Knowles Station Wine Opens in Kensington

Other tenants considering leases for retail center, developer says

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Knowles Station Wine and Co. opened in Kensington on Tuesday, headlining a retail project completed in February, with more shop openings expected in the coming months.

The development at Detrick and Knowles avenues, former site of Hawkins’ Produce, has space for five tenants.

Knowles Station includes a Verizon store and the wine restaurant, with gelato shop La Gelatteria expected to open in April, Chevy Chase-based developer Tom Brault said.

Brault is using the fourth space as an interim office as lease negotiations continue with a potential tenant.

The final space could take on any user, but it’s “designed to accept a restaurant,” Brault said. Two groups are interested in the space.

Knowles Station Wine and Co. has craft beer and wine, a commercial kitchen and a delivery service. It’s run by restaurateur Ki Yoon, who also owns the Magruder’s supermarket in the District.

“The Kensington community has been clamoring for something like this for a long time,” Yoon said.

The restaurant has had a steady flow of customers throughout the day and should be much livelier in the evening, Yoon said.

The restaurant had an internal opening last Tuesday, then a soft opening on Saturday. About 80 people attended, including current and former mayors, County Council members and state delegates, Brault said.

Staff had planned to serve two groups of around 40 guests, but the initial group stayed to continue enjoying the festivities, leaving 70 customers at the restaurant.

Knowles Station Wine and Co. has on-site and carryout beer and wine sales under its Class D liquor license, a new category that required the cooperation of multiple levels of government.

“We’re a great example of good public-private cooperation on a small scale,” Brault said. “We got a governor to sign us a law, state legislators helped, the town helped, and it’s fantastic.”

Brault said the progress of the development will dictate how soon it adds new tenants. Depending on the success of business through the spring, negotiations could pick up for the remaining two spaces in May or June.

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