Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The General Store Is No More

The General Store has closed. Who would have expected that mocking your customers would turn out to be a bad marketing strategy?


Jill said...

Should we be surprised that she's blaming it on someone else?

Anonymous said...

Creative...they are blaming their landlord for closing:

The General Store
It's with heavy hearts we're announcing that The General Store is closed. For the entire 4+ years we've been involved with this building we have been bullied by the landlords. The landlord has not paid his back taxes and the county is taking back the building. We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being more than just customers. We consider all of you friends.

Liz said...

I am amazed they were open for 4.5 years. I never felt welcome in there.

JS said...

Stupid racist tax codes.

Anonymous said...

The General Store is (was) in my neighborhood. Maybe someone else will buy the place from the county, open a customer friendly restaurant there with GOOD food. The place was doomed from the start with these owners anyway.

beaker said...

Many had high hopes for a neighborhood restaurant/bar. Instead, we got some weird and surpassingly expensive mix of upscale an downscale, with no advertising and chaotic customer service. Regardless of the quality of the food products (as reviewed by many, but not all), there was no business sense in the way this restaurant was marketed. This is the sad but predicable outcome. Blaming the landlord is a scapegoat for bad management.

Mortis Olaf said...

To be fair, the landlord was kind of corrupt. My mom worked at the store before the fire. Incidentally, that run-down house that got virtually torn down and Mcmanionized; I think that was his place. He probably went bankrupt or something. No, I am not involved with the restaurant. I went there once, and it was good, but too expensive. My dad went there and got razzed apparently lol.

Anonymous said...

I for one will not miss GSPOT (General Store & Post Office Tavern).

I'll join the chorus in denouncing chef, Robin and their "staff" for their frequently attrocious customer service. Yes, the chicken was very yummy, the fish tacos were, too. But eventually the tasty food doesn't overcome the(at best) lower than average customer experience which is part of what people expect when they pay the prices charged here. Sometimes they were unfriendly, but usually they were disorganized and by all appeareances, disinterested. There may have been problems with the landlord, but as the expression goes "what comes around, goes around". Hopefully they will learn a lesson but given their history of not listenting to their critics...uh...I mean customers, I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

This place was the most un neighborly neighborhood place around.As a neighbor I am Glad to see them gone. I went there dozens of times trying to like the place but gave up after I asked Gillian for some butter and she threw a temper tantrum. Many of my neighbors have similar stories.

I figured they would be outta there as soon as their other place was ready. Their business model of Jilliian Cooking while the other lady pissed everyone off doesn't lend itself to multiple locations. They probably are using the the landlords tax problems as reason to break their lease and get back into a more of a city environment where people don't expect to be treated like neighbors.

Good riddance!

Chip Py

Anonymous said...

Heh. According to WaPo, the REAL story is Gillian failed to pay back rent to the tune of $160K. Landlord got a judgment against them and they decided to fold up shop rather than pay. Couldn't pay his taxes huh? Yeah...that's a little hard to do when you don't have any income coming from the property, you lying piece of filth.

Good riddance to two despicable people.

Anonymous said...

eww. what slimeballs.

ForestGlen said...

Guess I'll join in the chorus of criticism. The place as in my neighborhood as well, but I only went there once and that was enough. I didn't find what we ordered particularly good. And then when word surfaced about those videos I vowed never to try them again.

Anonymous said...

Sux. I tried to take a big group up there the night after they closed.

I never ate there but I had been wanting to go for months. Their menu sounded great and kind of unique for the area.

Any suggestions for similar menus in the area? I don't know how i didn't notice this place for so long.

The videos and rumor of nastiness really made me want to go there more. I don't want friends or neighbors at a restaurant and I prefer a cold hostility from servers (Asian restaurants do this well). All I want is good food, and I'm sad I never got to find out if theirs was.

Anonymous said...

Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 03/25/2011
Landlord tells his side of General Store saga
By Tim Carman
This was originally posted on the All We Can Eat blog on March 24 at 6:05 p.m.

The announcement came first on Facebook, where the news was short and startling: The General Store, chef Gillian Clark’s homey restaurant in Silver Spring, was closed. “The landlord has not paid his back taxes and the county is taking back the building,” the note read on the General Store’s page on the social network site.

The full story was more complicated than that. Yes, landlord Spiro Gioldasis owed the county back taxes of more than $5,000 for 2010 and another $6,400 to a certificate holder who had bought the landlord’s 2009 tax lien. But when contacted last week for comment, Gioldasis said there was a simple reason for his tax woes: Clark and General Store co-owner Robin Smith owed him back rent dating to April 2010.

