corned Beef King truck, said for now it makes more financial sense to serve at corporate office parks at prescheduled food truck events or farmers markets.
Parking is difficult to find in downtown Bethesda and there are no guarantees that customers will be waiting.
Rossler is working on launching a second food truck that might start serving Bethesda.
Cornblatt, who makes a weekly stop in downtown Bethesda, said he’s partnered with owners of established brick-and-mortars such as Black’s Bar & Kitchen and BlackFinn to hand out free drink coupons to their establishments to his food truck customers.
“I don’t want to be a thorn in anybody’s side. If anything, we want to do what we can to give to them,” said Cornblatt, who helped organize the meeting.
“I want to get organized so we can keep the peace with the brick-and-mortars,” Cornblatt said. “We don’t want to be chasing our tails and scurrying about.”
Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza, the popular D.C. pizza joint with locations in Friendship Heights, Columbia Heights and Arlington, is extending its Friendship Heights delivery area into Bethesda.
“To grow a delivery business you have to grow it slowly because either you have too many drivers in the beginning or you have to make customers wait way too long for their pizza,” said co-founder Joel Mehr. “It’s a little bit hard to describe unless you’re in the restaurant every day.”
Mehr felt enough Bethesda customers were interested in a Pete’s delivery service to justify extending its reach past the District line and up to Goldsboro Road and Bradley Lane, just south of downtown.
Delivery time shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes, Mehr said. Delivery hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
As for a future Pete’s location in Bethesda, Mehr said a saturated upscale pizza market means he’ll probably look elsewhere, perhaps North Bethesda or Rockville. Mehr said Pete’s is looking at a lease for a space in Silver Spring.
In honor of National Cheeseburger Day, BGR The Burger Joint held its first annual burger eating contest this afternoon at BGR’s 4827 Fairmont Avenue location in Bethesda. Competing in the contest were four men and one woman, all from the greater Washington area.
After downing 17 cheeseburger sliders in ten minutes, 24 year old “Munchin” Michael Longo from Dumfries, Va. took home the $500 cash first place prize. In addition to his prize, Longo will also have the chance to compete in BGR’s national championship next May for $2,000 in winnings including a $1,000 cash prize and a $1,000 BGR gift card.
This wasn’t Longo’s first eating championship. He holds titles in the With Cheese Please National Cheesesteak Championship, the Little Jimmy’s National Italian Ice Eating Championship, the National Bun & Cheese Eating Championship, and the National Potato Latke Eating Championship. He currently holds the national record for Italian ice, after consuming four pounds and 1.25 ounces of it in one sitting.
Tyron Hill placed second after finishing 11 sliders to win a $250 BGR gift card, and Jonathan Henderson placed third after finishing 8 sliders to win a $150 BGR gift card.
After the contest ended, owner Mark Bucher treated spectators to free sliders.
Some of that is a result of the store’s free wine and beer tastings, which are typically a weekly event. The store (7029 Wisconsin Ave.) is offering a free taste of wines from four different countries today from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
“I’m an avid beer geek,” Birks said. “So the main thing I would say is the customer service aspect of it, meaning that when somebody comes in here I can give my customers honest feedback.
Carlos Ramirez and Francis Namin, the duo behind the similarly named Food, Wine and Co. (7272 Wisconsin Ave.), opened the beer and wine variation of the restaurant in August 2011.
Craft brewers and winemakers come in to let customers sample new products, usually on Thursday and Friday evenings or Saturday afternoons.
Tonight’s wine selection includes Argyros Assyriko from Greece, Fred Loimer “Lois” Gruner Veltliner from Austria, Falesco Assisi Rosso from Italy and Bodegas Renacer “Enamore” from Argentina.
The featured wines will be sold for 10 percent off during the tasting.
Almost a year after Bagel City was first notified it would have to move out to make way for a Walmart, the popular bagel place and deli has a new lease.
The shop has been in its 12119 Rockville Pike location just south of the Rockville city boundary for more than 30 years, enough to generate plenty of support from the community when the big box store issue came up before the County Council last November.
A few months ago, JBG Co., the developer set on redeveloping Pike Center around an 80,000-square-foot Walmart, advised tenants that it was selling the property to Houston-based Weingarten Realty.
Weingarten took over management this month, Bagel City got a two-year lease and Director of Operations Stephanie Kavadoy said there’s been talk of a seven-year lease in the future.
“One year later, the picture looks a lot better,” said Kavadoy, whose father George owns eatery. “We had a lot of sleepless nights for at least six months. It was a big weight off our shoulders.”
Customers often call in, curious to see if Bagel City is still around, Kavadoy said, especially around the Jewish High Holiday season. The restaurant provides a catering service to go along with its bagel production and deli items.
For now, it’s safe.
The new property owner indicated it might pursue development on the wings of the shopping center, according to Kavadoy.
“We still know things might change in the future because if you want to have a business with surface parking like we have, it’s very rare on Rockville Pike and not part of the future plans,” Kavadoy said. “Right now, this is where we’ve existed for 30 years and this is the best option for us.
“I believe it happened because of the loyal customers and the community,” Kavadoy said.