Monday, March 17, 2014

Snow Day News 'N Notes

- ARGH! I so wanted to get a good picture of this guy riding down Sligo Creek Parkway, but alas, my phone focused on my filthy windshield instead. Is this what hipsters are riding these days? Have standard vintage fixed-gear bikes become passé?

 
- The reports of Kao Thai's death were greatly exaggerated, as the restaurant is scheduled to re-open today after being closed for a month due to unspecified "emergency repairs".

UPDATE: 

Here's a photo of a letter the re-opened Kao Thai has been including in its menus. Not sure if this clears everything up, but it's their own explanation. Thanks to reader BG for sharing.



- Dale Music, a Silver Spring stalwart since 1950, will close on June 30th.

- The restoration of the Metro's penguin mural that began in 2006 has finally been completed. It will be restored to its place on the side of the Metro station once the transit center is completed. In other words, never.

- Doug Duncan says it's "time for answers" on the Transit Center. No doubt if he were still County Exec, that concrete would have been poured properly.
 
- And Scion finally has proper signage:

Thanks to reader O.D. for the pic!




62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Doug Duncan is a legend and savior of DTSS. Surely he would have built the transit center with his own two hands and Foulger Pratt would never have had the opportunity to give us this shoddy turd. Thanks a lot, Leggett! And Obama - surely this is partly his fault, too.

Anonymous said...

What about Sarbanes as seeing his name is on the damn building. (/s)

Anonymous said...

Every town needs a folly. If we could just decorate it with hanging gardens and make it a tourist attraction.

Anonymous said...

In case anyone out there hasn't seen it, Bethesda Magazine gave a positive review of Urban Butcher and of DTSS dining over Bethesda dining, in general. Calling UrBu the latest "destination dining spot in Silver Spring" on one hand and saying "it provides a stark contrast to the safe, predictable and often boring restaurants in the Bethesda area" on the other hand.

Obviously, we all already knew that, but it's surprising and awesome to see even Bethesda Magazine burn ho-hum Bethesda like that.

http://www.bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Magazine/March-April-2014/Urban-Butcher-Restaurant-Review/

Anonymous said...

Kao Thai is open and ready, I stopped in for take out today and all is well and they are ready to meet all our Thai food needs----- YEA!!!!!!Delicious as always.

Anonymous said...

Reposting this comment left on the last thread, since it is likely not many people are looking at it:



Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your interest in Kao Thai and your patience while we were closed. I'm happy to share with you that our restaurant has re-opened as of yesterday and we think you'll be pleased with the updates we've made. Kao Thai opened its doors nearly three and a half years ago, starting as a much smaller family restaurant. Thanks to the warm support we received from the community, we have had the opportunity to expand and grow our restaurant to twice its original size. While evaluating our business a month ago, we noticed we had strayed from our original idea of a family-run business and the values that go along with one. We strive to ensure that feeling for not only our customers, but our staff as well. When we found ourselves at a place where we felt we were neglecting both, we had to make adjustments. If you have any questions or concerns, please send us a note at kaothairestaurant@gmail.com. Thanks for sticking by us through this time of improvement, and we hope you'll come by and visit soon!

Sligo said...

That's pretty cryptic and definitely belies the "emergency repairs" explanation...

Anonymous said...

Actually, nothing from Kao Thai ever said anything about emergency repairs. One poster speculated that was what it was and other posters, me included, ran with it.

Anonymous said...

Well, how many people are craving Thai right now? I need some green curry and drunken noodles in my life ASAP!

Anonymous said...

I think the "emergency repairs" came from Kao's answering machine (if I'm correctly remembering what the other guy said). So were there interior "updates" made? I'm assuming yes, since why else would you put up paper, but haven't been by myself. Nor would I probably notice changes since I generally go to Charm Thai, anyways.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:19

You are right. It was on the vmail. I stand corrected. In any case, that is one very odd explanation by Kao.

Anonymous said...

the 'time for answers' link goes to www.blogger.com

Anonymous said...

