Monday, June 17, 2013

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

 - Pete's New Haven Style Apizza has announced that its new Silver Spring location will officially open for business this this Wednesday at 11AM. They've also posted some photos of their completed kitchen and dining areas as well as a map of their delivery area. You can't go wrong opening a pizza joint these days - Americans love them some pizza.

- The Parks Department has proposed the construction of a downtown Silver Spring dog park in the section of Ellsworth Park immediately adjacent to the current Silver Spring library. You can view the complete proposal here (pdf).

- Curbed DC, a website which generally doesn't acknowledge the existence of Silver Spring, has elicited the usual ignorant anti-Silver Spring vitriol in the comments section of a post reporting on something that is not in Silver Spring:

Granted, the photo chosen to lead off the post is a poor representation of Downtown Silver Spring, though it does have Matthew Lesko in it.

And I've got some bad news for you wanna-be hipster Silver Spring haters currently residing in imaginary places like "NoMa" or "The Atlas District": once your children start approaching kindergarten age, you'll be moving out here with us and will learn to appreciate what we have.


Gubmint Cheese said...

Screw Lesko and the Free Sh1t Army mentality. Nothing the government gives away is free, its only adding to the ever increasing tax burden that is passed directly to everyone. Record numbers of the population on food stamps and SS disability. The progressives have a permanent voting block waiting for the next handout.

Anonymous said...

Pete's is going to be awesome. Really happy for that corner, too, which now has two great places in La Madeline and Pete's (and the soon-to-be Sweetgreen 50ft away, as well). Hopefully it push the La Madeline neighbors to FINALLY update their storefront and get more worthwhile tenants than that cash checking place. It's remarkable that whoever owns that storefront still thinks it's 1980 in DTSS. They could make a killing if they were smart enough to simply renovate.

Handsome Ralph said...

Uhhh, ok. Now that open mic Mitt Romney's done with his set, anyone know what happened with that stabbing on Friday night on Spring st?

Also, screw the Silver Spring haters. I pay 1/3 less in rent with utilities included for an apartment 2x as big as one I could get around U Street. Also if their irrational hatred keeps them away from Quarry House, then all the better for me.

I honestly don't get the hate, considering even if you live in SS, you're still free to head into D.C. with relative ease unless track-work is going on.

Ken Cho said...

I would add Distrito Federal along with Pete's, La Madeline and Sweetgreen as that whole revitalized strip. I love Pacci's but I loved Pete's before when I lived in CH.

And don't underestimate how much a dingy place like the cash checking/lottey/keno place can make. They look totally ghetto but the owners probably take home some decent revenue. This coming from a Korean American who has relatives/friends who own bodegas/convenient markets etc.

Anonymous said...

Handsome Ralph, can't hear the truth about nothing being free. What a "fortunate" upbringing you musta had. And to think you insult the original poster by calling him Mitt Romney, says a lot, but this is supposed to be a civil site, so I won't go there, like you did.

Anonymous said...

I would assume the "Gubmint Cheese" comment is just spam posted at random on sites, as it has nothing to do with SS or the blog post (unless that rant is directed at a public dog park, which would be hilarious) - no need to defend it, Anony, and no need to hate on it. I'd just remove it.

Pete's interior looks awesome. I hope they can direct enough foot traffic into the place as it's a little off the beaten path, plus doesn't have much room outside for any seating and minimal signage. Hopefully, with the help of Sligo and the like, most people will know its there and open for business.

Anonymous said...

"And don't underestimate how much a dingy place like the cash checking/lottey/keno place can make"

If they're making bank then it sure would be nice if they'd take a coat of paint to the building once every 40 years...looks awful, as is.

Slightly off-topic, does anyone know what the hell is up with the streetscape revitalization in SS, south of Wayne?? They did a couple blocks down near Jackie's and Pacci's last year, but haven't started back up to complete the renovations this year. WTH is that about??

Anonymous said...

The area south of Wayne is called Fenton Village.
The streetscape work done at the corner of Sligo and Georgia was funded by a development impact fee and outlines buildings that used to sit there. Pretty clever actually. That Day Care used to be a Giffords Ice Cream.
The other streetscape along Georgia was held up since it would have included ripping out all the existing trees, and redoing the sidewalk and tree boxes. The effect would have made the tree box at a different height then the sidewalk between it and the store fronts. It would have also narrowed the sidewalk to a point that sidewalk tables might have been prohibited due to clearance widths for ADA.
Meanwhile, alot of streetscape improvements are on the tabs of the new developments coming in - Studio Plaza, 900 Thayer, Baptist Church Apartments, etc.

