Issa Dubbaneh moved to the United States from Palestine in 1977 so that he could pursue a college education at the University of Maryland. In 1981, his last year at Maryland, he made the decision to leave school and open his first restaurant- Chicken Basket (Gaithersburg). He and his brothers went on to open Chicken Basket locations in Layhill, Wheaton, and Rockville. In all, the family has owned six different Chicken Basket locations in MoCo since the 80s, as well as Muna's Cafe in Germantown a few years back.
Muna Dubbaneh was born and raised in Jordan before making the move to Wheaton with her family in 1980. Muna and Issa met a couple years later and were married soon after. They had five kids while working in the restaurants and constantly reminded their children to stay away from the food/restaurant industry. Their kids, Ronnie (31), Danny (29), Ronia (27), Johnny (25), and Deanna (21), listened for most of their lives...
A couple years ago the Dubbaneh boys decided they wanted to preserve their culture by learning more about it and presenting it in a fun way. They created Z&Z, which stands for Zayt & Za'atar (roughly translates to oil and herbs), and began selling their special blend of herbs/spices and Middle Eastern street food at the Foggy Bottom Farmer's Market on Wednesdays.
Danny and Johnny have taken the lead when it comes to Z&Z, but the entire family is involved. At times you'll see the whole family hard at work at the Farmer's Market. Just a couple weeks back, Muna and Deanna were showcasing Z&Z products at Dawson's Market in Rockville. Issa is often found working the grill while Ronnie and Ronia are helping customers, and Johnny is hard at work filming and editing hilarious marketing videos for the company.
"If you would have told me that when I was pushing 30 I'd be spending Friday nights chopping vegetables with my parents, I'd tell you that you're crazy" Danny told me when we were discussing the Z&Z's growth. He told me that when the Dubbaneh kids were growing up in Rockville (all of them are graduates of Rockville High School), they never would have imagined being involved with food, especially Middle Eastern food that their father once told them couldn't gain popularity in America.
Though their parents didn’t want them involved in the food/restaurant industry, they support their children in every way possible. Issa and Muna are proud of what Z&Z has become. In addition to being available to Dawson’s Market (Rockville) and Classic Bakery (Gaithersburg) in MoCo, you can buy your own jar on Amazon.
The Z&Z website goes into detail about their story and also has some awesome tips for how to use za’atar.
Check out the official Z&Z Instagram
Hip Hop Fish & Chicken is coming to MoCo! It's expected to open in the coming months in the Briggs Chaney shopping center in the location that used to be home to Marina's Pollo A La Brasa.
Hip Hop Fish & Chicken has 19 other locations sprinkled across Maryland and 1 in D.C. They specialize in fish and chicken platters as well as wings, fries, and lots of other sides.
This morning we received the news, from reader Jason Silverberg, that the Zoes Kitchen in the Kentlands (Gaithersburg) would be closing permanently.
I spoke with a Zoes Kitchen employee who told me that tomorrow, Sunday, 9/30, will be their last day.
We're told the closing does not have anything to do with Zoes being acquired by Cava and that it was due to issues with the landlord.
You can still find two other Zoes Kitchen locations in MoCo, as their Germantown and Park Potomac locations remain open.
AMC Rio has officially re-opened their downstairs level, as they complete the renovation by closing the upper level theaters.
All theaters now have reclining seats and reserved seating (think iPic). The kitchen is not quite ready to go yet, but should open in about two weeks. For now, there is gourmet popcorn available as well a variety of milkshakes, including: Reese's Pieces, Junior Mints, churro, Ghirardelli chocolate, and a "build-your-own" option.
More good news...prices aren't expected to change for a few months. I was told possibly up to half a year! For now, an adult ticket after 4pm costs $12.31 ($10.66 from 12pm-4pm, and $6.15 before noon).
The Montgomery Village Shopping Center (9995 Stedwick Rd.) will be welcoming Senshi Karate– a family friendly Martial Arts program for Ages 4 and up, with classes starting this October.
“Not only does the new school provide children an amazing fun outlet to learn discipline and respect while exercising but the new school is recognized as a Olympic level school, which gives interested students an opportunity to train to become part of team USA” says owner, David Abraham.
Abraham also believes “Senshi will be a great addition to the community as todays children spend more time behind a phone of table screen then in activities.”
The Studio will also offer Karate Birthday Parties, Parents Night Out and Self Defense Seminars for Women and Teens.
Take Advantage of Pre-Opening Deals and Trial Programs now or during the Grand Opening on October 6th between 12pm-5pm.
For Information, call 240-372-2380 or visit the website at www.SenshiKarateDo.com
The annual Celebrate Montgomery! MoCo Seafood Fest is this Saturday, September 29th, from 12pm-7pm at Montgomery College Rockville (1011 Mannakee Street).
Included this year will be:
• London Court Catering & Beverage(Wine tasting)
• Farafina Island (Lobster rolls,Tuna/Beef/Chicken sandwich)
• Leda Catering (Paella,Steamed crabs)
• Bissap (Aguas frescas)
• Aunt Iffy’s (Afro-Caribbean cuisine)
• Reid’s Jerk Shack(Jerk chicken,pork,grilled fish)
• Sarin Grill (Asian food)
• Thai Master (Thai grill)
• The Tender Rib ( New Orleans / Creole Cuisine)
• Mr Nino Pina Colada (snacks,pina colada,fresh squeezed juice,smoothies)
• Kona Ice (ice creams, shaved ice)
In addition to food there will be
• Arts & Crafts
• Face painting
and much more!
For more information, check out:
or call the info line at 301.915.4094
Two Rockville restaurants have officially closed permanently. Mi Rancho on Rockville Pike and Mellow Mushroom in Rockville Town Square have both locked up for a final time.
Mi Rancho initially announced that they’ll be closing through their Facebook page on September 11th. Their other locations, in Silver Spring and Germantown, will remain open.
Mellow Mushroom sent an email to their customers announcing that their Rockville location is now closed.
Code Ninjas is hosting their Grand Opening event on Saturday, September 29th from 11:30am-2:30pm.
This event is for the whole family! You’ll be able to check out their exciting Dojo: the STEM space where kids can try activities like Scratch, Drones, Robotics, Circuit Building, and Coding.
Enjoy a day of coding, treats, and raffles!
Make sure to RSVP for the event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/grand-opening-celebration-tickets-50386664871?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing
More on Code Ninjas here.
Mail truck in Poolesville (17100blk Chiswell Rd) catches fire.
Montgomery County Fire & Rescue PIO, Pete Piringer, tweeted these photos and let us know that A722 responded.
Luckily, no injuries! Credit for the Hotmail title goes to Pete Piringer as well (@MCFRSPIO)
Sweetgreen, a fast-casual restaurant that serves various types of salads, is coming to Pike & Rose according to Robert Dyer.
The restaurant chain has seen a fairly rapid expansion since opening their first location just 11 years ago.
They currently have almost 100 stores nationwide and the new Pike & Rose location will be the third in Montgomery County (Bethesda and Silver Spring locations).
Make sure to bring your credit card– Sweetgreen doesn’t accept cash.