NaiNai had a preview open house tonight. It'll be interesting to see how it does. There's not a ton of daytime pedestrian traffic on that side of the tracks and it seems like a place that'd do most of its business @ lunchtime.

Craig said...

RE: Kao Thai

So what the owner really means is that he got some financial assistance at the 11th hour to keep the restaurant going for a few more months. Maybe a loan from a bank or from friends in the Thai community. In the end...he has money to pay staff, order food & drink supplies, pay the rent and utilities for now. Lucky business owner.

Restaurants don't close their doors for an extended period because they want to re-evaluate their customer service experience or make minor cosmetic changes to the dining room. Stuff like this can be done during closing hours.

Kao Thai owners probably ran out of cash and they got a financial life-line. But I understand why owners can't advertise this message on the front door of a darkened restaurant or on an answering machine.

Gull said...

@Craig
If Kao Thai really had to wait for a loan to keep operating however then i'd hope they did spend the down time to go over their personnel, expenses and other operations, because every time I've been there they've been busy, and there's no reason they shouldn't be making enough money to cover overhead and have a small profit in the end.

@Anon NaiNai
I agree that area is kind of a dead zone most of the time, which worried me about scion, however it seems to be doing fairly well and has been at least half full every time I've gone. That Bump N Grind place is also opening in that building later this spring, so maybe there will be enough retail activity to attract some of the thousands that work in the four NOAA buildings to walk up the street. I also think if done well it could be very busy on weekends and even have at least some customers on weeknight evenings if they do rotating nightly specials. I'm cautiously optimistic on NaiNai - i'd love to hear what your first impressions are.

Anonymous said...

At the preview, did they indicate when NaiNai would be opening? I'd love to try it.

Anonymous said...

"So what the owner really means is that he got some financial assistance at the 11th hour to keep the restaurant going for a few more months. Maybe a loan from a bank or from friends in the Thai community. In the end...he has money to pay staff, order food & drink supplies, pay the rent and utilities for now. Lucky business owner."

Wow, that's not a completely baseless, libelous guess at all.... Can people move on with their lives? Guessing at why they're now open is even stupider than guessing at why they closed for a couple weeks. If someone's that curious then just ask Kao, like they say in their response.

Sligo said...

Check the updated post for an explanation of their closure from Kao Thai itself.

Anonymous said...

So renovation + reworked (more focused) menu. Makes sense.

In other restaurant renovation news: Society temporarily closed and redid their interior space a few months back and also added a rooftop deck - has anyone been to the rooftop yet? Is it open yet? Probably not. I'd think it'd be a great outdoor space to eat/drink, though.

Anonymous said...

For the people asking: NaiNai's says it's aiming to open next week. They once again were open tonight previewing/testing out their menu. There sign is up, too.
https://twitter.com/nainaisnoodles/status/447152093783404544/photo/1

Anonymous said...

Their*

Sidebar cocktails make typing interesting.

Justafed said...

Welcome back, Sligo!

Of course...two days after you post the update, the Purple Line Record of Decision comes through:
http://www.purplelinemd.com/en/about-the-project/studies-reports/record-of-decision

I would not be rash enough to predict that this ensures that the Purple Line actually happens on the re-re-revised schedule, but this is an important milestone, and the project really could have gotten hung up at this point.

The key question now is whether Congress has any desire or willingness to curb transportation project funding. Some of you may remember that it was the inability to pass the vastly cut Transportation Bill in the House last year that set the stage for the shutdown, but also the passage of budgets for FY2014 and FY2015 and bills actually resembling appropriations bills in FY2014. An Appropriations bill in FY2015 that actually includes the first $100 million for the Purple line would probably seal the deal.

Anonymous said...

I think the Purple Line is definitely a go at this point. There's just been too much time and money put into engineering/design/environmental reviews for it to be outright cancelled.

Worst case is it gets delayed a couple years either waiting for federal funding (very unlikely to be an issue), because the state decides to only fund one project at a time and picks Balt's redline (also unlikely), or because Chevy Chase sues (possible, but not too problematic, relative to funding issues). So long as there isn't another economic collapse or zombies attack, there's no major barriers left for the PL.

