Thursday, December 10, 2009

No Mas Mayorga

Another unfortunate retail fail to report - the Mayorga Coffee shop in South Silver Spring has announced that it will close at the end of the year. This was the first retail location for Mayorga, which now has a number of locations, most notably at airports.

Admittedly, I rarely patronized Mayorga. When it was new I went a few times out of curiosity, but I've only been there a handful of times over the past couple of years. I've probably purchased more cups of coffee at the Mayorga stand at BWI than from the location in my own backyard. From where I live it wasn't really reasonable to walk, and once they started building all those condos back there, I wasn't really sure where to park. (That and their bagels aren't so hot.)

I generally prefer to brew my own coffee, but when I do go out for a cup o' joe in S.S., it's generally to Highland Origin or the Starbucks on the Promenade (hey, its convenient.) I'm sure Mayorga was far more popular with those who live on that side of town and with kids, who seemed to fill the place on Sunday mornings. But kids don't drink coffee, do they? Perhaps they do these days. It was even visited last year by candidate Obama.

Now the question is what, if anything, will fill that space once Mayorga departs? That location has already been the death of Industrial Photo, and there was parking back then. It might make a good space for a full-service restaurant, though again, the parking situation needs to be resolved for that or anything else to really be viable.



21 comments:

CP said...

Was anybody grossed out by how gross Mayorga was? Not the coffee, which is fab, but the actual cleanliness of the joint. I always got the skeeves in there, and the bathrooms were often Black Cat-ian, so I just never felt good about hanging out & letting my kids crawl around in the filth as I got wired. Also, I prolly have OCD.

Anonymous said...

Their demise began when their parking was severely constricted when The Veridian apartments began construction. Back then it was a great place but when revenue falls, everything else starts to go to crap. It's been downhill since and the Great Recession was probably the last straw.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't care how much the Mayorga people cry about WiFi or construction, they're closing because their service sucked. It would take at a minimum 5 minutes to get a cup of coffee, and that's 4 minutes too long for a regular cup when there is no line. Their crappy service is what did them in.

That being said, that space is great and with the new apartments there a bar/restaurant would make a killing. Chain, no chain, I don't care, a sports bar/restuarnt type of place would be excellent in that area to watch baseball and football... a guy can dream at least.

Sligo said...

Apparently Mayorga wasn't as "beloved" as that Gazette article would have you believe. I didn't really see what was so great about it other than the fact that it was independent and therefore must be considered "good" by default.

Laura said...

I kinda liked hanging out there to read or work. (You could never tell when a bunch of hippies would trot over from TP and start playing songs, ha!) But it was honestly the parking sitch that kept me from going back with frequency.

Street parking was always tight and I wasn't paying to park there - sorry. They needed to at least validate parking or something. Oh well, it was a nice little place while it lasted. Hopefully the next owners will make more of a success of it.

Easley Does It said...

Actually there's ample public parking over there now in that Veridian apartment building garage, but I think most people don't even know about it. Yes, I suppose it costs a nominal amount to park there, but really, people who require free parking in the middle of an urban district are deluded.

Sligo said...

Is it worth it to pay to park for a cup of coffee, though?

Anonymous said...

I agree that it doesn't make sense to pay to park for a cup of coffee, but I don't understand where all of you live. Silver Spring is an urban area, why don't you walk? It's not like this is Rockville or somewhere like Old Town where the metro is a 15 minute walk. Mayorga and that area of GA Ave. is a 5-10 min walk from the Metro/bus area.

Sligo said...

Silver Spring is a big ass place.

According to Google Maps, Mayorga is a 33 minute walk from my house. Plus crossing GA ave = fun.

M said...

They DO validate parking, as far as I know, in the Veridian lot. There's a limit, one hour, two? Not sure. But I think they needed to publicize it better, because people all seem to think parking is hard there. It's not.

I am stricken. I liked their coffee, it was a couple blocks from me, there was space for my kid if I brought my kid, I could always find a comfy seat... Okay, the main thing is that it was a couple blocks from me, and nowhere could be more convenient.

I think it's interesting that whenever a business closes, people say, "Well, yeah, because it SUCKED" and point out the things they didn't like about it. The same thing happened with Savory -- and yes, I had issues with Savory, sure -- but the grave-dancing is intriguing. Almost victim-blaming.

WashingtonGardener said...

