Friday, July 19, 2013

Welcome BurgerFi: Like Shake Shack, but Hopefully Without the Lines

Not long after the departure of the generally-unloved Stage Burger Lounge comes news that another burger joint is moving in to to downtown Silver Spring. According to the Peterson Co.'s map of DTSS, the space on Fenton Street most recently occupied by Family Dry Cleaners will be home to BurgerFi, a Florida-based chain whose representation in the DC area is presently limited to Leesburg, where it gets OK but not great reviews.

Photo by Flickr User santheo

I've never heard of BurgerFi until now, though a quick search returns a more than a few accusations that the chain is a Shake Shack clone. Considering their offerings are nearly identical (burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, plus beer & wine), the allegations aren't baseless. I think I shall dub it "Fake Shack".

Also, the fact that they have a "secret menu" leads me to believe they are also attempting to emulate In-N-Out Burger to some extent, though it's a bit disingenuous to claim that menu items are "secret" when you have them openly listed on your website.

So, yeah, maybe not the most original of concepts, but that doesn't mean their burgers aren't tasty. Their unique angle appears to be their claim that they are the "greenest" of burger chains, using only grass-fed beef and appointing their restaurants with recycled furniture.

Not sure what the timeline is for opening, but I'm looking forward to giving it a try. The burger options downtown are somewhat lacking at present.

Thanks to commenter Perry for bringing this to our attention.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Two New Restaurants Coming for You to Complain About

The first harbinger of a new restaurant opening is often a bright orange liquor license hearing notice appearing in the window of an unoccupied space. A couple more of these notices have recently popped up around downtown Silver Spring, though they provide little indication of the nature of the planned establishments outside of their names.

First, there's "Urban Butcher", set to occupy the first floor of this building at the corner of Georgia and Ripley. Sounds a bit serial killer-y to me. Perhaps the name is meant to be ironic and it will actually be a vegan restaurant.

UPDATE: Reader JW did a little sleuthing and found the Maryland trade name application for Urban Butcher, which included a few bits of new information. First, the name is being registered by Raynold Mendizabal, presently the executive chef at the Lima Restaurant in the District. Also, there will be both an operating butcher shop and a restaurant on the premises. If nothing else, you know your meat will be fresh.

There's also a notice posted in a window of this nondescript building located at 923 Sligo Avenue for an eponymously-named "923 Sligo Cafe".

I have no other info on either of these establishments, so if anyone has any details, let us know!

Thanks to MG for the tip on Urban Butcher.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- So Pete's Apizza is fully operational, and has just introduced the "Silver Spring" pizza, which "reflects the cross section of cultures both in our kitchen and in the surrounding neighborhoods". If they really wanted some local flavor, they should offer beef tibs as a topping. I'd buy a slice of that in a second. Pete's pizza is good, but it doesn't come cheap - I ordered a Margherita, basically a fancy cheese pizza, and it cost me $30 with delivery - and that was pre-tip.

- "Here is Ray's the Classics - now, plain The Classics." (Ref) Sadly, this pretty much eliminates the prospect of the former Stage Burger becoming a Ray's Hell Burger. We'll have to see if "The Classics" can succeed where other local restaurants that lost their founders have failed.

- After ten years, Round House Theater will give up management of the black box theater located next to the AFI. Admittedly, this is an area of which I have little knowledge, though the initial response to this move appears to be quite positive. Apparently it will give smaller, competing groups more opportunity to stage productions in this space.

- So the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control wants to know what it can do to foster nightlife in the county? How about eliminating itself?

- I was somewhat confused last weekend when I saw a food truck operating directly outside Fire Station 1, apparently with the full consent of the restaurant. I would think encouraging food trucks to park outside your restaurant would generally be considered bad for business, but it turns out that this particular truck was Tikka Tikka Taco, one of the competitors in Food Network's Great Food Truck Race, so I expect FS1 had an arrangement with the network. Presumably the show is shooting here for the upcoming season (which begins August 11), so look for Silver Spring to make an appearance whenever the episode ultimately airs.