Friday, December 19, 2008

Wheaton FAIL, Silver Spring WIN?

Remember when everyone got real excited a few months ago when the Montgomery Cinema & Drafthouse opened up the street in Wheaton? Well, guess what? It's already closing. EPIC FAIL.

The owners have released a statement on their website, blaming mall operators Westfield and the Byzantine Montgomery County permit process. I don't know anything about the former, but I can certainly believe the latter is a pain in the ass.

Whatever financial issues they had with the county and Westfield aside, I never really thought of Wheaton as the type of area that was home to the Cinema & Drafthouse demographic. I can't imagine that if they were really packing 'em in they wouldn't have found some way to stay solvent for more than two-and-a-half months.

Speaking of Wheaton closings, the much-hyped Nava Thai restaurant has shuttered its doors, and the proprietors are apparently trying to find a new location, perhaps in Bethesda or Rockville or maybe even in our neck of the woods:

The couple has been scouting new locations and has narrowed down their options to spots in Bethesda and downtown Silver Spring. They’re leaning toward Silver Spring, even though the landlord in Bethesda has really been courting them.

The Silver Spring location on Bonifant Street, near Mandalay Restaurant and Cafe, would be “close to our current location, so when we move our customers can easily follow us there,” says Supida Peuwkhao, secretary to Ladavan Srigatesook.
Looks like there may be a Thai Restaurant throwdown if Nava moves onto longtime Silver Spring resident Thai Derm's block. (They should just stack Bonifant with Asian places. It can be our own little "Pan-Asia Town". They could install a big gate at the top of the block like they have at Gallery Place. Toss in a Mongolian BBQ joint and I'm set for awhile.)

Food critic Tom Kliman of Washingtonian Magazine described Nava Thai as "the best Thai food in the area right now", and at least until a few months ago I was inclined to agree. However, I noticed recently that the taste of my favorite dishes had changed significantly (for the worse). I asked if they had a new chef and they told me "no", so I'm not sure what that was all about. A few bad experiences there was enough to knock it off my list of go-to restaurants. However, if they move to Silver Spring, I will definitely give them another chance.

Sadly, I am inclined to believe that their erstwhile neighbor, the humorously (to me) named "Hung Phat" grocery will not move with them.


Corona said...

Myself and several of my friends went to Montgomery Cinema & Drafthouse for "LebowskiFest" a few months ago. It was to have been a showing of the Big Lebowski featuring trivia, contests, games, and a showing of the movie at 9 p.m.

It started at 6 p.m. We arrived at 6:30 p.m. to find the movie already 20 minutes in. Apparently MoCo Cinema and Drafthouse apparently decided to blantently ignore their advertising and just show the movie. Sadly, this also screwed people who showed up at 9 just to watch the movie.

I'm all about letting a local business work out its kinks but I never got so much as an e-mail back from management when I emailed them to express my disappointment. Plus, its not like the Arlington location hasn't been around for several years. I'm sad to see a cool idea die, but given my one experience there, I'm not surprised based on what I saw.

Also, I can't say this would have succeeded any better in Downtown. I think its fair to say that given the climate of building things in the CBD, they would have dealt with: design problems, historical preservation concerns, bitter NIMBYS, overzealous anti-everything growth hermits, people concerned they may raise the height of the movie theater 1 inch, people concerned about the lack of green space at the theatre, multiple theatre charettes (sp?), the liquor board, zoning text amendments, the purple line, Bruce Lee, zombies, and vague notions of a competing venue from Seth Horowitz.

At least Westfield and the county are only two fights.

Sligo said...

I wonder if I would have gone my whole life without learning the word "charette" if I didn't live in Silver Spring.

Corona said...

I wonder if County official apply charette's to other aspects of their lives. Perhaps Ike Leggett invites all his family members over for a holiday meal, and has them split up into multiple teams of 5 people and design the best meal over multiple meetings. Then the winning meal is finally served sometime in July.

jake said...

Dangit, I got the same e-mail alert, it is a shame, since I am a HUGE comedy fan, and having a Drafthouse five minutes away meant avoiding a huge pile of driving.

I'll always have memories of beer, wings, and Paul F. Tompkins.

RIP, sweet prince.

Anonymous said...