I'm with ANON - easy to walk there - and the 70 buses stop right at their door as does the 28 FREE SS Van-Go bus.

In any case, I'm not a coffee drinker so no big shucks to me - but it was a popular gathering place for many groups and will be missed for that.

One networking group for women solo-preneurs I attended (and paid a fee to do so - part of which went to Mayorga for space rental) was interrupted by a loud kiddie birthday party booked in the same room at the same time. Who double-books space without apology like that? An example of VERY bad customer service and a big sign to me that management just does not "get it" and/or is so desparate that they did not care about alienating a large group of steady customers.

Anonymous said...

Just a curious question. Mayorga doesn't appear to take up that whole building. What's the other section closer to the Veridian have in it?

ForestGlen said...

I assume they will continue their wholesale business? I bought two pounds of Mayorga Coffee from Costco the other day....only went to the actual retail location once...it was aiiight at best.

Not in the Neighborhood said...

I really loved the coffee and the relaxed vibe and would drive there (yes, drive) from Cleveland Park to hang out and write, so I'm with Laura - the confusion over/dearth of parking finally defeated me. I'd have been game for walking there if I lived closer.

lee.watkins said...

their service was VERY SLOW. also it's confusing to find the place with the weird intersection of East-west, Georgia ave, and being right under that railroad overpass. Both the construction project and the metro station complex formed unwalkable superblocks that you can't cut though. What's sorely needed in that area is a more permeable street grid with alleyways and footpaths that cut though smaller lots.

Most people got there walking, not driving, as it's an urban area. I would blame with weird location - they would do a lot better a few blocks up closer to the metro station. The foot traffic near metro is off the charts. They also could have done well a bit closer to either of the Discovery channel buildings - the production center on Eastern Ave. is a 24 hour post-production facility (ie. massive demand for coffee) but the only entrace to that building is on Kennett st. where the old Acorn pagoda is - so walking around the building, crossing dicy east-west highway, though superblock construction areas, just too much to ask. Closer to metro and the main discovery channel building could do at least as well as the bethesda location - prob better.

By the way their coffee is great - if only they had faster service.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to add to those (not necessarily on this blog, but around town and on others) saying that Mayorga was too "far away" from the Metro. Google maps says that Mayorga is .3 miles from the Silver Spring metro, or a 7 minute walk. Ellsworth is .4 miles from the metro, or a 9 min walk. So Mayorga's location is both closer in distance and a shorter walk time wise, so that argument simply doesn't hold up.

I give you the construction headaches, but I think the location and construction argument is the company saving face for the fact that they hired very pleasant but inept workers who were terrible at providing fast service. In a service industry guess what happens? You go out of business.

Sarah said...

aw, this really kind of bums me out. when i was in high school my friends and i went all the time! music nights, lunch, breakfast, after we went off to college it was always kind of our reunion space...although i'll admit after the parking situation went so downhill it was a nail in the coffin...since i graduated from college i don't think i've been back, but i moved back to D.C. a few months ago and had been meaning to get back over there! i think this affects me more on a nostalgic level than anything else, but i always had a good time there.

S. said...

This will likely sound fussy, but my impression of the place was always affected by the construction going on around it for years. I did walk there, but navigating around giant road signs, a valet parking booth, heavy equipment, and exposed drainage pipes made me feel like I was stopping at a place on the edge of an interstate construction project. Made it hard to preserve the ambiance of friendly neighborhood coffee joint.

I second the nomination for sports bar (but with edible food, please). The space is perfect for it.

chowoldfat said...

I always liked that Mayorga location with it's dark cozy recesses. Sorry to see it go but I'm sure they could find a better location.
I met a blind date there once. While I was waiting I looked over to the next sofa and there was that Question Mark Suit Guy (Not Doctor Who, but the free government money guy)typing away on his laptop looking seriously worn out and haggard. Needless to say, it was the highlight of the evening.

Anonymous said...

There's a rumor that they are moving Mayorga into the old Savory building off of Carroll in Takoma Park.

Anyone know if that's true? Wishful thinking?

Sarah said...

The last time I went to Mayorga, while I was waiting in the long line, someone came up to the counter to return a piece of cheesecake or something they had just gotten because it had mold on it! Eeuuww! Instead of being appropriately mortified and apologetic, the guy behind the counter just looked annoyed at the customer. I never went back.