Shop Talk

Green Jeans to Close Its Doors

The owners of Green Jeans New and Recycled Children’s Boutique in Kentlands Downtown recently announced they will close their store this month

“Green Jeans will be closing its Kentlands location in mid-July due to circumstances beyond our control,” said a post on the store’s Facebook page. “We want to thank our loyal and regular customers for supporting us and making us one of the best stores in the Kentlands! We loved all of our young artists throughout the year. The opportunity for us to support national and local causes — Snowflakes for Sandy Hook, Sean’s Sidekicks, Relay for Life, Teddy Bears for OK, and more. We were not just a store. …

Keep your eyes open, we may show up somewhere else!”

Longtime friends and Kentlands residents Diane Strodel and Valerie Dugan opened Green Jeans in June 2012 at 375 Main Street. They declined to comment further on the reasons behind the closure.

Colonnade’s Kentlands Cafe

After years of erratic hours and closures for long periods of time, Kentlands Cafe, located at 11 Arch Place in The Colonnade, has a new owner. Konstantine Kotchadze reopened the cafe just a few weeks ago and said already his business is doing well.

Residents of the Colonnade already seem pleased with the reopening and restyling of the formerly dark café, he said.

“The people here have been really supportive,” said Kotchadze. “Even the president of the Colonnade, Mike Janus, stops by for a glass of wine almost every day.”

Kotchadze recently received an associate’s degree in international business from Montgomery College. He originally planned to get into franchising once he finished his degree but serendipitously stumbled upon the opportunity to buy the Kentlands Cafe space.

“I saw this place for sale through a broker, and it was a great deal. So I got a business loan and just went for it.”

Kotchadze is originally from Russia but moved here when he was 6 years old. While growing up, he helped run the family restaurant business near Georgetown in Washington, D.C., where he gained a passion for restaurants and business management. He grew up Rockville and Potomac, Md., and now loves Montgomery County.

Kentlands Cafe is currently open Monday – Friday from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., but Kotchadze hopes to expand those hours to include lunch by the end of July. He is actively searching for an assistant manager, as well as a secondary chef. “Zina [Kotc, the current chef,] and I can’t be here alone that whole time,” Kotchadze said.

The current menu includes paninis, salads, soups, smoothies and a handful of specials. However, Kotchadze has plans to build a hood, which would allow for a full oven and stove to be added to the kitchen, greatly increasing the number of dishes that could be prepared and added to the menu. The Colonnade will reach a decision on the addition of a hood on June 29.

“The paninis are a big hit so far, but I would like to offer French fries to go with them!” Kotchadze admitted.

A wide range of beers and wine are available to go, as well as to enjoy in-house. Kentlands Cafe also features a happy hour from 5 – 7 p.m., which boasts $3 for a glass of any wine, $2 for domestic beer, and $3 for imported.

“So far, most of our business is from residents of the Colonnade,” Kotvhadze said. “They say they are so glad to just come downstairs for carryout or to pickup a bottle of wine. Our neighbors are excited that we are here.”

Peppers Expanding

Peppers/Monsoon Kitchen has announced it will soon open a second location in the former (and short-lived) Popcorn Mama retail space adjacent to the Star Diner. Signs and menus are already in place on windows and doors of the space, and owners Mike and Jyoti Bhatnagar hope to open as soon as all the permits and licenses are approved by the city of Gaithersburg.

The menu at the second location, just across from the restaurant’s 251 Market Street space, will be very different.

“It is going to be more upscale, with high end items and fancy coffee shop beverages,” said Mike. “We will have lots of fresh salads, fresh fruit, parfaits, ice cream, ciabatta and focaccia, and homemade breads.” Sandwiches, smoothies and desserts will also be on the menu.

“We will definitely have cakes, pies, muffins, tiramisu, tres leche cake, Italian canoli and Indian sweets gulab jamun and rasmalai.”

Most of the food prep and storage will still be done at the original location, which is larger and has a roomy kitchen.

While there won’t be room for any indoor seating, the Bhatnagars plan to have eight to 10 outdoor tables, which will be serviced by a waitress. For those who still want to order from the current Peppers menu, fear not: It can be delivered in 15 – 20 minutes from the main kitchen.

Takeout is available from both the old and new menus, as well as delivery through Takeout Taxi, Grub Hub and Eat24.

“We still use all fresh vegetables, fruits, USDA Prime grade meats, olive and canola oils for all our cooking,” said Mike. “And our portions are big and we still have people take leftovers for their lunch [the next day.]”

The Bhatnagars plan to open soon and added that they are currently looking for cooks, kitchen help and long-term wait staff.

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