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Rockville & Potomac

Here's this week's retail & restaurant scoop:

Pizza in a Flash at the Mall

Blaze Pizza, a hot new concept from the founders of Wetzel's Pretzels, will make its Maryland debut this summer at Westfield Montgomery Mall. The California-based chain, which has attracted such high-profile investors as Maria Shriver, is known for its Chipotle-style assembly line: Customers watch as their ball of dough is flattened into a crust, topped by their choice of 40 fresh ingredients, then flash-fired for two minutes in a super-hot oven. The Montgomery Mall location, which will open near Old Navy, is just the beginning for Blaze in this market. Virginia and D.C. locations are in the works.

Olympic Buzz for Burton

Excitement about the winter Olympics has been great for business at Burton, the Vermont-based snowboarding company. At its Westfield Montgomery Mall store, which opened last August with a broad selection of boards, boots and winter clothes, "jacket sales have been up crazy amounts" since the Olympics began, says assistant manager Cory Brown. But there's one item in high demand that the store just can't provide: the patchwork jackets worn by the U.S. snowboarding team. "Only the athletes can wear them right now," Brown says. Not for long, though. A civilian version is coming later this year.

No More Mu Shu

It looks like we've seen the last of China Jade Bistro at Cabin John Shopping Center. Doors have been closed for more than a week at the neighborhood eatery, which replaced the similarly named Jade Billows just a few years ago.

Toy Story

Also closing in the next few weeks, after two decades as a Potomac Village fixture, is the charming toy shop Toys Unique."I've never carried computer games, Xbox or things like that -- just good basic toys that don't get outdated," says owner Jarunee Chantraparnik, who is retiring. The mix of shops in Potomac Village has changed a lot in 20 years, she says, and her customers'  buying habits have changed too. "Now the younger parents seem to be doing everything through the Internet." 

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