Friday, January 31, 2020

Crawford Tire Goodyear demolished in Bethesda (Photos)

It's gone. Crawford Tire & Auto's Goodyear dealership and repair facility at 7015 Arlington Road has been leveled. A pile of rubble is all that remains. The demolition clears the way for a new Bethesda Audi dealership planned by EuroMotorcars.

Bethesda Sunlighting to close

The "Store Closing" and "Everything Must Go!" signs now ubiquitous in windows across moribund Montgomery County have popped up in another downtown Bethesda business. Bethesda Sunlighting will close, and a closing sale is now underway. Everything is currently 25% off. The lamp sales and repair shop is located at 7809 Old Georgetown Road.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Bethesda Row Apple Store to soon give customers "even better Today at Apple experience"

A store update being rolled out worldwide by Apple has come to the Bethesda Row Apple Store. An announcement on a temporary construction wall erected at the back of the store says, "An even better Today at Apple experience is coming soon."
What does this mean? Primarily, the installation of what Apple calls a "Forum," which is highlighted by a 6K or 8K video wall that plays a key role in Today at Apple sessions. At stores with large enough space, special seating, new lighting fixtures, and even live plant green walls are part of the makeover for the Forum space. The company has tried to not only increase the offerings of the Today at Apple seminars, but also reduce barriers such as providing iPhones or iPads to non-Apple owners and no longer requiring an Apple ID to participate.

Bethesda Bagels reopens at Bethesda Row

Bethesda Bagels has reopened at 4819 Bethesda Avenue at Bethesda Row. The store had to close for a week after a small fire in the ventilation system last Tuesday. Those repairs have now been completed, and the shop is open regular hours.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Ourisman Jeep making presence known at the Adagio in Bethesda

The new Ourisman Jeep dealership is open at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Bradley Boulevard in downtown Bethesda. It is located in the ground floor of the Adagio condominiums. An orange Jeep Rubicon is already greeting pedestrians on the sidewalk at the corner - you can't miss it! The dealership services cars at an offsite location, but also has a new service valet who will come to you.

Sumner Place CVS adds self-checkout machines

The CVS Pharmacy at 4601-A Sangamore Road in the Shops at Sumner Place finally has installed self-checkout machines. Three self-checkouts have been set up where the furthest left traditional checkout station has been at the front counter of the store. Only one was operating Tuesday evening. None of the three machines was accepting cash nor coins.

A test of the self-checkout found fewer glitches than those at other CVS stores. They appear to run the same software as the Giant self-checkouts, but the one I used still froze up once, demanding an employee intervention during the simple action of pushing "Continue" to pay. This CVS often has back-ups at the checkout, with only one cashier on duty, so the self-checkouts will likely be welcomed by customers.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Hawkers update at Bethesda Row

Construction at the future location of Hawkers Scratch Asian Street Fare on Bethesda Lane has been stalled for months. But there is now tangible evidence that work is going to finally begin. Something is being built onto the front of the restaurant space, which used to be part of the shuttered Redwood. They certainly won't expand the interior space onto the lane, because that would completely destroy the aesthetic of the iconic Bethesda Row pedestrian street.
More likely, a facade addition or change is being added. The chain's restaurants do not share a common facade or design. However, some feature a flat canopy that extends out over an outdoor patio area, which is what could be in the works here. Whatever is being changed, it's going to be hidden behind this construction wall until it's finished.

Johnny Was posts "coming soon" signage at Bethesda Row

The first "signs" of women's apparel and lifestyle brand Johnny Was appeared at Bethesda Row yesterday. Coming Soon screens were posted in the windows of the vacant Lily Pulitzer space at 4867 Bethesda Avenue, where Johnny Was is anticipated to open in March.

Monday, January 27, 2020

MCDOT to hold public meeting on unfunded CCT tunnel in Bethesda

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has scheduled a public meeting on the unbuilt Capital Crescent Trail tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue for this Wednesday, January 29, 2020 from 7:00-10:00 PM in the All-Purpose Room/Cafeteria of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School at 4301 East-West Highway. It was known for most of the last decade that this tunnel would be needed when the Purple Line replaced the existing old railroad tunnel for the popular recreational trail. The Montgomery County Council had the authority and opportunity to stipulate that the eventual developer of 7272 Wisconsin Avenue must fund and construct the CCT tunnel in exchange for the profit potential allowed by the Minor Master Plan Amendment the Council approved for the redevelopment of the Apex Building.
Rather than have any of their developer sugar daddies foot the bill for the CCT tunnel, the Council intentionally and actively chose to force you the taxpayer to fund it. And once again this fiscal year, as revenue declines despite record-high County tax rates, the Council chose not to fund the CCT tunnel. Heckuva job, Brownie!

You can give your feedback on this, and the design of the project, at Wednesday night's meeting.

Whole Foods/Kenwood Station shopping center to get facelift

Kenwood Station, the shopping center home to the popular Whole Foods Market at 5227 River Road in Bethesda, is going to get an exterior makeover later this year. The property owner plans to spend $1 million updating the facade and appearance of the structure, which dates back to the 1980s.

Before its current configuration as a retail center, the building was home to a Brunswick bowling alley. At one point, local hardware chain Hechinger was interested in opening a new location there, but backed off under heavy blowback from nearby residents.