As long as Nava Thai reopens, I don't care where it is. Silver Spring would be great, of course. But I will follow that place anywhere! Ate at Thai Derm once... saw three roaches run across my table, along the wall, and across another table before I promptly asked for the check.

Sligo said...

If Nava Thai re-opens in Bethesda, expect the prices to go up by at least a third.

Springvale Roader said...

That was quick. I think a Cinema & Drafthouse would do much better in DTSS, especially if they took a cue from the Alama Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, TX and ran festivals like the infamous "Butt-Numb-A-Thon." We need a place showning cheesy Sci-Fi, Horror, and Biker films all day and night long.

I long for a really good Thai restaurant in DTSS. I think Nava Thai is above-average, though not great. If they come here and could add a few more veggie dishes, I'd be psyched.

Of course, having been to Thailand and enjoyed amazingly good 25 cent pad thais at the local night markets, I still have a hard time shelling out $10 or more for that dish. Yankee prices, I suppose.

squirrelist said...

I went to the Drafthouse a while ago and enjoyed it very much. Never mind that there appeared to be more employees than patrons, and that the bar was not yet open, apparently because of ventilation issues. They were, however able to serve beer in the theaters.

I was looking forward to the bar opening, because honestly, I have never seen so many taps in one place in Montgomery County.

Anonymous said...

What's your beef with Wheaton? Is it because we have far better ethnic restaurants and mom & pop owned stores?... Enjoy living in the bliss of your chain store, pre-fabricated, nouveau riche town center.

Sligo said...

I acknowledge the existence some good "ethnic" restaurants in Wheaton, but please inform me about the "far better mom & pop owned stores" that it supposedly has.

I liked the surplus store until the shopping center was burned down by a business that shall remained unnamed.

Sligo said...

P.S. - Wheaton was the cause of the downfall of downtown Silver Spring many years ago, so schadenfreude is justified.

Dan Nexon said...

Forget Thai Derm. Get takeout from Thai Market. Or eat in their glorious dining area. Best Thai in the area.

Tom Collins said...

The old Capri Theatre would be a neat "Cinema Drafthouse" imho. Unfortunately, I believe that the Golden Flame has an exclusive on a liquor license at that address.

gregestrada said...

if you still want to see live standup comedy shows like they had at the Drafthouse you can check out our weekly show in Bethesda:

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5 local comics
$25 cash prize joke contest for non-com audience members after the show
Every Saturday night
8 to 10 pm
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Hyatt Regency Bethesda Hotel
One Bethesda Metro Center
7400 Wisconsin Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

Todd said...

I went there and was slightly disappointed. Expecting something similar to the old Bethesda C&D house, I was surprised to see that seating was nothing more than the old theatre seats and the tables consisted of a wooden platform every other row. I wonder if an attempt at a more upscale look would have helped draw the SS/Bethesda crowd?

As for Westfield being partially responsible, I believe that 100%. They are a not so friendly neighbor.

Thomas Hardman said...

Corona, WTF is a "growth hermit"?

It's too bad that Wheaton's Cinema 'n' Draft House experienced Epic FAIL, but I don't expect all of those potential customers to flock to DTSS CBD.

There's definitely an opening for cinema anywhere north of Wheaton, at this point, what with the Olney 9 Theaters being soon scheduled to close.

There are other places that are ripe for theaters and even have old convertible buildings. For example, the original building from the Roth Randolph Hills Twin is open for lease and reconversion, and it's right off of Nicholson Lane near Randolph Road.

Wheaton is generally just too sketchy for most people to want to visit for late-night cinema and beer, and that back parking lot is definitely a bit scary after dark, and grim during the daytime.

But for people who want to drive rather than walk, DTSS is not much of a positive destination, and in any case, the huge 20-screen complex down there in Emo-Land would be too much competition.

Tina & Drew said...

Oh MY GOD if Nava Thai comes down into downtown Silve Spring I will absolutely loose it, I LOVE that restaurant.

It has the BEST Thai food in the DC area, I was going to take my friend over for lunch two weeks ago and learned that it was closed. Living in Thailand, this little nook was the best little find in Wheaton and the best Thai food in the Washington D.C. region.

Please come to Silver Spring! It'll be even closer to grab eats then! :)

Anonymous said...

