I got a sneak preview of the new Matchbox Vintage Pizza Bistro at 1699 Rockville Pike that’s supposed to open either on Friday (the 10th), or early next week. This is the first suburban Maryland location for the restaurant, which has popular downtown spots in Chinatown and Capitol Hill. Perry Smith, one of the four owners, said they’ve been working on the deal for more than two years.

Anyway, it’s a real wow-of-a place, with seating for more than 400, 25-foot ceilings, two bars, two outdoor patios, two brick ovens, a private party room, a mezzanine level, a fire place and an outdoor fire pit. Very cool décor; some of walls are brick, others are reclaimed wood from a 100-year-old barn in upstate New York, another is covered with straw mixed with dry wall mud (it works). Fun fact: two of the bar tops are made from the huge Douglas fir tree that used to be inside Shelly’s Woodroast, a restaurant formerly at the site. And then, of course, there are the tables embedded with matchboxes, each with a different theme—Michael Jackson, James Dean, Star Wars, football, Japanese hotels, Marilyn Monroe, you name it.

Matchbox Rockville will have the same menu as the two downtown eateries, which includes its signature mini burgers and thin-crusted pizzas. And its location in front of Congressional Plaza means you can shop ‘til you drop for Christmas presents, then tuck into a chicken pesto pie.