2018 | Dine

Small Bites: Fast-Casual Italian, Prima, Coming to Bethesda; ‘Whiskey Rocks’ Brings Special Selections to Gaithersburg and Bethesda

Plus: Ramen restaurant offers furlough deal; whiskey tastings this weekend at county liquor stores

share this
'Whiskey Rocks' Gaithersburg and Bethesda Flyer

Via Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control

Fast-Casual Italian, Prima, Coming to Bethesda

Fast-casual Italian restaurant Prima will be replacing Taylor Gourmet at Bethesda Row.

Prima, 7280 Woodmont Ave., will be the 12th member of the Schlow Restaurant Group, which includes five restaurants in Washington, D.C.

The restaurant is owned by Spiro Pappadopoulos, CEO of Schlow Restaurant Group. Pappadopoulos said it’s too early to tell when Prima will open, but the goal is as soon as possible.

The menu will focus on local vegetables, fresh herbs, legumes and sustainable meat and fish, Pappadopoulos said.

Blogger Robert Dyer first reported Prima’s arrival.

‘Whiskey Rocks’ Brings Special Selections to Gaithersburg and Bethesda

The Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control is a hosting a first-of-its-kind whiskey celebration this weekend featuring rare selections and free tastings.

Whiskey Rocks begins on Friday at 10 a.m. at the Muddy Branch Liquor & Wine store in Gaithersburg and continues on Saturday at Westwood Liquor & Wine in Bethesda.

Enthusiasts can sample a variety of offerings on a first-come, first-serve basis as well as enter lotteries for a chance to purchase limited edition items such as Pappy Van Winkle and George T. Stagg.

“We’ve really tried to reach out to our partners, those that are making these highly allocated, hard to find products and we are giving our consumers access,” DLC Senior Marketing Officer Melissa Davis said. “We’re really excited about being able to do that.”

Heaven Hill Distillery will hold a seminar detailing their “mashbill” recipe, which filled in less than an hour, Davis said.

Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley provided a Buffalo Trace Barrel selection specifically chosen for the DLC, available from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The empty barrel will be raffled off once the tasting is concluded.

The DLC has had one-day events in the past, but Whiskey Rocks will be the department’s first multi-day celebration. The response from residents has been largely positive and the DLC plans to have a similar event in July.

“We’re sharing our love of whiskey with the residents of Montgomery County,” Davis said.

Ramen restaurant offering free rice bowls to government employees

Ejji Ramen announced on Tuesday its two locations would offer complimentary specials to furloughed workers until the partial federal government shutdown is over.

Ejji has restaurants at Westfield Montgomery mall in Bethesda and Belvedere Square Market in Baltimore.

“We wanted to just kinda do something for the community and help in any way we could, without trying to get political on either side,” head chef and co-owner Ten Vong said.

Vong said he’s giving his sous chefs the opportunity to get creative with the daily rice bowl special. The selections will last a few days and then be swapped out, and customers can keep an eye on Ejji’s social media channels to track the free item.

Ejji was founded in 2014 and the Bethesda location opened in October 2018.

The daily special will be available for the extent of the shutdown, though its duration might challenge that promise.

“We’ll see, we’re gonna play it by ear,” Vong said with a chuckle. “If it goes a couple weeks we can probably swing it, if it goes six months I don’t know.”