Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- 8407 (or “Nicaro Hut”), the Ramsey St. restaurant located across the street from the hole in the ground that will eventually be our new transit center, finally opens its doors tomorrow. SoCo eats has details and a few photos of the renovated interior. Nice enough, but not nearly as cool as the Luau Hut.

- Not going to be open tomorrow? Ceviche. I reported awhile back that it was closing, though I retracted that after seeing the “closed for renovations” sign on the door. It turns out that “for renovations” actually meant “forever”.

The City Paper's Young and Hungry blog has more details on the closure. The money quote:

Latin Concept’s founder Mauricio Fraga-Rosenfeld called from Ecuador to confirm that Ceviche has indeed closed, officially putting an end to that once semi-proud Peruvian concept. “We are good for small urban places,” Fraga-Rosenfeld says. “Our concept does not work in malls.”
"Malls". Ouch.

Admittedly, I ate there just once myself. It did make Washingtonian’s Very Best Restaurants list in 2007, for what that’s worth.

- Part of the silent majority that thinks having a music hall in our downtown is a good thing? Join the FillmoreNow Facebook page.

- The Gazette has some details on our new Civic Center. (For some reason every time I look at the concrete structure that frames the front of the building, I think of the Recognizers from Tron.)

- The Handmade Mart crafts fair will return to Ellsworth on Sunday, May 23 and is looking for vendors.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Will Shitty Place finally receive its long-awaited and much-needed makeover? The sale of the mall to Petrie Ross Ventures nearly three years ago came with promises of improvement to the retail mix, yet there have been few notable changes thus far.

However, changes finally appear to be afoot, with the planning board approving a new, more welcoming façade at the Colesville Road entrance. Of course, without improving the retail offerings inside, this amounts to little more than putting lipstick on a pig. Unless they plan on staging more free Rihanna concerts, something beyond a facelift needs to happen to lure new shoppers to the much-maligned mall.

Outside of changes to the entrance, proposed physical improvements to the property included a 9-story tower dropped on top of the existing building. Based on historical development timelines in MoCo, time to completion for this project should be approximately twenty-seven years. More details on the proposed improvements can be found over on Just up the Pike.

The owner hopes to announce a major retailer in about six months that will occupy 50-100K feet of retail space on the top few floors. Let the speculation begin! (Bed, Bath & Beyond, please.)

- I was disappointed to discover this past weekend that Goldberg's Bagels is closed on Saturdays. It would appear they don't roll (dough) on Shabbos. I wasn't the only one let down, as there was 3-4 other people in the parking lot trying to get their Saturday morning bagel fix. Also somewhat disappointing: their bagels aren't made on site - rather they are baked at the Rockville Location and trucked over to Silver Spring throughout the day. Not a big deal, but it is nice to get them fresh out of the oven.

- The good news regarding weekend hours is that beginning this week Kefa Café will now be open on Sundays, at least for the time being. This will allow me to get my caffè breve and restock my Yirgacheffe beans seven days a week.

- Later this year Velatis will begin selling ice cream and baked goods in addition to the caramels, fudge and truffles they already stock.

- Finally, here's a video created by B. Klein of recent blasting operations at the site of the future Silver Spring Transit center set to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Now, if they could only demolish City Place. I kid!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Captured on Film: The Luau Hut

As a follow-up to my post last year on Silver Spring's own Tiki Bar, the Luau Hut, here's a photo of the restaurant's exterior in the 1960's. The photo was posted on the Tiki Central Forums by the daughter of one of the restaurant's owners, and she promises to post some more of the interior in the future.


There are now some photos of the interior available here. For those too lazy to click the link, here's a selection of slightly 'Shopped photos.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Flickr Find: Silver Spring in the Late 70's

I don't come across a lot of photos of downtown Silver Spring from the 70's and 80's, or even 90's, so I was delighted when I stumbled upon a few shots of late 70's Silver Spring on Flickr from user davidwilson1949. They are primarily transit focused, but they still show a less-developed (and pre-"revitalized") downtown area. Here's a collection of some of the more interesting ones. Click on any picture to enlarge it.

A post-snowstorm shot of the Silver Spring Shopping Center, now the front end of the Downtown Silver Spring development. Note the oddly-placed Coke machine.


A pre-AFI Silver Theatre, which was showing The Warriors at the time. A movie which, incidentally, is a pretty good representation of what Downtown Silver Spring was like in the 80s.


Another snowy shot of downtown, looking north from the Metro Station.


The Silver Spring Metro Station, back when it was fresh and new and still the last stop on the Red Line. It looked much more peaceful back then.


An old school Ride-On bus on display at the Silver Spring station with an even earlier model parked in the background. Why did Ride-On go and switch to that new nasty blue/green/yellow color scheme after all these years? There's no respect for tradition anymore. Ride-Ons should be blue and white, dammit!


Another Ride-On bus.


And some Metrobuses.


Look closely - it's the Luau Hut!

And finally, my favorite of the lot - A mini Ride-On bus chugging down 2nd Avenue in Silver Spring. It looks like it's falling apart. What a bucket!