Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday News 'N Notes

- Just in time to gouge visitors during the inauguration, Silver Spring's newest hotel, the oddly co-branded Homewood Suites by Hilton/Hampton Inn opened today on Colesville Rd, across from the existing Hilton. Why anyone would ever want to stay here instead of the Travelodge or Days Inn is beyond me.

- Kirsten's Cafe has apparently closed with little fanfare. Is Kirsten now going to concentrate her efforts on the Red Dog Cafe? Can she please bring back the old menu?

- The economy sucks, so crime is up in MoCo. Oh, and your house is worth a lot less, but at least you might be paying less in property taxes. On the brighter side, Maryland now has the highest-rated school system in the country.

- Speaking of crime, I continue to contend that most of the high-profile crimes in the area are perpetrated by people from elsewhere, as was the case with the recent shootings at Wheaton Plaza.

Montgomery County Police say the five alleged Prince George's County members of the Bloods, a national gang, charged Wednesday in connection with a shooting last month at Westfield Wheaton mall went to Montgomery County two days before Christmas "with the intent of shooting someone."
Perhaps one of the unexpected consequences of sharply lower gas prices is that it makes it easier for criminals to commute.



31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Three very relevant paragraphs from the crime story:

"Thefts were up in each of the county's six police districts in the first nine months, with the highest percentage increase -- 14.5 percent -- in the 1st District, which covers Rockville and Potomac. Thefts in the 2nd District, which includes Bethesda, climbed by the lowest amount, 4.2 percent.

"Burglaries increased in all areas except the 3rd and 6th districts, which cover Silver Spring and Montgomery Village, respectively.

"The 3rd District and the 4th, which covers Wheaton, accounted for 489 robberies, or 60 percent of those in the county. That represented a 19 percent jump. "

Discuss.

Brent said...

I never did get the Kirsten's thing. Yes, the food was hand-made by people who share our values and had a bit of that "barley fixed up" look that we all love in Silver Spring restaurant decor, but I just did not get people's affection for the food. Morever, my last visit in there was met by clueless service/lack of interest on the part of staff, making it -- ah -- my last visit. I'm sure someone will blame Kirsten's demise on the Hellsworth Chains. (if indeed it is a "demise;" she might just be moving to a better location -- that was NOT a good place for getting in and out).

Dan Reed said...

The HiHamp is all about price points, but also about exclusivity. This way they can serve the proletariat and the bourgeois, but with separate doors so you can enjoy a pseudo-luxury hotel experience without dealing with the riff-raff.

Tina & Drew said...

I'll miss Kristen's it was a good place for breakfast on the weekends. Is there something new going in there?

Anonymous said...

red dog = overrated

Anonymous said...

The fact is that chain restaurants are behind the scourge of obesity in the U.S. -- serving fat-laden, unhealthy food in huge portions to people who often have no idea what's in their meal (though there is legislation pending in MoCo to require the chains to disclose their poor nutritional offerings). Moreover, they tend to be owned by big corporations based largely in "red" states -- and so the money that anyone in SS pays for a meal goes directly to support the kind of oppressive, militarisic govt. that we've lived under the past few years.

Small, independent, locally owned restaurants, at least in this area, offer a healthier alternative. They serve food produced by local farmers, both reducing the threat of food-borne illnesses and helping our farmers stave off developers who want their land. And those local restaurant owners and farmers share our values and will support the social, political and ethical goals important to our activist community. When's the last time you heard of Red Lobster making donations to a progressive political candidate, or supporting programs that aid immigrants?

Hillary said...

So, the part of the whole Wheaton piece that really bothers me is that none of us heard anything about it until the past day or two. WHERE WAS THIS NEWS ON CHRISTMAS EVE??? Did I just miss this or was this really kept hush-hush for this long?

Anonymous said...

Yep, I never did get the Kirsten's thing either. It didn't seem to want to commit to being a bakery or a restaurant so it kind of stradled both without any real success. Certainly its location didn't help either - I guess we're all still waiting for the retail in Montgomery Hills to get demolished (except Sniders of course!).
I also agree with the comment about Red Dog - this was and could be a great neighborhood place, however at the moment its just kind of so-so.

Anonymous said...

I meant to add the following to the last post...
Does anyone have an update on the G-SPOT (The General Store and Post Office Tavern) supposedly opening up next door to the castle on Seminary/Capital View?

ForestGlen said...

I agree about Kristin's...went there once when I first moved to the area and never moved back. Small overpriced portion's, dirty tables, mediocre food....

Speaking of overpriced...word on the neighborgood listservs is the Tropical Ice Cream place next door isn't doing so good either. Guess people can't afford nearly $4 for a scoop of ice cream anymore....

Anonymous said...

The one thing that is missing from all these comments on Kirsten's cafe closing is that it was in a rotten location, unless you are coming on foot. The mess that is Montgomery Hills makes turning in, parking, and getting out a nightmare virtually the entire business day. I'm not suggesting more parking, but anyone who patronizes businesses in this area knows what a Cluster-F the vehicular and pedestrian circulation is.

Sligo said...

That whole area needs to be torn down and re-done.

Woodside Forest said...

I preferred the Dunk'in Donuts that was in that same strip center.

I often stopped there on Sunday mornings on my way to church. At that particular time of day it wasn't hard to zip in there and their service was prompt enough - unless you got behind too many breakfast sandwiches.

Kisten's did not make itself easy for someone running in and wanting a dozen colorful items for 3-4 graders.

Anonymous said...

"I preferred the Dunk'in Donuts that was in that same strip center."