On top of that Georgia Avenue is going to be repaved from the DC line to 16th Street in the next 14 months.

What I don't get is why is the county going to spend $12 million for a bike bridge over Georgia Ave when they could run an at grade bike lane in that turn out in front of Pacci's and up past The Fire House restaurant. Seems like cheaper and faster would better serve the taxpayers. Be alot safer too, safer than a bike lane tucked out of sight by the train tracks.

Anonymous said...

You need to pay attention to the Zoning Code rewrite that is going on right now. If it passes this summer then it could have a big impact on the way Silver Spring develops. It changes Comercial Zones (C) to Commerical Residential (CR). It could tilt current CBD's into Hi Rise Residential districts, like what is happening in Fenton Village. Smart Growth/Live Work is supposed to be a balance of residential and commerical/office. All we're getting in Fenton Village is Hi Rise residential with token commercial. Also, there would be no requirements for the type of residential - the developers will all build the same thing - 1 bed and studio luxury apartments for single professionals. Have you noticed all those new yuppies in Safeway lately? More are coming.
The Sentinel has good columns that explain the big zoning issues.
Seriously, its one thing to complain about the 2000 Master Plan, but if this passes this summer as is - you will be complaining about what happened now. Stay ahead of the game for once.

Anonymous said...

"it would have included ripping out all the existing trees, and redoing the sidewalk and tree boxes"

...that's the point, isn't it? All of GA Ave sidewalks have been done, except between Wayne and Silver Spring St. The remaining 3 blocks look terrible compared to the rest. This should have been handled in phase 1 and 2 of the streetscape renovations.

From Ike's office YEARS ago:
"The Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) plans to begin Phases III and IV of the Fenton Village Pedestrian Linkages Project in spring 2012. The Fenton Village Project will begin with phases III and IV (east side of Georgia Avenue/MD97 from Silver Spring Avenue to Selim Road) and will continue with phases I and II (east side of Georgia Avenue/MD97 from Wayne Avenue to Silver Spring Avenue). The project will include the installation of brick pavers, replacement of existing trees, expansion of tree pits, and sidewalk improvements that meet the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards."

Anonymous said...

"Have you noticed all those new yuppies in Safeway lately? More are coming."

Good. Hopefully you're right. Without them, this county is dead in the water. Unless you think our ever-increasing number of retirees are all going to report some major BINGO income to continue funding all the great public amenities and infrastructure we currently enjoy.

Justafed said...

Concerning Sligo's comments about Atlas District/NoMa residents who will be moving to Silver Spring when they have kids:, they won't. They will convert their pricey DC real estate into something, anything in Bethesda, broadly construed. We may joke around here about Silverthesda, but if you tour open houses in Silver Spring, so many of them have two kid bedrooms for children who are turning maybe 5 and 3.

Anonymous said...

This fear that Silver Spring would become a high-rise residential district is funny. God forbid we get the density required to sustain a large and vibrant downtown. As for the lack of office building, that's a matter of the market, and right now it's just not there.

"Smart Growth/Live Work is supposed to be a balance of residential and commerical/office."

That's why the zoning change will allow for the previously sterile office hood be mixed with housing.

"All we're getting in Fenton Village is Hi Rise residential with token commercial."

And all most of America is getting is diddly squat. Aren't we fancy that getting new residents and restaurants is a bad thing!

"the developers will all build the same thing - 1 bed and studio luxury apartments for single professionals."

Ever hear of rehabing a building? You can always retrofit those units into larger ones and even office space eventually, but the truth is people change jobs all the time which dosen't mean they'll move everytime that happens. If we have good transit (Purple line and BRT) they'll have the flexibility to stay in DTSS and transit to wherever.

"Have you noticed all those new yuppies in Safeway lately? More are coming."

What rock are you living under? Those "yuppies" are college graduates trying to do well for themselves. Is that a problem?

"Stay ahead of the game for once."

Thanks vor the heads up, but all I see in Silver Spring's future are better things to come. Too bad you need to fear monger where there's nothing to fear.

Anonymous said...