Anonymous said...

The Chevy Chase folks may delay things for a bit. I secretly wish the state would punish them for their insubordination by taking their station away, but still running the line right through town (SS to Bethesda, no CC Lakes stop). That'll learn for being affluent snobs.

Gull said...

The people in Chevy Chase would just declare a partial victory if you took away the Chevy Chase Lakes station. They don't want it, nor any of the redevelopment of Chevy Chase Lakes. The real punishment would be to up-zone further the area around the transit station, but that won't happen either since the new local master plan was just adopted.

It reminds me of the Baltimore light rail, where there's a steady row of stations from Hunt Valley to Timonium, then nothing for about 5 miles before the first station in the City at Mt Washington. The people in Towson and Ruxton wanted nothing to do with the light rail so it just speeds past them, and sadly is not routed anywhere near Towson/Towson U/Hospitals.

Anonymous said...

Seems Kao still has some things to workout. They were closed yesterday when I tried to go at about 6:30...

Anonymous said...

"Seems Kao still has some things to workout."

Same happened to me. I also called and no one answered and there was no voicemail. That's it for me, loyalty only goes so far when a business is run so incompetently, which is a shame because the food is good. Time to find a new Thai restaurant.

Anonymous said...

This article, http://www.gazette.net/article/20140325/NEWS/140329620/-1/court-montgomery-county-illegally-campaigned-on-police-referendum&template=gazette, mysteriously didn't make it into the paper version of the Silver Spring Gazette. Do read.

Anonymous said...

The Gazette still circulates a paper version? I just had a flashback to 1992.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you live in Silver Spring you might want to look on your front lawn since it's probably got a pile of newspapers dating back to 1992.

Peebee said...

So am I missing something important here, as in why we care so much about Kao Thai when there's Charm Thai? Or Nava Thai in Wheaton if you're straying from DTSS? I love Charm Thai: not only do they deliver but I get United Mileage Plus miles.

Gull said...

I think we care about Kao Thai for a couple of reasons:

a - it recently expanded into an abandoned store front next to the home location - so there was a lot of optomism about an expanding business

b - this restaurant is right on Colesville Road, where retailers seem to struggle some. Probably because the traffic volume and noise on Colesville is a deterrent to pedestrian activity, and other than the Fillmore's nighttime events, there's little draw to the street for pedestrians.

I've been to Kao a few times, and it was good, but i'm rooting for it for the above reasons probably more than anything else. I really wish we could win some sort of grant and get that entire block a new makeover with new awnings and signs. The landlord does not seem to put much investment into the building which perpetuates not wanting to walk over there.

Peebee said...

>>I think we care about Kao Thai for a couple of reasons:

Yes, that definitely makes sense, although I think things are definitely looking up. Between The Classics, La Malinche (went for brunch yesterday and every single chair was occupied at one point), Zensai replacing Stage (went to Zensai recently and it was very good and BurgerFi could kick Stage's ass any day of the week), and Axum (one of the better Ethiopian places and God knows we have several to choose from)...we're getting there, even if Bao Thai doesn't make it. I know Bollywood wasn't it but I'd like to see a good Indian place go in along there...Bombay Palace doesn't cut it.

Peebee said...

Or I will have died and gone to heaven if we get a decent soul food/Southern/barbecue joint in DTSS....just having the smoker running alone would improve the quality of life. Not an upscale one, but a joint.

Anonymous said...

There aren't any good BBQ southern joints in DC anyway so fat chance getting anything like that on Skid Row.

I did find the half hearted attempt to play up it's strengths amusing (like giving props to that random 489053095843985 ethiopian joint when Bete which is like 2-3 blocks over kicks it's ass).


Skid Row has alway been a failure other than the Classics (who knows how long that will last without Ray's name on on it) and Fillmore (and the jury is still out on that one long term)

Also: Stage was better than Burger Fi by a mile and half when they first opened up (indeed for the first year) because it was the owner of Paccis and he puts out quality food. Near the end when he sold it to someone else the quality went to hell. Burger Fi is the definition of average...five guys blows it out of the water. So does Quarry House Tavern (and their burgers are good but nothing amazing).