I imagine the shooting outside Macy's last night among gang members and subsequent chase through the store are not going to do much for the mall's image, eh?

Thomas Hardman said...

Well, it's Wheaton. You have to expect that sort of stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hey now, with the Wheaton hating. If I recall correctly, some douche-punk in Silver Spring shot some 14 year old kid on a Ride On not too long ago....

In any case, Wheaton really isn't that bad. I've lived here all my life. And as for the "mom and pop shops" you could cite Country Boy and a gajillion ethnic food markets. And the family owned service shops like Wheaton Tile and Ken's Carpet Corner...

Sligo said...

Yes, while the tragic shooting in "Silver Spring" may have occurred within the loosely defined SS borders, it happened late at night in a high-crime area near the frontier. This did not happen in the central business district.

The Wheaton shooting happened the week of Christmas in a packed shopping mall in the center of Wheaton. That's why this is particularly shocking, if not surprising.

Thomas Hardman said...

Country Boy hasn't been in Wheaton, so far as I know, since they built a Metro Station under their former site. They're in Glenmont, now.

However, there were definitely places in Wheaton that were fun and enduring, though most of the ones I would visit have been moved on, notably Barry's Magic Shop and the much-lamented Bonifant Books where I bought used books for many a year, and have sold them a few old titles as well. Heck, I even once worked there along that strip, at a place called "Computer Crafters" back in the early 1980s. We sold Apple II computers and peripherals. They've long since moved on to bigger and presumably better things.

Still, Wheaton has always been pretty relentlessly blue-collar and a bit gritty, less so than Glenmont at least in reputation, if barely. Does anyone besides me remember Manny's Pizza, right around the corner from the car wash? He made an awesome gyro and everytime I think of his place I get a gyro craving.

Still, that mall has always had its share of problems, and most of it is young men gettin' stoopid. Thus, the clear and obvious solution to Wheaton's problems is to ban all men, which would suit me fine, since generally I don't much shop there, unless I need clothes.

Thus, solving Wheaton's crime problems means that I shall have to forego getting dressed, and you're probably better off to have the crime. ;)

Anonymous said...

Nava Thai is reopening two doors up from where it originally started. In the former location of the greek restaurant that opened and closed within a short time. Not even 50 yards from where it is. Wheaton stays the winner.

Sligo said...

Well, it's not really a winner, it's just even with where it was a couple months ago.

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Ngày nay việc tìm mua bàn làm việc văn phòng rất đơn giản vì thị trường nội thất văn phòng ngày càng phát triển nhiều xưởng sản xuất cho ra nhiều mẫu mã sản phẩm đa dạng với giá cả khác nhau nên việc chọn mua bàn văn phòng giá rẻ như thế nào tại đâu hiệu quả tốt nhất giúp đáp ứng nhu cầu sử dụng. Hiện này khi chọn mua nội thất văn phòng thường với xu hướng chọn ghế chân sắt hoặc inox, bàn làm việc chọn loại bàn gỗ. Sự kết hợp của vật liệu kim loại và tự nhiên giúp căn phòng có sự hài hòa và trong đẹp mắt hơn. Hơn nữa việc chọn ghế chân sắt - inox cũng góp phần giảm thiểu được một khoảng chi phí khi loại ghế này có giá rẻ hơn khá nhiều so với ghế làm bằng gỗ, vì với chi phí thuê hay mua một văn phòng làm việc tại TPHCM là không hề rẻ nên cần phải tính toán chi tiêu hợp lý. Ngoài ra, hầu như tất cả văn phòng đều được đặt ở những tòa nhà cao tầng nên việc vận chuyển ghế gỗ khó khắn hơn rất nhiều do có trọng lượng nặng đáng kể. Cho nên khi chọn mua sản phẩm nội thất văn phòng tphcm nhừ bàn ghế hay tủ bạn nên chú ý đến văn phòng của mình vị trí nào đễ dễ cho việc di chuyển sau này. Cho nên khi bạn có nhu cầu chọn mua những mẫu bàn làm việc giá rẻ nên cân nhắc đến các vấn đề về: Phong thủy, kích thước diện tích văn phòng, phối màu và sự phối hợp liên quan tới các sản phẩm nội thất khác trong văn phòng đặc biệt là sự di chuyển , bảo hành trong quá trình sử dụng.