RE: Sidewalks
The plan was to level the sidewalk with the entrances into the GA Ave storefronts. Currently the stores are not ADA accessible with doors thresholds exceeding the min requirements. The sidewalks are not wide enough to handle the needed cross slope and still be ADA accessible. So the treeboxes and sidewalks would be on different levels, about 4"-5" different in height. There would be a decorative edge fence that would prevent people from tripping off the 5" into the treebox. The problem comes with the remaining, now flat width of sidewalk up to the storefront. To maintain ADA Accessible passing and entrance to the stores, it would pretty much eliminate the cafe seating now in popular use. It was determined several years ago to re-think this plan and see if something better could be figured out. Hopefully they are working on something that is ADA accesible but also preserves the cafe seating. But these are the same folks that gave us the bizarre curb cuts at the SW corner of Wayne & GA and Bonifant & Ga. Also the money may be gone by now - or they are waiting for a Developer to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

The Owners in the Crescent might have a different opinion of keeping up with zoning changes in a CBD. Crescent was built in 2006 and is 14 stories. The allowed height in adjacent FV was 90' until 2008. In 2008 a Zoning Text Amendment was submitted to raise the height in FV to 143'. One Council Member and a few ESS residents pushed back and the height increase went up only to 110'. The south facing Crescent owners are going to be facing the 11 story Library Housing building now. If the Crescent Owners had paid attention in 2008 the top 5 floors might have kept their views.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. What an unbelievable pain in the ass re: FV streetscape improvements. Between that and the ever-delayed Studio Plaza, Adele, and Silver Spring Park FV is continuously held back from its full potential. Hopefully by this time next year Stuido Plaza and Adele are off the ground....

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what's going on in the former AV company space next to the Nora School on Sligo? I saw a liquor license application notice up when driving by, but couldn't see anything else on the sign.

Anonymous said...

"...residents who will be moving to Silver Spring when they have kids:, they won't. They will convert their pricey DC real estate into something, anything in Bethesda, broadly construed."

A certain group of people seem to think that Bethesda is a sort of utopia for the upper-middle class family that wants to make it - original poster seemingly included. It never occurs to those people that many... many... people deliberately choose NOT to live in Bethesda (or Potomac... or McLean... or Great Falls...) even though they have the resources to do just that. I also wonder if those people have ever actually lived in Bethesda as a paying post-college working adult. I think if they had they might be less enthusiastic (dare I say cult-like?) about it.

There are a LOT of negatives that go along with life in modern 21st century B-Town... and that is especially true with what has been labeled "Bethesda - 'broadly construed'" by the original poster. I know because I grew up in Bethesda (Whitman Grad)... lived in the downtown area of Bethesda as an adult... and ultimately found a much better lifestyle in SS. Bethesda has many charms, but not enough to draw me (or my family) there for the long haul. Yes geography snobs... I actually *prefer* living in Silver Spring.... and I have the personal experience to make informed comparisons about the two towns. Plus... my parents still live in Bethesda... we attend church in Bethesda... etc.

[Personal Note: The "best' Bethesda IMO, historically speaking, is long gone. Much of what made it a funky town (WHFS, Raw Bar, Psyche Deli, Drafthouse, Twist and Shout, Durty Nellies, O’Donnell’s, Hot Shoppes, Community Paint and Hardware... need I go on and on?) has been gone for 25+ years. The final nails in the coffin include the Cinema 'n' Drafthouse being shuttered in 2001 and the Twist and Shout (American Legion Hall) being bullied into a MoCo liquor store. Sometimes it seems like only Tastee Diner and Pumphrey's Funeral Home still stand from the old times. With all that in mind... my biggest fear as a SS resident is that DTSS will become as soulless and homogenized as modern day Bethesda.]

Anonymous said...

As a former Bethesdian (and Rockvillian), I certainly agree with Anonymous. There are some things about Bethesda I miss (DTSS streets are still largely car orientated while walking along Bethesda's streets - from Wisconsin on down to Woodmont, Norfolk, etc. - is much more pleasant), but by and large DTSS is a far superior place to live and explore. Bethesda still has some interesting places up in Woodmont Triangle, but for the most part Bethesda is just a mall turned inside out - an Ellsworth x5.

I'm confident DTSS realizes what it has and will fight to keep the likes of Sergio's, Kefa, Quarry House, and Mandalay. Other than a couple of truly insane posts on here about how amazing Cheesecake Factory is, it appears 99% of SSpringers "get it".

Anonymous said...

The new beer and wine licence on Sligo is for "Sligo Cafe". Hopefully they put in some outdoor seating in front! The new cafe going in on SS Ave. is doing some major renovating. They appear to even be adding an overhang too the front of the building, presumably for covered, outdoor seating.

Craig said...

Anon quoted: "I'm confident DTSS realizes what it has and will fight to keep the likes of Sergio's, Kefa, Quarry House, and Mandalay. Other than a couple of truly insane posts on here about how amazing Cheesecake Factory is, it appears 99% of SSpringers 'get it'".

I don't share your optimism. Yes, the locals get it. People who have lived in Silver Spring for 10+ or 20+ years now "GET IT". But I have seen far too many gentrification horror stories. Where you have greater increases of household wealth, you will see dramatic changes with street-side businesses. This is a pretty solid theory.