Gioldasis said he couldn’t pay the taxes because those county fees, along with the mortgage and insurance, are tied into the monthly rent paid by Clark and Smith. “So I have to come up with the money myself, and I don’t have it,” he says.

As a fellow restaurateur — he owns Pacci’s Neapolitan Pizzeria and is general manager at Mrs. K’s Toll House, both in Silver Spring — Gioldasis said he carried Clark and Smith longer than many landlords would have. But in early March, he and his attorney, Darrel Longest, filed suit in Montgomery County District Court for back rent, late fees and attorney costs. They were seeking $160,125.

On Wednesday, Judge William Simmons ruled in the landlord’s favor. Clark and Smith are on the hook for the full amount. The General Store owners had until Tuesday, March 29, to come up with the money to remain operating, Gioldasis says, but they closed shop instead.

“I was surprised that they gave up and walked away from it,” Gioldasis says.

Clark said she can’t pay the landlord the money owed, then added via e-mail: “Everyone gets behind in their rent or asks the landlord to accept less for a while. That’s how we all survive in slow times and how we both coexist to make money. Spiro is a bully and uses the courts to get his way. He has never wanted to work with us throughout this ordeal.”

Clark says the General Store’s closing will not affect the other restaurants that she and Smith plan to open, including the Kitchen on K Street in NoMa.

By Tim Carman  |  11:18 AM ET, 03/25/2011

Categories:  Restaurants  

Anonymous said...

wow. I'm a bit shocked by the back rent side of things. You sign a lease, you're expected to pay; you don't, you are in violation of a contract and seems like he has every right to go to court. Maybe working with them on the lease would've been reasonable, but to the tune of $100K+...? I had an impression of landlord troubles even before and as the place opened four years ago.

Anyway, I am sad to see it go. I never felt unwelcome there; to the contrary, Robin was always friendly. There was one young guy working the counter (a local, apparently Einstein HS and UMD grad) who acted like a jerk, but whatever. I thought much of the food was excellent, especially the pies, actually. Best chocolate pecan pie ever. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

Not paying their obligated rent to Spiro Gioldasis while opening a restaurant downtown. Hmmmm sounds totally sleezy to me.

I hope Spiro can collect from their other venture.

Chip Py

Anonymous said...

Ok, it's this part that makes me lose all sympathy I might have once had for Gillian Clark and her restaurant:
“Everyone gets behind in their rent or asks the landlord to accept less for a while. That’s how we all survive in slow times and how we both coexist to make money. Spiro is a bully and uses the courts to get his way. He has never wanted to work with us throughout this ordeal.”
(a) no, not everyone gets behind in their rent - you just don't do that, you cut back in other areas.
(b) no, that is not how "we all survive" - if we all stop paying each other no one survives!
(c) a bully uses other tactics than working through the legal system to enforce a legal binding contract. He's just doing what most people would do.

raralinus said...

I'm really ticked off that she had the nerve to publicize and blame the landlord who (based on a court decision) was more than reasonable with her. I've been to Pacci (best pizza, btw) and I have seen how hard the Gioldasis family works to run their restaurants.

I do hope he can collect the much owed back rent. She didn't just rip off a landlord, she ripped off a family.

She should have at least been up front about it or simply said nothing.

Anonymous said...

I will miss their fabulous egg salad. I won't miss the cold, rude atmosphere there.

lilkunta said...

Im surpriseed 2 this. After she was on Throwdown! she said business picked up. She said she was getting from as far as penn and NJ.
Plus werent all the FG neighborhood, as well as the Seminary townhouse/apt/condo r
"so happy "to have a neighborhood restaurant?

What happened?

Anonymous said...

Maybe nothing happened. Maybe she just is a shitty person who doesn't pay rent and is a drag on society.

Anonymous said...

I'm totally going to use that with my landlord. "Come ON, man, you have to WORK with me. EVERYONE does it." Um, no. Landlords collect rent. That's what makes them landlords. They don't have to work with you, especially if you're an ass about it.

Anonymous said...

How can you say that times are tough but yet you're planning to open another restaurant and not paying the rent on your current location?? Sounds sleezy to me! Never made it there and glad I didn't. Does anyone know the name of their new place so that I can make sure I never eat there? Don't want to give business to scum like that who leach off people who work hard and contribute to society.

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