Alas, there's no indication the parking lot will get any updates. It shares the title of Most Frustrating Parking Facility in Bethesda with Trader Joe's - or at least the ones people talk about most often. I could give a pretty long list of others in Bethesda that are just as difficult to use. A one million dollar expenditure suggests the landowner has no immediate plans to redevelop, wisely awaiting the secretly-planned extension of the Purple Line to River Road.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

THRōW Social DC and Kick Axe Throwing opening in DC's Ivy City

The District continues to clean Montgomery County's clock in nightlife. THRōW Social DC and Kick Axe Throwing will be the newest addition to DC's nighttime economy when they soft-open January 31, 2020 at 1403 Okie St. NE. Their official grand opening will be on February 6. The 22000 SF facility will include five curling rinks and six FootBowl (a game that combines football and bowling) "ranges" on the former's upper floor, and twelve axe-hurling ranges on the lower floor.
The Aspen lodge-themed
Kick Axe Throwing
The founder of D.C.'s Escape Room Live, Ginger Flesher-Sonnier, is opening the D.C. THRōW and Kick-Axe location. Come with enough players for a team (eight), or the venue will help by pairing you with other smaller groups and individuals.
Axe ranges - Gilius Thunderhead
would be proud!
Kick Axe is far from the first axe-throwing enterprise in the District, but the upscale ski lodge aesthetic promises to set it apart. THRōW takes a decidedly different tack, themed around a Palm Beach tropical concept. It features a standard Las Vegas nightclub/dayclub feature you won't find in Montgomery County - cabanas.
A nightlife venue with cabanas?
You're definitely not in MoCo!
Kick Axe Throwing and THRōW Social DC will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays, 3:00-11:00 PM; Fridays and Saturdays, noon-2:00 AM; and Sundays, 11:00 AM-9:00 PM. THRōW is open to all ages; Kick Axe is open to everyone age 8 and older (children are offered foam axes to throw). Kick Axe patrons must wear closed toe shoes, and high heels are prohibited there. Expect to pay $29 per person for an hour of each gaming experience.

If you haven't been to Ivy City recently, you won't recognize the revitalized neighborhood near Route 50 and an Amtrak maintenance facility. Top-rated restaurants include La Puerta Verde and Ivy City Smokehouse. The latter has a rooftop deck. Other highlights include City Winery, Target and Nike Community Store. The nearby Echostage is a nighttime destination for many a young Montgomery County resident, after 18 nightspots closed in Bethesda alone following the County Council's disastrous Nighttime Economy Task Force debacle earlier this decade.

Photos courtesy Kick Axe Throwing and THRōW Social DC

Anthony's Coal-Fired Pizza sets Bethesda opening date

Anthony's Coal-Fired Pizza is one of the most anticipated pizzeria additions to Montgomery County in recent years. Now they have set an opening date for their Bethesda location at 7776 Norfolk Avenue. The restaurant will open Wednesday, January 29, 2020, according to the location's Facebook page.

The sign has been installed, and has been lit the last couple of nights. There appear to be private events taking place in the pizzeria, and more are scheduled in the coming days with local organizations. But here's a way you can try to get your hands on an Anthony's pizza and other menu items before Wednesday - look for the pizzeria on

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Celebrate Lunar New Year at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda (Photos)

Today is the day of the Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year. Check out these decorations and messages at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, celebrating the Year of the Rat.

Stop by Godiva on Level 2. They have a special Chinese New Year edition box of chocolates, in varying sizes, with Lunar New Year red ribbons on the packaging. There is also a Godiva limited-edition box that features the Godiva chocolates most popular in Asia. Macy's is selling a Lunar New Year t-shirt. And purchasers of more than $200 in Crystal Living merchandise at Swarovski will receive a free Year of the Rat ornament.
The Young Artist Music Society will perform traditional and contemporary Chinese pieces on Level 1 of the Nordstrom wing today, Saturday, January 25, 2020 from 12:00-2:00 PM.

Continue the celebration tomorrow, January 26, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM with traditional Chinese performances by the Cathay School, and a red envelope decorating activity. Check inside your envelope to see if you got any special surprises. RSVP online.
Kids can then join representatives of the KID Museum between 1:00 and 3:00 PM to create their own dragon puppets (while supplies last).

But this weekend won't be the end of the celebration - head back to the mall on Saturday, February 8, from 6:00-8:00 PM for a 2-hour performance by the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center. Here's the full schedule:

6:00 PM Dragon Dance CCACC Youth Dragon Dance Team  龍隊遊行  中心青少年龍隊
6:10 PM Chinese Folk Dance CLAPS Chinese Dance  民族舞蹈  歡樂中文學校民族舞蹈班
6:20 PM Kung-Fu Fan Sweet Dew Refreshing the Earth Martial Arts Health Dance Society 功夫扇  甘露普潤  大華府養生武舞學社
6:30 PM Dancing, Singing, Rumba CCACC Evergreen Rockville 民族舞、唱歌、倫巴  洛城常青社
6:40 PM Yuan Chi Dance Yuan Chi Research Society 元極舞  華府元極學研究社
6:50 PM Folk Dance "Splendid China" Madison Chinese Dance Academy 錦繡中華  陌地生舞蹈學院
7:20 PM The Melodies of Guzheng & Calligraphy CCACC Guzheng Club  書法古箏賀元宵  美京華人活動中心古箏社
7:40 PM Martial Arts United States Wushu Academy  武術表演  美國武術學院
8:00 PM Lion Dance CYC Lion Troupe  舞獅  青年社舞獅隊

Friday, January 24, 2020

Tower crane erected at Edgemont II construction site in Bethesda

The tower crane is up at the Edgemont II construction site at the corner of Edgemoor Lane and Woodmont Avenue. A smaller crane was brought in to assist in the assembly yesterday.