I used to live in Arlington, VA before it blew up into this super affluent enclave for single professionals. The family run shops that dotted Wilson Blvd. from Roslyn to Ballston were completely wiped out by the hyper-gentrification wave that hit Arlington from the mid-1990s to the current day. Corporate chain retail shops and chain restaurants were moving into newly developed properties. Most of the shops and eateries cater to the "yuppie" crowd but these shops and restaurants can be found in upscale neighborhoods of Boston, Chicago, New York City, Seattle, Austin, TX and so on. This is why the "New" Arlington development appears so stale and phony.

Commercial rents become so expensive that no immigrant family or enterprising individual can afford retail space. We are already seeing pockets of small business owners leaving DTSS because of the high rents and taxes. Only the corporate chains or wealthy families have the finances to gobble up the properties.

Now sure, some wealthy Montgomery County family can open a niche antique shop on Fenton or some cash-rich master chef from Georgetown can open a new restaurant on Georgia Ave. There are exceptions to the national corporate chain takeover. But the bottom line is that DTSS would become an "exclusive zone" where only a certain socio-economic group can enjoy the benefits of buying and dining. If Silver Spring heads down the Arlington route then I don't want to be a Silver Spring resident.

It's ALL about authenticity. In the end, there is no guarantee that a place like Quarry House will survive if the "yuppification" of DTSS continues.

Anonymous said...

That theory only makes sense if you assume all yuppies are created equal. I'm the person you quote and I consider myself a yuppie and all my DTSS friends are yuppies, but we're far from the Bethesda/Arlington yuppie you reference. Not all of us young, urban, professionals want to live in Bethesda, just like not all old, urban, professionals want to live in Bethesda.

Anonymous said...

"It's ALL about authenticity" Reminds me of Sarah Palin's constant refrain of the "real" americans. Self serving BS if you ask me. Someone's authenticity is another's slum.

Anonymous said...

Anon June 20 1:21--
Amen to that. This vilification of "yuppificaton" is just reverse snobbery. Makes me laugh out loud.

Anonymous said...

"It's ALL about authenticity. In the end, there is no guarantee that a place like Quarry House will survive if the "yuppification" of DTSS continues. "

Are you effing kidding me? I've lived here a long time. QH was a place I could drop in at any time. What it was is a bunch of guys drinking beers, smoking, and staring at a hot babe serving our drinks. There was one waitress who used to wear a cheerleading outfit to work every night. Man she was a knockout. I think the maximum number of people I'd see in there was 10 at a time. It used to close at midnight.

Since then the place has become overrun with "yuppies". If anything, the "gentrification" you speak of has saved the place. Granted, I'd rather it be available to people like me who just want a place to drink in a local dive, but success has it's price. I'm happy the place is doing well. These changes has done nothing but help.

Lisa said...

The worst part about the new Bethesda is its new (as in nouveau riche) residents ... boring ... I'll take Silver Spring's sometimes dicey but authentic crowd any day ...

Anonymous said...

The sidewalks improvements. It's happening as I type. Trees were cut yesterday. It is the ADA two level sidewalk plan.

Anonymous said...

The sidewalks improvement plan is underway along Georgia Avenue. From Sligo up to Wayne all the tree boxes, paving, curbs, lighting is being replaced. New trees will be planted this fall when all the sidewalk work is done.

This is going to be a rough summer for the businesses along Georgia Avenue, between the repaving of Georgia and the sidewalk work. This is the kind of disruption that can tip a marginal business into failure. We all need to support these businesses this summer and make an effort to patronize them. They are our neighbors too.

Craig said...


You gave a contradictory reply. On the one hand, you miss the old QH but you are glad it's still around despite the "yuppie" crowd hanging out in there.

The Old QH was a bar for gray-haired working class dudes and veteran white-collar federal government workers. It was a MAN bar back in the day.

But I disagree about the modern QH patronized by yuppies. Hipsters, yes. Broke-ass graduate students, yes. Artsy-fartsy types with crappy day jobs, yes.

Yuppies...not so much. QH still attracts the long-time locals regardless of class background. Some are accomplished professionals but you have many students and the struggling, scuffling types drinking beers too. You won't see too many hot-shot Discovery Channel or United Therapeutics corporate employees in the joint for happy hour.

Dive bars have a way of repelling the trendy kid crowd.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I complained about the lack of movement on GA streetscape improvement and two days later they begin. I'm amazing. What should I complain about next? Lack of a good sports bar?

Anonymous said...

And I'll echo the need to patronize Fenton Village businesses, especially this summer with all the construction work going on.

