Best of Rockville: Local Favorites

Favorite doughnut shops, parks, toy stores, and more.

By: Michael Gaynor

DeRIONNE POLLARD
president of Montgomery College since August.
Right across the street from the Rockville campus is York Castle Tropical Ice Cream (827 Hungerford Dr.; 301-217-5840). It reminds me of vacations at the beach. My son likes plain vanilla, but I like the amaretto.

Il Pizzico (15209 Frederick Rd.; 301-309-0610) is a gourmet Italian restaurant in the middle of Rockville, a gem nestled in a strip mall. The food reminds me of what you would find in a quaint European bistro. The owners are proud Montgomery College alumni.

My son has a very sophisticated palate for a four-year-old, and he loves sushi. We go to Sushi Damo (36-G Maryland Ave.; 301-340-8010), where he has a wonderful sweet-potato tempura. It’s absolutely glorious.

I love taking my family to Rockville Town Square. We always stop in Toy Kingdom (36-C Maryland Ave.; 301-251-0220), where they have educational toys that stimulate the mind.

There’s also a rock garden at the Town Square that my son loves to play in. Children are always hopping from rock to rock, and there’s seating for parents to watch them play. Every time we take our son there, he makes a new friend.

Fractured Prune Donut Shoppe (39-A Maryland Ave.; 301-7382424) serves handmade cake doughnuts, and I get one with powered sugar and lemon along with a glass of milk. It’s divine.


PHYLLIS MARCUCCIO
mayor of Rockville, where she has lived more than 50 years.
Mary Trumbo Park (Park Rd. and N. Grandin Ave.) is so beautiful. The community started it, and almost every time of the year, something is blooming.

Apollo Restaurant (12 N. Washington St.; 301-294-3540) has a homespun feel. It’s a unique place where old-timers go, and since I’m an old-timer I go there. I love their deep-fried shrimp on Friday night. George, the proprietor, is so good to his customers.

Ten Thousand Villages (107-D Gibbs St.; 301-340-7122) sells unusual items made in different parts of the world. I’ve seen painted and polished rocks, animals made of paper, and handmade leather purses and braided belts.

For out-of-towners, there’s F. Scott Fitzgerald’s gravesite at St. Mary’s Catholic Church (520 Veirs Mill Rd.; 301-424-5550). People come from all over looking for it.


ELIOT PFANSTIEHL
president of the Strathmore Hall Foundation, which runs the Music Center at Strathmore, since 1983. He has also led the Montgomery County Arts Council and Round House Theatre.
Hit Urban Bar-B-Que Company (2007 Chapman Ave.; 240-290-4827), just off Rockville Pike, if you’re a hearty carnivore. I’m a rib guy, and they have the most wonderful fall-off-the-bone ribs, sweet cornbread, and killer apple crisp. There’s just nothing bad there, but you’re going to get a little messy.

Silver Diner (12276 Rockville Pike; 301-770-2828) just moved to a new building up the street. I was actually the first person on the morning they opened. I was in the old one so often that I used to joke they should install my fax machine in place of the jukebox.

For commuting early risers, nothing beats Panera Bread (1780 E. Jefferson St.; 301-881-5515). Hazelnut coffee, fast service, fresh bagels. I spend two hours there every morning in contemplation before work.

The Rockville Civic Center Park (603 Edmonston Dr.; 240-314-8660) is a great park and arts venue, with a mansion and an English-boxwood garden with a small fountain. In the summertime, the smell of it makes you feel like you’re miles away from where you are. It’s a gorgeous old private estate that is the cultural center for the city of Rockville, with an auditorium where I started my theatrical career.


SUDHIR SETH

chef and owner of Spice Xing in Rockville and Passage to India in Bethesda. He was born in New Dehli and now lives in Bowie with his wife, Sonali.
The Rockville Memorial Library (21 Maryland Ave.; 240-777-0140) is spacious and bright and is a far cry from the public libraries that are dark, studious kinds of places. The computers and wireless Internet are a great help, too. I find it very relaxing, and sometimes I just spend an hour or two there with a magazine.

I go to Againn (12256 Rockville Pike; 301-230-9260) for brunch. My favorite is the poached eggs, sautéed spinach, hollandaise, and potatoes. And of course a big mug of Guinness.

I love the patio seating at Mykonos Grill (121 Congressional La.; 301-770-5999) in the summer. Taramasalata, spanakopita, lamb kebabs, and baklava are the dishes I love. Very friendly service, too.

Giant (625 Hungerford Dr.; 240-314-5160) is close to my restaurant. It’s my go-to grocery store for all last-minute party requests for cake. And it’s open late with a courteous staff.

This article first appeared in the February 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.

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