Max’s Best Ice Cream Losing Lease in Glover Park, Rocklands BBQ to Expand into the Space

2416 Wisconsin Ave, NW via Save Max’s Best Ice Cream

“Dear PoPville,

I read this weekend that the best ice-cream parlor in DC is having its lease terminated. Max’s is the very definition of a neighborhood store.”

A commenter in this morning’s rant/revel shared a facebook page – Save Max’s Best Ice Cream:

Save Max’s Best! Max has just been notified that he is losing his lease on June 30. This will mean that after 20 years he will be forced to leave Glover Park. Please like this page to show your support of Max and his contribution to our neighborhood.

From a Rocklands BBQ Press Release:

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company today announced it will be expanding its restaurant in Glover Park, where the company’s flagship restaurant will extend its business into 2416 Wisconsin Avenue.

Owner John Snedden has long had an interest in increasing the size of Rocklands’ original location. “The single most repeated desire from our fans over the years has been to have more space to sit and eat,” said Snedden.

“For 20 years, at least twice per year, I have written a letter to the landlord saying that if space became available we would love to be able to expand. When we were contacted by the landlord to ask if we were still interested, I said yes: Since we opened more than 22 years ago, we’ve been barbequing for our customers in a space about the size of a one-bedroom apartment. We are sorry to see Max’s Best Ice Cream go; we’ve always enjoyed having Max’s Best as a neighbor. We are thrilled, however, to be able to offer our guests more space so they can sit with family and friends to eat their barbeque.”

2418 Wisconsin Ave, NW

22 Comment

  • Glover Park demands more space for mediocre BBQ!!!!

    • Oh please don’t make this another “which BBQ is the best” discussion. Instead let’s focus on what’s important here: DC is losing a great Ice Cream parlor!

  • andy

    I know it is cliched to call a place a neighborhood institution, but Max’s really was when I lived in the neighborhood (and presumably still is). Max and his wife had hundreds of pictures on the wall – from Andre Agassi to Al Gore, and kids who grew up in the neighborhood at different ages. I would be very sad to see Max’s go. Rockland’s will do well no matter what, but I really hope to see Max’s keep going.

  • Yeah, there’s probably quite a bit of bad blood between these two proprietors. Pretty brutal, but that’s business.

  • It’s tough for Max, but he wasn’t always the friendliest -which I don’t get how you cant be selling ice cream.
    The real issue here is that his rent rose 30%. Do we need some kind of rent control for long-established businesses?
    Perhaps in exchange for expanding into Max’s – Rocklands could allow Max to rent space in the tiny house/Rockland’s World HQ on 37th street?
    Or a food truck?

  • Boo! Rocklands sucks. And Max’s pumpkin ice cream is the bomb. This is tragic.

  • I will add this, not sure if it helps any, but sometime 2011-2012 Max lost his wife and business partner. She helped him run the ice cream shop. So I’m not sure how the two might be related, but it seems like hes going through a rough patch. I’m not saying we need to save all businesses, we do live in a capitalistic society, but seriously, a 30% increase in rent?

    • A 30% rent increase sort of suggests that he may have gotten a break for the past few years…

      A few other notes:
      1) It’s two neighborhood businesses that have been there for years. Why is the story written to sound like the big chain is pushing the little guy out.

      2) Rocklands is also a great neigborhood resource for everyone who uses Guy Mason Park. (Or wants above average BBQ in that part of town.)

      3) Max: Seriously: Re-Open somewhere else.
      3a) Cleavland Park has traditionally have a Ice Cream shop near the subway north side. They got the push when the row was rehabbed; was replaced with a bunch of crap-soon-to-go-out-of-business Ice Cream spots. See if they will let you run the current crap-de-jior spot out of business.
      3b) Better yet: Kill one of those fro-yo spots in Columbia Heights. Either one, is good but the one with the park is probably better.


    • A 30% rent ncrease in one year very well could be the difference in whether a business can remain in a particular spot, but it’s not that huge.
      In the WP article last year on Fish in the Hood (aka Fish in Da ‘Hood), the restaurant on Georgia Ave near New Hampshire, the owner said he got hit with a rent increase from $1000/mo. to $4000/mo – or 300%. Now tha’t huge. And it’s what can happen when you rent as opposed to own..

  • Max’s has always been the best ice cream in the city. Rockland’s, as a multi-location chain, should be ashamed at pushing someone out. Having walked by an empty Rockland’s many times, I don’t really think they need that much space anyway.

    If Max loses his location, I will help him with a Kickstarter to get him moved to Shaw, where we support local businesses!

    • 1) Rocklands is not the landlord kicking Max out.
      2) Rocklands though the reason the space was available was Max’s retirement
      3) The new landlords (inherited from Mom recently) are the ones that have culpability here. Leave Rocklands alone – they are a great local business that should be celebrated for success.

    • justinbc

      Yeah, I think Rockland’s BBQ is pretty terrible, but they have nothing to be ashamed about. What do you propose they do, pay Max’s rent just to keep him there?

  • Rocklands was started in Glover Park. It IS a small local business that has grown and become very successful in the metro area. Although it’s sad for Max’s to close, isn’t the expansion of Rocklands a sign that we do support local business?

  • This is really unfortunate news. Are these businesses somehow prohibited from expanding upward?

  • I think before we start painting Rocklands as the bad guy in all this, we need to get our facts straight. There is no evidence to suggest that Rocklands created this situation. Sure they’ve wanted to expand into that space, but they’ve been saying that for 20+ years. This really has more to do with the change in ownership of the building a couple of years ago and the new landlords upping the rent. Once Rocklands heard that Max’s was unable to continue in that space then they told the landlord that they would take it over. Rocklands didn’t do anything bad. However, all of us now have to find a solution to the problem of where does Max go.

  • In terms of relocating, I noticed that further up Wisconsin in Tenleytown a similar size space just opened up. The former Computer Clinic store at 4431 Wisconsin (just a couple of doors down from Masala Art) is now vacant as they recently relocated upstairs. That block is right next to a Metro stop, gets a lot of foot traffic, and will soon be across the street from the new AU Law School. My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that the rent would be a little cheaper.

  • Maybe Rocklands starts serving Max’s ice cream?

  • Terrific example of “historic preservation” resulting in pushing a business out. If Rocklands could have added one story, the ice cream place would likely be there.

    Either way, good for Rocklands. People should be happy a local business is expanding.

  • Well a group of 5h graders rallied for max’s to stay max started to tear up and tries to give them a complimentary scoop of ice cream but they still payed THEY LOVE MAX’S so why does he have to leave

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