Anonymous said...

To each his own. I hate Five Guys and would much rather BurgerFi. But, then again, you sound like you know lots of stuff.

Anonymous said...

"But, then again, you sound like you know lots of stuff."

Lol.

PeeBee, you just invented like 4 new restaurants. Was that autocorrect?

I agree with Gull that Skid Row's main remaining issues are aesthetic, along with the awful gash that is 29. There are a couple hould-out worthless storefronts (like one appears to be a costume dress-up shop or something...anti-kudos to the owner who refuses to sell that storefront to someone who could do waaaaay more with the space), but mostly the block is a series of good or excellent restaurants to support the adjacent AFI/Roundhouse Theater/Fillmore nightlife crowd. On paper, it's a premiere block of the region, but in real life it's still a poor pedestrian experience.

Anonymous said...

Gull, we were talking about this over on SS Independent a couple weeks back so I thought you might find it interesting - looks like the developer/owner of 8230 GA (current Pyramid site) is trying to renovate the building instead of either selling off to Wash Prop or redeveloping the parcel himself.

It seems like such a massive wasted opportunity to keep the front parking lot as-is. Such a pedestrian buzz kill. And if he thinks he can get anywhere near $45/sqft for the location you'd think he'd be looking to build up and out. It doesn't make any sense to me; maybe he's just doing his due-diligence and will sell once no one bites at $45.

http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/18613682/8230-Georgia-Avenue-Silver-Spring-MD/

Gull said...

@Anon 9:39pm

owners of smaller properties like the site in question often don't think in the same realm as we do, especially because they're often not living in the community and don't care that it's not attractive or walkable. In a market where having dedicated out front parking is becoming scarce it's probably a real attractant to certain types of retailers and may yield a lot of money in the short term. It never amazes me how many people I know are parking garage averse and still want to park in a parking lot right in front of where they are about to patronize.

My future concern is the property alone is not really big enough to do their own highrise development, it would need to be combined with the rest of the properties on that block to do anything. Between the required public use space and the engineering of building vertical on a small space surrounded by buildings, it's probably a now or never deal, and we may have that parking lot for a long time into the future. Same with all these gas stations such as the exxon at Colesville and E/W or the Gulf station at Colesville and Georgia. They are very unlikely to ever become anything because they're just too small on their own. The Shell station in Bethesda at Old Georgetown and Woodmont is turning into a 1 story bank building because going vertical is not practical. Maybe only having a 2-3 story building where Pyramid is now is not a terrible thing for breaking up the mass and allowing the taller buildings to stand out - I just wish it were street oriented.

I also think the demand for more approved density in the Ripley district or anywhere in DT silver spring is cooling off a bit. There was an article in the Post the other day about there are 39,122 apartments in the pipeline in the DC area right now with 10,671 units that opened in 2013 and 18,000 are to deliver in 2014 - and leasing companies are finding it harder and harder to fill the units and are offering tons of incentives. Given the recent delivery of the Heritage, Galaxy, Citron, Premier, 1155 Ripley the soon to deliver Fenwick Station,under construction 814 Thayer, and approved but not started plans for The Church site at Fenton and Wayne, The Adele, Studio Plaza,Library residential, the approved but stalled Falklands and Silver Spring Park, the County talks over Progress Place, Washington Co's interest in the north half of Pyramid's block, and the Preliminary but not Final approved Blairs master plan - In 10 years not all of these projects will even be built/fully occupied most likely so there's little need to add yet another project to the list.

Peebee said...

