A longtime community staple, this Montgomery County McDonald’s will close in December

McDonald's in Cabin John Village
The McDonald’s in Cabin John Village on Nov. 10, 2023. (WTOP/Scott Gelman)
Some adults said they took pictures with the Ronald McDonald statue as kids. (WTOP/Scott Gelman)
The Cabin John Village McDonald’s on Nov. 10, 2023. (WTOP/Scott Gelman)
McDonald's in Cabin John Village

A McDonald’s restaurant that some customers described as the cornerstone of a Potomac, Maryland, community is expected to close its doors at the end of next month. 

An online petition to keep the restaurant open said that Edens, which owns the shopping center, is refusing to renew the McDonald’s lease for a “reasonable duration to accommodate the owner’s renovation demands.”

The petition was taped to the walls near the entrance of the McDonald’s on Friday afternoon and has been signed over 1,000 times since it was posted Thursday.

A petition to save the Potomac, Maryland, McDonald’s. (WTOP/Scott Gelman)

The owners of the McDonald’s sent WTOP a statement on the closure:

Our beloved Cabin John Village McDonald’s is closing its doors, marking the end of an Era. The closure, due to the lease ending with the mall landlord, brings sadness and a heartfelt goodbye from the owner-operators, who purchased this location in 2011, and our dedicated team of 27 employees, many have been with us since 2011.

The location is known for its exceptional customers, and was a part of daily routines for so many. We hope to recognize all our regulars and say a big thank you.

A Daily routine for Many

First thing on a Monday morning while it is still dark out, the school bus drivers arrive,
grabbing their morning coffee and sandwich. Everyday around 10am, we have lively
retirees enjoying a decaf and the newspaper and maybe a pie. At lunch, teenagers from the
local schools come grab something affordable using discounts on their app. In the afternoon
the moms and babysitter would come to use our Indoor McDonald’s Play land and enjoy
coffee and maybe share a Happy meal with the little one. Employees who work at other
businesses in the mall may come many times a week for something quick and affordable on their break. It is less hustle bustle at night, but families will come in to pick up food on their way to sports practices.

We have so many locals that come EVERY day. It is really amazing watching the passage of time when you see people so frequently. During our employee breaks, the regulars may sit and talk to our staff about how they are feeling or eminisce about history.

We like to celebrate customers birthdays, sometimes with a special Pie and Ice Cream. One birthday was notable, a surprise party for a regular with over 30 people there for coffee and breakfast. It is amazing that all different people from all walks of life come in. I think it is because everyone feels welcome here because of our team.

As you can imagine, being part of a store closure can be very emotional for the team members and our customers. The Owner/ Operators are working with every employee to plan for next steps. If you know someone that is hiring please contact OurMcDonaldsDMV@gmail.com. Our email is on the bottom of every receipt, and we love to hear from you.

Kari and Kenny

Local site Store Reporter was the first to report news of the imminent closure. 

“This has become a staple for the community, the seniors, the little kids, the nannies, the high schoolers,” said Monika Walters, who works upstairs at Bethesda Pediatrics.

In a statement, an Edens spokeswoman said that while the group is “disappointed that McDonald’s has chosen to close at Cabin John Village, our team remains committed to providing a wide selection of dining options and opportunities for the neighborhood to engage in family events and activities.”

The store is expected to close at the end of December.

Some customers who visit the McDonald’s often were surprised to learn the store is closing.

Sharon said she’s lived in the neighborhood for 37 years, and stopped in Friday because she was “being sentimental, because my kids used to like McDonald’s.”

Joanie visits the McDonald’s several days each week on her way home from volunteering. 

“I see the same people in the same seats all the time,” she said. “So we’ve all got our little booth.”

Several customers suspected restaurants and shops that have been at Cabin John Village for a long time are being driven away in favor of new ones. Walters said the area has seen a significant amount of change. 

“It’s sad, because a lot of these fancy places are taking over sort of the local places,” Walters said. 

Sheerin, meanwhile, grew up in Potomac and recalled visiting the McDonald’s with her mom for $1 ice cream cones.

“It’s something that everybody enjoys, all ages, families, workers,” she said. “It’s not just any other ordinary fast food place.”

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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