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Rockville Local Favorites: My Rockville

Locals talk about favorite places for a cappuccino, pre-theater meals, a lively night out, and more

Mayor Susan Hoffman goes to Lola, a bakery near Rockville Town Square, for “the best cappuccino I’ve ever had.” Photograph by Chris Leaman.

Susan Hoffmann is the mayor of Rockville. She and her family have lived there more than 20 years.

Some of the best sushi in Washington is at Sushi Damo (36-G Maryland Ave.; 301-340-8010). It’s a beautiful restaurant, and the service is excellent. It’s close to both city hall and my house; I go there a lot for business lunches.

I go to Art and Chemistry (5224 Nicholson La.; 301-468-6900) for highlights with Rachel Maldonado. I followed her around from salon to salon—it’s probably been 20 years. I stick with people when I like their work.

I get my nails done at Acqua Nails (100-H Gibbs St.; 301-838-8599) in Rockville Town Square. David Vuong is the only man working in the place, and he’s great. For a facial or massage, I go to Jouvence Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa (130-A Gibbs St.; 301-424-3744), also in Town Square.

Right on the edge of Town Square is a wonderful bakery called Lola (12 N. Washington St.; 301-610-5652). It carries lots of South American pastries and delicacies plus bagels from Bethesda Bagels and baguettes from a bakery that supplies Michel Richard’s Citronelle. They make the best cappuccino I’ve ever had.

Barbara Black and her husband, Jeff, own the restaurant Addie’s (11120 Rockville Pike; 301-881-0081). They live in Kensington with sons Simon, ten, and Oliver, nine.

We take our West Highland terrier to Lake Needwood Boat House (15700 Needwood Lake Cir.; 301-762-9500). He likes getting in the water and getting messy. There’s a trail that runs around the lake, and you can rent canoes and paddleboats or do a boat tour for 10 to 16 people. We usually spend the whole day there.

When we go out to eat, we love Lebanese Taverna Café (1605 Rockville Pike; 301-468-9086). We’ve known Gladys Abi-Najm, one of the owners, for a long time. She’s a lot of fun.

We also go to Houston’s (12256 Rockville Pike; 301-468-3535). If we have a babysitter, Jeff and I will sneak over there and have a glass of wine. It’s nice because we know the bartenders, the food is consistent, and it’s a very relaxing place.

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Duane Monahan has been a performer, director, and choreographer with Rockville Musical Theatre since 1986. He’s choreographing the theater’s fall production of West Side Story.

People get a lot of their dance supplies, makeup, and dance shoes at Repeat Performance (5050-B Nicholson La.; 301-881-0800), a combination dance shop and costume-rental place. It’s been there forever.

We sometimes partner with the Musical Theater Center (837-D Rockville Pike; 301-251-5766). It’s a dance school and performance space, mostly for kids. They do all-children performances of Broadway shows and offer acting, voice, and dance classes for kids. I take a tap class for adults there with Diane Hamilton; I’ve been taking dance from her for 20 years.

There’s a great Italian restaurant, Timpano Chophouse & Martini Bar (12021 Rockville Pike; 301-881-6939) that I like for a pre-theater dinner. They’re very accommodating if you need to get out early to make a show.

Johnson Lee owns Joe’s Record Paradise (1300 E. Gude Dr.; 301-315-2235), a source for hard-to-find vinyl and new and used CDs. His father founded the store 34 years ago.

There’s a big Latin nightclub, El Boquerón (1330 E. Gude Dr.; 301-424-0745), right under the record store. Most of the acts are from El Salvador or Mexico, and the owners are Salvadoran. The pupusas and tamales are fantastic. Some nights they’ll have deejays playing Latin music, and sometimes they’ll have bands. The line gets very long, even in the rain.

Nearby there’s a place called Wagging Tails Thrifts and Gifts Store (1310 E. Gude Dr.; 301-279-0345). It’s a thrift store owned by the Montgomery County Humane Society, and all the proceeds benefit that organization. They have great household items and stuff for kids. I bought my wife a really nice ottoman there for $300.

This article first appeared in the August 2009 issue of Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.