As I look back on the Bethesda-area restaurant scene over the nearly 10 years that
we’ve been publishing Bethesda Magazine, I’m
struck by two things: how many restaurants
have come and gone, and how much dining
preferences have changed.
The high failure rate is not unique to this
area, but the risk factor here may be even
more severe because most restaurants are
locally owned and not part of well-capitalized
and well-run chains. (That, too, is changing,
though: All nine restaurants announced so
far in the new Pike & Rose development on
Rockville Pike are part of national chains.)
The frequent openings and closings of restaurants are also a reflection of changing dining habits and preferences. Most of the restaurants opening today are significantly different
from the ones that were opening 10 years ago.
In our eighth annual Restaurant Issue, we
look at eight ways the local dining landscape
is being reshaped. Some of the changes are
clearly a good thing—the fact that Potomac,
Rockville and Silver Spring now have thriving restaurant scenes, for instance. Other
changes, such as the rapid-fire replacement of
full-service restaurants with fast-casual establishments, aren’t so clear cut.
Our stories on the changing restaurant
scene begin on page 64.
On a recent Saturday night, my wife,
Susan, and I had dinner with friends in Fairfax, Va., and then went to a nearby Wegmans.
(Hold the comments, please, about grocery
shopping on a Saturday night!)
We went for one reason: The Virginia grocery store sells beer and wine; chain stores in
Montgomery County do not.
Years ago, Bethesda Magazine ran a story
about how the county controls the sale and
distribution of alcoholic beverages and how
the state prohibits their sale in chain stores. In
this issue, we explore why this is the case and
what would happen if the laws were changed.
It’s all about politics and money, of course,
but it seems to me that our elected officials
should at least study the potential impact on
revenue to the county and selection and price
for consumers if we let the free enterprise system take over. Our story begins on page 100.
We’ve been fortunate once again to
have had an outstanding Bethesda-Chevy
Chase High School intern with us for the
entire school year. When John Pearson joined
us last September, he didn’t have a lot to say.
That didn’t last long. John proved that he could
hold his own in terms of office repartee—
and in terms of the work we gave to him.
John, who will head to either NYU or
Syracuse in the fall, was a great addition to
I hope you enjoy this issue of Bethesda
Magazine. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it
and on the magazine in general. Please email
me at email@example.com.
Editor-in-chief and publisher