Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why don't we have a real "Taste of Silver Spring"?

I have always wondered why we don't have a formal "Taste of Silver Spring" event. The Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce has something tonight that is nominally a "Taste of Silver Spring", but is a limited, indoor, business networking event that costs at least $40 to attend.

What Silver Spring needs is a real, open-to-the-public event held annually like those held in Georgetown, Arlington and Bethesda. Hell, even friggin' Wheaton has one.

It does look like this has been attempted in the past (at least in a limited fashion) back in 2000 and during that whole street festival that Discovery & AFI put on a few years back.

This would be a great way for a lot of the Silver Spring restaurants that AREN'T on Ellsworth to get noticed by that group of people that think that Silver Spring's culinary offerings begin and end with Red Lobster and Macaroni Grill.

We have the perfect place to hold it - Ellsworth can be shut off like it is for any number of other events and each participating restaurant can have their own tent. Anyone out there who can get this organized?


urbannomad said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I've been wondering why we don't have our own as well. I mean with all the good local places not on ellsworth... what a perfect opportunity to introduce people to some really good silver spring food not in our stucco downtown mall.

Anonymous said...

what a good idea. piratz tavern could pass out eye patches.

i had friends that drove all the way from fredicksburg (sp?) va to eat there. they LOVED it!

if you could add any 3 resturants to downtown ss, what would they be?

mine would be:

-Chicken Out
-An Argentinan or Brazillian place


Sligo said...

Julia's Empanadas

In N Out Burger (never going to happen)

Udupi Palace (move it from Langley Park)


Twoste said...

Hands down the best place to eat in town is Taste of Jerusalem.

A. Forsteri said...

What downtown needs is:

1) Empanadas and more empanadas
2) A good cafe that emphasizes desserts, people watching and slacking (something beyond CakeLove takeout and Mayorga's muffins). Former New Yorkers: think Omonia in Astoria and Bay Ridge, or Venuto's in the East Village.
3) A 24-hour eatery. At this point, the cuisine won't matter.
4) Korean food.

Hmmm... Must be lunch time.

Anonymous said...

This is why they can't do it - the portion of Ellsworth between Fenton and Georgia is privately owned. For the owner of that area to hold any event requires the "buy in" of the occupants of those buildings. Simply put, those restuarantors are not going to agree to expose themselves to the competition of the other small, GREAT, mom and pop establishments of Silver Spring. If it was to be done, it would not be done on Ellsworth.

Anonymous said...

Why not do it on The Turf everyone loves so much- if you can step over all the garbage people leave all over the ground.

Anonymous said...

If 5 Guys wasn't opening in the new strip plaza off of 29 (near the Home Depot, Target, Kohls, etc...) I would say 5 guys.

They make the best hamburgers EVER.


Sligo said...

5 Guys is no In N Out burger.

WashingtonGardener said...

AF - you need to get over to the Tastee Diner - one block off Georgia at Cameron - next to Mi Rancho. Tastee is historic, a fun greasy spoon, and 24 hours.

Speaking of Mi Rancho - go. Now. No other restaurant in SS matches it.

Anon. - I think the Italian place at corner of Georgia and Bonifant (second floor) is Argentinian. Napoli? I know sounds weird - but that is what their ads and reviews say - I've never been in there. I notice after-hours it is a disco-type club.

I think downtown SS is pretty full up on sitdown eatery choices for me - but I'd also like to see a REAL bakery and, like AF suggested, an after-hours desserts-only place. I think there is a Canadian chain called "Just Desserts" or something like that.

Debbie Cook said...

Don't forget Viccino's Italian!
Little Hole in the wall restaurant on Sligo Avenue (across the street from Jackie's) The Owner used to cook at the Pines of Rome in Bethesda. They have hung in there since the mid 80's. Always run into neighbors and clients from all over Montgomery County. Food is great and not too expensive. Was told by the owner that Viccinos
means "Neighborhood" in Italian.

Anonymous said...

Great feedbaack ....i am purchasing a commercial property close to Elsworth . We are looking for teenants that would be needed in Silver Spring. Two other things...Viccinos means "close" in Italian. Also "Olazzo" Italian restaurant will be opening soon in downtown Silver Spring.

Lindemann said...

Does it still take 30 minutes to get your check at Vicino's? That was why I stopped going, after four times in a row when I just couldn't get out of the freaking restaurant.

Debbie Cook said...

About Viccino's again, It depends on when you go, day of week or time of day. yeah, sometimes service is fast, sometimes really slow. I've waited 45 mins there for called in carry out - but worth it! I think viccino means in the "vicinity" which could mean close in or close to the neighborhood?

Jerry A. McCoy said...

A Taste of Silver Spring festival could be held at the Fenton Village Parking Lot, accessible from Fenton Street, Thayer Avenue , Silver Spring Avenue, and Mayor Lane (on foot). Plenty of space for vendors to set up with parking available either on side streets or people can park at the Wayne Avenue parking garage two blocks north in "Foulgersville" and then actually walk south of Wayne to discover the real Silver Spring!

WashingtonGardener said...

Jerry - good idea for a 'taste' location. My other nominations would be the under-used Jedup Bliar park.

Sarah said...

An after-hours desserts-only place is a great idea. Maybe something of a combo of Mayorga and CakeLove but with better food (I mean, I dig CakeLove, but I know a lot of people don't). I'm from SS but go to college in Boston now and here there's a local chain called Finale which is just that type of place. They only serve really nice desserts, coffee, and some salads and light appetizers. I think a similar place would be a great addition to SS, perfect for a post-movie or meal snack.

jen said...

no! no taste of silver spring. i hate those "taste of" things. who wants to push through crowds when you can just go try the restaurant? also the food is never as good as just going to the restaurant. and i personally hate eating under those conditions.

i'm all for publicizing the "mom and pop" places, but not that way. honestly, i don't think the problem is that "if only people tried" these places they'd frequent them more often. a lot of people just love chains. even some of commenters here are saying that what ss needs is more chains (in 'n' out, chicken out).

by the way, i love the name of this blog!

A. Forsteri said...


I'm not sure if people are tossing around the names of chain restaurants because they like chain restaurants, or if it's because these chains serve as a point of reference. I hope it's the latter.

Anonymous said...

Why go to Vicino's when you can go to Pines of Rome- the food is better, prices are less and the service is great. We gave up on Vicino's years ago- what a shame.

Debbie Cook said...

Anonymous, The reason to go to Viccinos is it's in Silver Spring!
If you haven't been in a few years-try it again? Maybe it's changed for the better.

Anonymous said...

We should put up with inferior food, higher prices, and slow-as-molasses services just because it's in Silver Spring?? I don't think so.
Go into Borders and it's a mess- and just try to find someone to help you.
Go to Ben and Jerry's and it's dirty and slow- why should Silver Springers have to put up with this?

jen said...

i've never been to viccino's (i've been meaning to!), but the biggest reason i would rather go to silver spring than bethesda because it's closer to home (takoma park).

we rarely go out to eat anywhere that is more than a 7-10 minute drive from our house (i.e. langley park, takoma park, silver spring, and that's about it).