Clyde's Tower Oaks Lodge restaurant, via Facebook I-270 shut down in March as police search for bank robbery suspects, via

As 2015 approaches, we’ll look back at 2014 by reviewing some of the top local stories and trends that defined Bethesda this year.

First, what was popular? Following are’s top five most read stories in 2014. Check back next week for more, including a look at the storylines that could be prominent in 2015:

No. 5 | Vince & Dominic’s Closes After 31 Years In Bethesda | 8,006 pageviews 

The venerable pizza shop certainly wasn’t fancy, which many of its longtime fans seemed to appreciate. The shop, stuffed into a strip shopping center near a Home Depot, closed in May after claiming its landlord decided not to renew its lease. That set off an outpouring of love for the place known for its simple menu and Kosher for Passover pizzas.

No. 4 | Cops Stop Traffic On I-270 To Catch Bank Robbery Suspects | 11,946 pageviews


A group of alleged bank robbers were heading south on I-270 near the Capital Beltway when police decided to use an unusual tactic to catch them: Stop traffic on both ways of the busy highway and search car-by-car.

Though police wouldn’t confirm it at the time, the bag of stolen cash had a GPS locator in it. That allowed authorities to know roughly where the alleged robbers were. Police said that when the suspects realized why traffic was stopped, they tossed the bag of cash in a dump truck nearby.

No. 3 | Bear Gets Stuck In A Tree At NIH | 13,865 pageviews


A black bear that had strayed too far south sparked a minor sensation when it got scared, climbed up a large tree at the NIH campus and then refused to come down until scared from its perch by firecrackers.

After an hours-long standoff, and with a gaggle of reporters hoping to catch the bear’s every move, the animal was finally tranquilized by Department of Natural Resources officials and safely returned to a more suitable habitat far away from Bethesda. In the meantime, someone started an NIH Bear Twitter account that exists to this day.

No. 2 | BlackFinn Closes In Bethesda For Good | 16,730 pageviews


Love it or hate it, the end of BlackFinn American Saloon in Bethesda attracted a lot of attention. The restaurant first tried to pass off its closure as a temporary measure to fix a sewage issue. But it soon became apparent the Woodmont Triangle late-night spot was facing other issues, such as $129,000 in overdue rent.

No. 1 | Police Go Undercover To Bust County’s Most Popular Restaurant | 29,683 pageviews

Clyde’s Tower Oaks in Rockville is the county’s No. 1 restaurant by customer volume. But over the summer, cops and county alcohol control officials said they found out a half-priced wine special was causing fights and spurring underage drinking.


So officers took matters into their own hands in August, issuing a slew of citations related to overservice of alcohol, underage drinking and fake IDs. An off-duty restaurant employee was found to be too drunk to walk on her own. The restaurant admitted to violating the rules and hired a consultant to clean up its procedures. The case resulted in a $9,000 fine and an alcohol training requirement from the county’s Board of License Commissioners.