Speaking of Dunkin's Donuts, has there been any more news on if downtown Silver Spring is getting one? A few months ago I thought I heard/read rumors that one may be going in on Colesville in that new development with the MT whatever bank and mexican restaurant.

Anonymous said...

"The one thing that is missing from all these comments on Kirsten's cafe closing is that it was in a rotten location"

Er, I thought that a couple of us already highlighted the fact that Monkey Hills is an outrageously bad location for something. It would be so sweet if they just bulldozed that entire 1/2 mile between the Beltway and the 16th Street spur. I don't think they even need to notify the current occupants, just send in a couple of Caterpillar D10s.
As for Dunkin' Donuts....really?? I mean seriously, this is the best you can do??

hugo said...

I like Red Dog cafe quite a bit. The food is reasonably good and the staff is really friendly, and very welcoming of our two-year old. It isn't that easy to find a place with a reasonably interesting menu that is so kid-friendly. Of course, I can walk there, so I'm likely biased.

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone have an update on the G-SPOT (The General Store and Post Office Tavern) supposedly opening up next door to the castle on Seminary/Capital View?"

I live near that. From what I understand, the building still isn't up to code. Since I'm not doing anything important right now, I'll go take a look, as I too am curious.

Anonymous said...

Nothing concerning code violations, but two guys were working on something in the space behind the store, so it's still coming I guess.

Anonymous said...

IN response to the first comment:

People come into SS from PG and the District to commit robberies.

Brent said...

That place at Forest Glen might take a while. The process of getting a restaurant open in MoCo is, I've been told by people who've been through it, hellish. That's why we often see such a lag between an announcement and an opening, frequently with multiple delays. And that's another reason, frankly, that independent eateries have a tough time getting off the ground.

Anonymous said...

Word is that Kirsten's left over disagreements with the landlord. Now there's a big empty space, so looks like the landlord didn't play that one right.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

My experiences with Red Dog have been mixed and usually bad. Initially, the food was good and that made up for the chaotic staff. Now the food is so-so and the staff is still not good. Every single time I've been there, something has happened. They've totally forgotten me a few times, my order is rarely right the first time, I stand too long at the door to be seated, the plates/table/flatware/glasses are dirty, or the waitstaff seems inconvenienced by my presence.

Frankly, I'd rather wait in the worst line Parkway can throw at me than eat at Red Dog again.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Red Dog is one of those places I want to like, but on the half dozen occasions that I've been I've usually come away thinking it could be better. I can't really say that I've had a bad experience there with either the food or the service, but it really should be better than it is. Perhaps its not a coincidence that my reaction to the now defunct Kirsten's Cafe was very similar - not a bad place, but equally not a place that makes me think "I've gotta go back." The reviews on Yelp pretty much echo this sentiment.

It would be great if Kirsten herself would respond to some of these postings. Maybe we could get her take on what happened to Kirsten's Cafe, and why Red Dog is what it is.

Anonymous said...

I loved Kirsten's- we went several times a week. The food was infinitely better than any of the other local coffee shops. You would see a great mix of folks there in terms of age, income, race and occupation. The staff was at times distracted, yes, but very sincere and always helpful. We've been to Kefa (nice) and to Mayroga (horrible food!) but we'll really miss Kirstens. And their pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

Thomas Hardman said...

Responding to the Anonymous of Friday 9th@5:32PM:

Crime is definitely up in the Fourth District, which includes most of "North Wheaton" all of the way up to Olney.

And of course, leading the pack for crime -- especially street assaults and theft-from-vehicle -- is Aspen Hill.

Actually, it's not just Aspen Hill, but the whole area in the triangle bounded by Georgia Avenue, Layhill Road, and Bel Pre Road. In particular, the area right around the Glenmont Metro station, and the Plaza del Mercado shopping center, pretty sketchy in terms of scary robbers, jump-outs, and street muggers.

Anonymous said...

I will really miss Kirsten's. They had their staffing problems over the years but there were some solid employees who recognized repeat customers and created a friendly atmosphere. We loved their croissant, cinnamon rolls, and scones, and the kid-friendly area, and will miss hanging out on weekend mornings or stopping by for a quick breakfast.

Thomas Hardman said...

So, isn't this just another case of chain stores somehow surviving while the mom-and-pop stores and restaurants go under?

Woodside no guest room said...

I don't know if you've ever tried to book hotel rooms in Silver Spring, but depending on the time of year it can be a challenge.

I think it's probably a good thing something new is opening.

I hope it's rates are lower than the Marriott Courtyard. IMO it is kind of pricey.

Anonymous said...

The General Store was open this past weekend serving carry-out food. They are "discussing" with the county the parking situation, they only have 7, they need more for sit-down service. But they were serving food this weekend, a notice went out over the neighborhood list-serv, and a decent crowd showed up for fried chicken, sandwiches, soup, and apparently there were pies, but those were all gone by the time we got there.

At least I can now walk somewhere for food!

lilkunta said...

So has any1 got in touch w Kirsten to find out why she closed her cafe? I guess it is a good idea that she bougth redDog a coupleof years ago. So she still has a business.

WHAT? GSpot was open? What listserv t I need to join to find out aout this?

Anonymous said...

I have 2nd hand info on why Kirsten's closed. Her plan when she expanded into the space next door (Dunkin' Donuts?), was to get a liquor license and be open for dinner. County rules prohibit someone from having two liquor licenses and she has one for Red Dog. She was able to get a waiver of that rule, but was then stymied because there is a church (African congregation of some sort) that meets in the Minbilt office building next door and a liquor licensed-establishment is not permitted that close to a church. We miss Kirsten's.

BTW - no mention on this blog that Mr. Snider (of Snider's supermarket of course) died last week.