Small Bites: European-style bakery to open in Kensington

Small Bites: European-style bakery to open in Kensington

Plus: District Taco in Silver Spring can offer alcohol; El Sapo adding 20% COVID service charge

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Logo from Potomac Sweets Facebook Page

European-style bakery to open in former JennyCakes space in Kensington

Potomac Sweets, a bakery that serves four farmers markets in Montgomery County, will open a brick-and-mortar shop at 10419 Armory Ave. in Kensington, replacing the popular bakery JennyCakes, which closed earlier this month.

Potomac Sweets posted a picture on its Facebook page of the space with a sign in the window that the bakery would be coming soon.

Owner Gerard Partoens told Bethesda Beat in an interview on Monday that he isn’t sure exactly when the Kensington store will open, as it depends on receiving approval from the county’s health department.

Potomac Sweets operates at the Rockville, Shady Grove, Derwood and Bethesda Central farmers markets, according to its website.

It sells a variety of gourmet European-style cookies, pastries, tarts and other delicacies. Partoens said he hopes to expand the menu when he opens the Kensington location and include cakes, as well.

Partoens said business has “increased drastically” this year at the farmers markets where he sets up shop. The pandemic hasn’t kept customers away from open-air markets.

“It’s actually safer to shop in an open-door farmers market,” he said.

Partoens started Potomac Sweets in 2018, following a 25-year-career as executive chef in multiple upscale hotels, most recently Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The Moco Show first reported Potomac Sweets’ plans to expand.

District Taco in Silver Spring receives alcohol license

District Taco’s Silver Spring location will now serve beer.

The location — one of 12 in D.C., Maryland and Virginia — was approved for an alcohol license on Sept. 17. It is at 1310 East West Highway.

The chain began operating the Silver Spring location in July 2019. The fast-casual spot allows patrons to customize their tacos or burrito bowls with their choice of base, protein and toppings.

District Taco used to serve about half of its customers with carry-out meals and about half dined in, Marketing Manager Alex Tucker said. But since the pandemic, the chain now does almost all carry-out and curbside pickup orders.

The restaurant is asking local residents to nominate groups or individuals that are giving back to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The restaurant will donate to those individuals 20 burritos twice a month for the next six to 10 months.

The recipes are all authentic, Tucker said, as they all started as dishes that co-founder Osiris Hoil or his mother used to make. Hoil immigrated from Yucatan, Mexico, to the United States when he was 17.

He worked in construction until he was laid off due to the 2008 economic crisis. He began cooking up recipes for his neighbors, one of whom was Marc Wallace, who would go on to become District Taco’s co-founder. The two decided to start a food truck, “and District Taco was born,” Tucker said.

El Sapo adding 20% COVID-19 service charge for in-person dining

El Sapo Cuban Social Club in Silver Spring has fully reopened for indoor and outdoor dining, and is adding a temporary 20% service charge for customers who dine in during the pandemic.

According to a press release, El Sapo reopened for indoor and outdoor service on Sept. 22, subject to Montgomery County’s capacity restrictions. The menu will include “a few new additions,” the press release stated.

The press release stated that the restaurant is adding a 20% service charge for the “security and welfare of our staff” during the pandemic.

Ilsy Serrano, a spokeswoman for El Sapo, told Bethesda Beat last week that the 20% service charge only applies to in-person dining, not takeout.

“[The restaurant’s employees] are battling in this situation, so we want to make sure they are getting what they need in order to provide for their families, too. And we are thanking the community in advance for supporting them,” she said.

El Sapo owner Raynold Mendizabal’s other restaurant in Silver Spring, Urban Butcher, temporarily closed over the summer and has not yet reopened.

Crumbl Cookies opening Thursday in Rockville

Crumbl Cookies, a chain of cookie shops that started three years ago in Logan, Utah, is opening in Rockville’s Federal Plaza on Thursday, the store wrote on its Facebook page.

Crumbl will have a grand opening on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 12266 Rockville Pike. On Friday, the store will hold Free Cookie Day, in which customers will each get one free chocolate chip cookie while the store is open, between 8 a.m. and midnight.

According to the Facebook post, Crumbl will offer a rotating menu of cookies available for delivery, takeout and curbside pickup.

Bethesda Beat intern Rose Horowitch contributed to this story

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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