- I'm very happy for the denizens of Georgetown, whose "Social Safeway" has finally re-opened to much fanfare, but when does our nickname-less Four Corners Safeway get its long-overdue makeover? Is it on Safeway's renovation list, and if so, how far down the list is it? The downtown Silver Spring Safeway was renovated last year, but what about us in the 20901? This is the most convenient supermarket to my house, but due to its mediocrity I will only patronize it if I need something in a pinch. A makeover of the interior would be welcome, just don't touch the classic retro facade.
- Juvenile druggie survivalists setting up a (lightly) armed camp in the middle of Sligo Creek Park? Sure, why not. Reading this story resolved for me a mystery from earlier in the day of how someone reached this blog after googling the phrase "sligo creek golf gunmen".
- Jessup Blair mansion, which had been used up to a couple years ago as low-income housing, will be renovated and could potentially be converted into office space.
- This Saturday at Fenton Street Market: crepes.
- It seems like Pacci's has been quite popular since it first opened last Friday, and though I haven't been back since my sneak preview, I have had take out Pacci's since then. (Thanks to @ThayerAvenue.) My favorite pie so far is the quattro formaggi, since I love anything with Gorgonzola. For those of you who have yet to try the new pizzeria, here's a guest review of Pacci's submitted by a reader:
Pacci's Mini-ReviewOn the subject of reviews, this Yelp review of the Quarry House pisses me off more than it should. Note that the douchebag reviewer ripping on Silver Spring lives in Reston.
So it's thoroughly unfair to review a restaurant in the first half hour that they are open, but a lot of people were asking how the place was (and judging by the number coming through the door, quite a few took the initiative to go find out themselves), so here are a few first impressions.
First of all, their website still says that they are "opening soon", but does list a phone number. I called at 5:30pm to confirm that they were actually open, and got no answer, but decided to drive by anyway. Sure enough, there were large signs for a grand opening from 6-11pm today. Parking was tough in the service road that I normally use to park for Taste of Jerusalem, and the "drive through", which is familiar to many as a cut through to the Fenton Street Village Garage was completely blocked with four parked cars. Sure enough, the place was quite busy. Even though it was only 6:20, the staff seemed a bit frazzled. A "Welcome to the neighborhood, we're glad you're open" got a "Yeah, so are we." in return.
I took a look at the menu. Kudos to the staff for having TONS of takeout menus all around the long counter against the window, as well as a few large laminated menus for folks at the registers to order off of. I couldn't help but feel like I was in the way when looking at the laminated menu, but like I was getting out of line to look at the paper ones. Oh, the pressure!
All of the pizzas are personal sized, 12" neapolitan pizzas. My wife wanted a "Capriciosa", a red pizza with fresh mozzarella (more on that in a bit), mushrooms, ham, artichokes, black olives and basil. I ordered what may have been the first panini in the nascent history of the restaurant, with prosciutto, mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto.
A few more notes on ordering. Even though all of the toppings are out front, and made fresh to order in the wood fired brick oven that was running at 931 degrees, according to the digital display just below it, you cannot choose your own toppings. You must take one of the selections on the menu. With 26 very enticing options, that shouldn't be a problem. More importantly, the credit card machines have not yet arrived, so the whole joint is cash only. I didn't see anyone have major issues (there is an ATM on the block), but I was surprised not to see any signs, handwritten or otherwise, to that effect.
While I waited, I checked out the patio - a nice sunny area, but not too exposed, between Pacci's and the World Building. I can't wait to have lunch there on a warm day in the future. The restaurant is long and narrow, so the space seemed ample, even though there were just a handful of tables in the back. The bar was full, as was much of the counter that ran the length of the restaurant along the window. A nice cross-section of Silver Spring residents were enjoying the place, the crowd didn't skew particularly young or old. The decorations are still a work in progress, and I could envision Spiro going the DaMarco route with some quiet music and artwork on the wall, or the Roger Miller route, and having a big flat screen with soccer games on to go with the chatter.
The blog had mentioned that there will be early morning offerings of pastries and espresso, when I asked, they said "eventually." Right now, they open at 11am, and the menu is the same all day.
Possibly because of the historic panini (Paninis are made in the kitchen in the back, the brick oven pizza is up front), or possibly because my order got confused (a waiter walked off with "my" pizza), I ended up waiting almost 40 minutes for my takeout order. I'd never hold that against a brand new restaurant, but in the future, they'd do well to "take care" of folks that are kept waiting that long. At $11.50-13.50 for a typical personal pizza, they can spare a fountain drink to keep people happy. I was stuck awkwardly standing or sitting, pretty much in the way of the entire restaurant's comings and goings, for that time.
I got my pizza, and 10 minutes later, another woman brought the panini out, but the frazzled woman running the register wouldn't let either of us get a word in edgewise so that it could be handed over to me! I made it home with a lukewarm pizza (I live off of Sligo Creek Parkway, about 10 minutes away) and panini. The Panini was fantastic, the fresh mozzarella and the basil were both amazing, and the texture of the panini was just right. The salt of the proscuitto was balanced well with the sweetness of the tomatoes. At $7.50, I'd definitely go back for one at lunchtime. The pizza was...just okay, even if they had remembered to put the artichokes on it, which were the main reason my wife ordered the pizza. I chalk that up to a first day experience, and we'll give the pizza itself another shot in a couple of months. For now, if we want a true Italian pizza, we'll stick with the Roman pizza at DaMarco's on Tuesday nights. Their pizza is more consistent, (slightly) cheaper, lighter, and the service is far more friendly, all qualities I have no doubt that Pacci's will pick up as they start to get firing on all cylinders.