Sorry, Gull, but I always thought Stage sucked. Between the attitude, the dry and overpriced burgers, and the lack of a liquor license, I would have been more likely to get a burger from McDonald's or Burger King (much less Five Guys or Fuddruckers) than pay $10 for a burger with such a side of attitude (and yes, that's when Pacci's dude was in charge...I gave it the benefit of the doubt the first couple of times for that very reason). I've been to BurgerFi something like 5 times already and every time it's been a good experience: helpful and friendly staff, the ability to have beer or wine to wash it down, those awesome concrete things and a CocaCola Freestyle machine, plus a damn fine burger. Axum isn't the best Ethiopian in the city, but I went there for a friend's birthday and I thought it was pretty good. YMMV, but it doesn't suck either, and you don't really prove anything with your own side of condescension.

@Anon 5:15PM....don't understand your point: I'm not inventing anything. You've got the Classics under new ownership (and John Turturro and Dave Grohl eating there so far this year), you've got La Malinche which is coming into its stride: I brought a large group there from all parts of the city this weekend (everyone was very impressed with the food, value and service) and every single seat in the restaurant was filled at one point for their AYCE brunch, you've got the new noodle and sushi joint Zensai, which I've only been to once but thought was very good and as mentioned above, much better than Stage. And you've got School of Rock which is absolutely thriving and bringing in traffic. So starting at the south end anyway, things are very much looking up for "Skid Row."

Like Georgia south of Wayne to the DC line, there's still work to do but a number of recent improvements along the way. I suppose you have to have some T-Mobile stores and beauty parlors too, but the restaurant situation looks much better than it did a couple years ago pre-Fillmore.

Gull said...

Peebee - I never commented on Stage Burger (or any of the restaurants in that row for that matter), think you've got my comments confused with someone else's that came in near mine. And Peebee to attempt to clarify what I think the slightly obnoxious comment from the annon. was about RE: you've made up new restaurants - in your rush to type your comments the first time around lead to a lot of typo's in restaurant names and I am for the benefit of doubt going to suggest the annon. was simply trying to make a joke of that, rather than suggest those restaurants don't exist.

lilk said...

@Peebee Tuesday, April 01, 2014 1:49:00 PM

John Turturro and Dave Grohl ate at The Classis bc it is a few paces from the Fillmore where they were playing...not because they were told they had to eat there.

lil said...

How much did Carol get for the Dale Music building? She said that the $ from the sale of the building is why she is retiring, so was teh store struggling in sales ?

Sligo, 'time for answers' link goes to www.blogger.com.

Peebee said...

The Classics. La Malinche. Zensai. Axum. BurgerFi. One is wrong (Axum is near where I work, while Abol is the one on Colesville). All the rest are spelled correctly, not autocorrected.

But my apologies to you, Gull...it was definitely Anon 2:40.

@Lilk, John Turturro was appearing at the Silver, not the Fillmore, and Grohl wasn't playing at the Fillmore, but just catching a show there.

I dunno, I eat at the Classics pretty frequently (once a month or so) and I've had plenty of Capital Grille, Ruth's Chris, and Morton's along the way, and I would pick The Classics any night of the week. In my opinion, breaking free of Ray's has only improved it, if only because it's improved the morale at the bar, while everything pretty much stays the same in terms of the menu and the quality.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I was just making a joke, Peebee. Abol you called Axum, Bombay Gaylord you called Bombay Palace and Kao you called Bao.

For anyone curious (or thrown off by the comments above about Kao being closed on Sunday), Kao is currently open. I don't know if Kao is usually closed on Sundays now or if it was just that one day.

Anonymous said...

Gull, I'm guessing the issue between MoCo/Pyramid is the county was under the impression the building was going to be demoed, but now the new owner is refusing to play ball with whatever binding or nonbinding agreement was in place. The public right of way is severely undersized as-is with the street unable to accommodate turning buses and the sidewalk appearing to be roughly two feet wide on UrBu's side and 3 feet on the Pyramid side. And the Ripley frontage is the best part of the building, unfortunately, with the GA frontage obviously just being asphalt and dumpster access. What a crappy situation if we're stuck with the current site plan for another generation.

Gull said...

