Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- I can't get over the fact that "Urban Butcher" sounds much more appropriate as a moniker of a brutal serial killer than as a name of a restaurant.

- Apparently the components of DTSS' new 'tree' were sourced from local yard sales:

Thanks to HK for the pic.

- I discovered this past weekend that the venerable Woodmoor Bakery in Four Corners now offers cronuts, and you don't even have to wait in an epic line to get one. I haven't had the original cronut so I can't compare the taste, but they don't look as pretty.

- Technically not Silver Spring news, but the Georgia Avenue Walmart in D.C. is set to open on December 4th. It's located about the same distance from downtown Silver Spring as the Target in Wheaton and a couple miles closer than the Cherry Hill Road Target. Of course, I imagine a lot of people in Silver Spring would choose to avoid Walmart on GP.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- The Pacers running store on Fenton has closed. The fact that a City Sports opened just a block away couldn't have been good for business. Plus, in the era of sites like Zappos I wouldn't put too much stock in the long term prospects of athletic shoe stores. I don't know what the primary factor in Pacer's closure was, but it's not as if there aren't plenty of joggers around here.

- My Line is Red has a Q&A with one of the owners of of Citizens Brewing Company. In it, the location at 1115 East-West Highway is described as 'ideal'. Let's hope that's the case.

- One place with a less-than-ideal location is Taqueria Distrito Federal, and a commenter in a previous post noted that this space is currently for sale. Hopefully this isn't the end of TDF in Silver Spring. While not perfect, I've eaten there a number of times and have had some decent meals. They are also really good with kids, always offering a complimentary plate of chicken, rice and beans. I'd be a little bummed if they left, but that location is a killer. On paper it's in a good spot, being just a block from DTSS with a large garage located across the street, however it's not particularly visible to passing cars. I've noticed they've recently put up signage in every window in an attempt attract attention.

There's been times I've gone during lunch hour and there were no other customers the entire time I was there, so it wouldn't surprise me if business was too slow to sustain that location.

UPDATE: Per a commenter who spoke with the owner, TDF is not planning to close. I have no idea what this real estate listing is all about, then. There's no other restaurant at that address, and it's very similar to the one posted last year after Skew Works left.

- There's a new Pho place opening on Colesville next to the county liquor store.

Thanks to Mr. C for the photo.

- The Post has plenty of details on Urban Butcher, scheduled to open next month on Georgia Avenue.

- A woman killed herself by standing in front of an oncoming train at the Silver Spring station on Saturday.

- People are unhappy that the lone post office servicing a major commercial and residential area is located at the end of a crappy strip mall outside of downtown? You don't say.

- I was recently in a Silver Spring business (which shall remain nameless) and noticed it had an entire wall of counterfeit designer handbags for sale. The bags even still had price tags in Chinese. I guess Silver Spring is still wild west enough to openly commit IP infringement. (And it wasn't in City Place, either. I just take it for granted that this type of thing accounts for half the revenue in there.)

- And while no one would any reason to remember this, years ago I posted that I really liked the street lamps outside the First Baptist Church. Well, one is now in my garage. Thanks, FBC!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Can Brewpub Break the Streak at 1115 East-West?

Big news for those of you have been pining for an (actual?) brewpub in Silver Spring - Citizens Brewing Company has announced it will open at 1115 East-West Highway, occupied previously by Gallery, Babe's, and Fajita Coast. 

Beyond the location, details are limited at this time, but you can get updates on their progress via Facebook and Twitter. More to come.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Romano's Macaroni Grill, located at the top of DTSS since the development first opened, has closed without fanfare. I was never a fan, and based on the number of one star Yelp! reviews, neither were most people. I'm not sure I ever ate there when it wasn't an unfortunate choice for a work lunch. That's a big hole to fill, so hopefully Peterson has something new (and far better) lined up. Something along the lines of a Gordon Biersch would probably succeed in that spot.

- While it received a reprieve and was allowed to open for two nights this year, the Haunted Garden is not out of the (haunted) woods yet. There is a hearing scheduled for November 5th where a judge will rule on whether it will be permitted to operate in the future. I went on the first of the two nights it was open, and the line to get in stretched down the block. There's no way to say for sure if all the publicity drastically increased attendance, but I wouldn't be surprised. We had someone at our house the week prior giving us an estimate on some work, and he was asking if the Haunted Garden was nearby, as he had heard about it on the news (and this guy was from NoVa).

- DC is considering extending streetcar service to Silver Spring. This seems like a no-brainer to me, so hopefully MoCo will work with the District to make this happen ASAP.

- You'll soon be able to hit the hookah while enjoying Premier League matches at Zeke Hookah Lounge, coming soon to Thayer Avenue. Incredibly, hookahs have somehow remained legal in Montgomery County. Presumably this establishment is related to Zeke Sport Cafe, the hookah bar located just across the District line on Georgia Avenue.

Thanks to MG for the photo.

- I appreciate all the work the county has done of late related to pedestrian safety, but this sign recently installed near my house was ill-conceived. It's one thing if you construct a new median at a crosswalk like they have done in many places, but just sticking a sign in the middle of the street isn't the best idea. If I stand by and wait a few minutes, I will usually witness at least one car plow over it. Somehow it has remained standing after all this abuse, but it can't last much longer.

You should see the pedestrian.
- Not your traditional fall foliage, but the ivy Virginia Creeper on the side of this office building near Fenton and Silver Spring Avenue is a bit of natural abstract art.

Kaldi's - the Coffee Shop Silver Spring Has Been Waiting For

Since it has gotten to the point where I am being shamed by commenters into posting, I am finally starting to work through my backlog of planned posts. Here's the first...

Kaldi's Coffee Bar, the new café on Silver Spring Avenue, has been open a couple weeks now, and based on the brisk business it's been doing the handful of times I've stopped in, seems to quickly be building up a customer base. (It's been getting excellent reviews on Yelp! and elsewhere, not always the case with newly-opened businesses.)

The quality of coffee is excellent - they serve Counter Culture Coffee brewed through a cutting-edge "Steampunk" system. However, the highlight for me thus far has been their selection of pastries and other baked goods, made in-house daily. I'm encouraged to keep going back simply to sample more of the enticing items in their display case. I've certainly taken maximum advantage of the sample tray that sits on the front counter.

How many can you jam in your mouth before the barista turns around?
There's a good-sized seating area with decor that is perhaps a bit more unconventional than that of its local competition (in a good way). There seems to be a mix of opinions on the large wooden chairs, though they were comfortable enough for the short spans I've sat in them. Also, they have free Wi-Fi, which isn't always a given.

Photo from Kaldi's website

I'm not sure how their background music is chosen, but the last time I was there they were playing very dramatic orchestral music, which, thanks to SoundHoud, I was able to determine was from an action sequence in Pirates of the Caribbean. A bit odd for a coffee shop (or anywhere), but I'll chalk that unusual selection up to a flaw in a Pandora algorithm or something. There's also a TV, though I find this a bit distracting, as I lack the ability to look away.

Kaldi's is a welcome addition to Silver Spring, and despite not being in close proximity to DTSS, still seems to be doing a good business, boding well for its longevity. It certainly beats Starbucks, and while some may remain loyal to more established Silver Spring coffee shops, I highly recommend giving it a try.