Elizabeth said...

Can anyone point me toward the sidewalks "improvement" plan? I've been in FV for about a year and am blown away by how much has been done in this area in that time... I think some of it is an improvement, but many of the changes are for the worse in my opinion -- I'd be interested to see the logic behind it. (e.g. why did they remove the crosswalk on Georgia at the north side of SS Ave intersection? why do we have push-button cross signals in the middle of the sidewalk throughout FV?)

Anonymous said...

This sidewalk plan goes back to 2009/2010 and has been dormant until our fellow poster mentioned it. Is that a Super Power? Can you ask about City Place?

Try going to MR Georgia Ave Streetscape 000.pdf

Seems that they forgot to tell anyone this work was starting this week. Right when AFI/Docs was starting and a week from the Ethiopian Soccer Tournament.

I agree with the clustering of poles/signals/power boxes at corners. How does that help accessibility when the sidewalk at a curb cut is an obstacle course?

Anonymous said...

There are definitely issues with Silver Spring, but the Bethesda goofballs need to calm down with the snobbery.

Anonymous said...

There may be issues with Silver Spring, but having a class A public space full of life ain't one of them. "Real" Silver Springers may trash Ellsworth, but it's Martin Luther King's dream come true. Every race and type of person mingling together in a large and developed series of public spaces. Well done Montgomery county planners!

Anonymous said...

I agree. DTSS has way better places to eat than Ellsworth, but as far as being a gathering place and having regular, great programming - it's excellent.

Anonymous said...

Went to Pete's was good but $25 for one pizza? Also, too many tiny tables with uncomfortable chairs. Not sure I will be comin back.

Anonymous said...

Pete's may be having some opening pains - ordered a pizza tonight and was told 20-25 minutes. It took an hour and 45 minutes to arrive, and by then it was cold. So I think we'll wait a while before trying again.

Anonymous said...

Did someone just say Silver Spring is the fullfillment of MLKs dream? Now I've heard everything.

Anonymous said...

I didn't write that, but I do have to say that despite the many improvements that still need to come to downtown Silver Spring, I love how diverse it is. I'd argue that it's one of the most diverse areas in this region. And by that I mean not segregated by neighborhood or in a transition stage where people of color are for the most part being pushed out due to gentrification (looking at you DC.) Arlington is a pathetic place for diversity, it mostly looks like an Old Navy catalog. Again, this is limited to downtown Silver Spring, not 40 minutes up Colesville.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in DTSS since 1992. Remember when the JC Penneys, Hechts, Giffords, and The Roths East/West were open since the mid-1960s. My sister lives in Bethesda down the street from Whitman so her kids could go there. She always remarks on "diverse" SS is compared to Bethesda. I know what she means. The education here in SS is different but might better prepare you for life outside of the suburban Bethsda bubble -- not real world, IMHO.

Pete (no relation) said...

Had good pizza at Pete's last night. Service was friendly and efficient if not perfect.

Their pies are pretty big and their prices are competitive with although a little higher than Mama Lucia's (Mama's large cheese is $17.50; Pete's is $19). Specialty pizzas compare similarly, with Pete's having some expensive outliers. Yeah I know it's not $10/pizza, but the pizza is better than Dominos' or Jerry's. Gelato was tasty, cannolis maybe a little soft.

Good beers on draft, too. DFH IPA, Port City, etc.

Anonymous said...

Pete's Pizza is solid. It's expensive but worth it.

People on this blog have odd taste.

Anonymous said...

If you sign up for Pete's email list, you'll get a coupon for a free slice with any purchase, good through the end of the month.

Anonymous said...

Pete's is awesome. Great food, nice people, good service. Can't go wrong - it's slightly expensive is my only gripe.

And yes to 4:24pm poster - email list coupons rock!

Anonymous said...

odd news:

Anonymous said...

Re: Ray's the Classics

Not old news to me. First I've heard of anything definitive. Although I suspected something was in the works from the notice of the liquor license transfer that has been in the window recently.

Anyway, Ray's Bistro menu used to be an amazing deal. Then they had to go and change it, making it more expensive with fewer options and no dessert included. But I still liked the place, as did my parents whenever they came to visit. One thing I ask of the new owners: Please keep the Crab Royale!

Anonymous said...

I didn't say it was old news. I said it was odd news. Post article says they'll keep doing what they're doing right (steaks and burgers) but start giving people back what they want (hopefully free deserts w/the bistro combo and free sides with the restaurant menu)

Anonymous said...

I didn't say it was old news. I said it was odd news.

Yikes. Time to check the prescription. Sorry for the mixup.

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