PeeBee - no harm no foul :)

Anon 8:34 - I doubt the county would do this because they assume total redevelopment is likely, but they can always use their condemnation abilities to fix the alignment of the streets out there at the cost of many millions of dollars. Will buses use the top level of the transit center or is that designed for taxi's and kiss and ride movements? (I've never looked into how the center will operate). I know most of the bus routes I recognize seem to be directed to the ground floor.

Until the Purple Line gets going the buses can always use Bonifant Street but that won't be an option much longer. Maybe they'll be directed down Dixon to Ripley which will all be built to full width. I also can't tell if the actual travel lane widths would be much bigger from an expanded Ripley Street, as the improved sections are lined with parking and feel wider because of the wide sidewalks.

To be honest, proper completion of the streetscape on Ripley would require demolition of both Urban Butcher and the Pyramid site. What is much more likely to get built soon is Silver Spring avenue extended west, to a Dixon Avenue extended south, as part of Progress Place relocation.

Peebee said...

@Anon 8:22

OK, now I get it. Thought you were talking about the 4 places on Colesville being wrong. I will admit to being panda-obsessed, so I think I just type Bao automatically....there's no excuse for Bombay Gaylord, though. Except that my legs automatically take me downstairs when I near that corner....

Anonymous said...

I have heard a number of very odd stories about the behavior of one of the new owners of The Classics. Hostile, strange behavior towards customers. If you look on Yelp, you will see something of a pattern.

Personally I think BurgerFi is mediocre although I love the concept. If I want a great, fast burger I head to Elevation Burger in Wheaton.

Also I am pretty sure Kao Thai was listed in the Post as temporarily closed by the health department.

Anonymous said...

http://restaurantalert.wusa9.com/montgomery/inspection/215841

I found this from WUSA. Kao wasn't in compliance with two categories: Toxic Substances and Pesticides and Cold Holding Temperature.

I have no idea how serious both of those are, but it seems to have been fixed. I can't find the Washington Post piece.

Anonymous said...

That was from 3 days ago though. Couldn't have been the reason for the closure.

Anonymous said...

"I have heard a number of very odd stories about the behavior of one of the new owners of The Classics. Hostile, strange behavior towards customers. If you look on Yelp, you will see something of a pattern."

It's the guy with the ponytail. Horrible attitude. He is a long time bartender and is now one of the people who own it. I stopped going to Rays exactly because of him. Not going to stop in for a drink and burger and have to talk to some jackass. Rather spend my time and money elsewhere, which is a shame because the food is good.

Anonymous said...

"That was from 3 days ago though. Couldn't have been the reason for the closure."

It says it was last inspected February 8.... but maybe not. It's the only one I can find.

Anonymous said...

I'm seeing inspection date of March 31, 2014. I do see a February 8 inspection...in 2013.

Anonymous said...

Pete's is taking over Caribou Coffee on East West Highway. They are giving away free coffee every day from 8:00-10:00 am until May 5th. It's some really good coffee to.

Gray said...

I went to Scion last night, and the host said that NaiNai's is opening April 8th.

Anonymous said...

Kind of random, but looks like that seedy Comfort Inn on Georgia Ave is going to become a Holiday Inn Express in October.

http://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/silver-springs/cgsss/hoteldetail

Too bad the hotel's page is littered with references to "Silver Springs" (including in the URL).

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/moco-metro-remain-split-over-necessity-for-girder-and-beam-work-on-transit-center/2014/04/08/9bd280cc-bf59-11e3-b195-dd0c1174052c_story.html?hpid=z4


And yet again...

Anonymous said...

More of our taxpayer about to be spent - http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/maryland-news/montgomery-to-appeal-ruling-it-violated-law-in-campaign-to-roll-back-police-union-rights/2014/04/10/757c0698-c0e2-11e3-bcec-b71ee10e9bc3_story.html

Anonymous said...

The smarmy idiots who commented on this page who for months said the transit center was all the contracting companies fault are ignoring this now clear evidence that Montgomery county government is the clear culprit here with mismanagement at every turn

Anonymous said...

The smarmy idiots who commented on this page who for months said the transit center was all the contracting companies fault

Wow. Strawman much? Run along and play on your Bethesda blog.

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