The Dirt: March 2015

A 2-Alarm fire last night broke out at Quarry House, Bombay Gaylord and Mandarin. The fire occurred around 4AM on the morning and caused over $750,000 worth of damage. Over one hundred firefighters responded, one of which sustained a small injury. The fire is suspected to have been electrical in nature. Firefighters broke down a door in Kefa Cafe to gain entry to the other buildings, but is otherwise undamaged by the fire.

All Set Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Dr. Jennifer Gerres, DPM

All Set Restaurant (8630 Fenton Street) – With the promise of activating the other side of Colesville beyond the Fillmore, All Set restaurant looks to be on the verge of opening. Brought to you by Silver Spring native Jennifer Meltzer and Chef Edward Reavis, All Set is only the latest is new offerings opening in Silver Spring. The city has already had a hugely diverse offering in terms of restaurants, especially in the Fenton Village neighborhood, but the latest wave of new restaurants are a welcome addition. At All Set, expect a New England inspired menu as well as an open raw bar and other contemporary takes on seafood classics. The restaurant promises to provide seasonal offerings, as well as use locally grown produce.

 

 

Hoa Bin Vietnamese Silver SpringHoa Binh 2 Vietnamese Pho & Soup (930 Wayne Ave) – What has been a seemingly cursed location at the bottom of the Crescent has a new upcoming tenant. Skew Works and Taco Districto Federal were both
residents at the location at the base of The Crescent Condominiums, but unfortunately, both were not able to last. Hopefully with the new library almost completed, foot traffic will improve and Hoa Bin will have better luck than the last two tenants. This brings yet another Vietnamese restaurant to the area to add to Lotus Cafe, Pho Tan Vinh, and Pho Hiep Hoa.

 

 

Mod Pizza (909 Ellsworth Drive) – A Seattle pizza chain, Mod Pizza, is scheduled to open in City Place Mall in May. The City Place (Ellsworth Place) location is just the first of their infiltration in the DC area, with several others in the works.

Mix Bar & Grill Silver SpringMix Bar & Grill – Mix Bar & Grill has added an outdoor sign and looks to be on the verge of opening. The long bar promises plenty of boozing in front of the  TV screens lining the back. Georgia Avenue in Fenton Village has been the primary driver of new restaurant options in Silver Spring, adding some contemporary options to the bevy of restaurants that have been staples of the neighborhood.

 

 

 

Kefa Cafe (963 Bonifant St) – Sound the horns! Kefa Cafe has secured their location in the soon-completed Silver Spring library. What many consider to be the soul of Silver Spring will feature a kiosk with a dozen or so seats in the library. Apparently there has been an outpouring of support for the cafe, and due to so many offers, Lene and Abeba have started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise the build out costs for the new location. Donate today!

Sligo Cafe Silver SpringSligo Cafe (923 Sligo Ave) – After several years of bating us with a restaurant, Sligo Cafe has finally opened bringing more food to Sligo Avenue (following the recent addition of Ethio Express Grill). Check out their creative comfort food, plus great selection of beers and cocktails from JP having come off her stint at Sidebar down the street.

 

 

 

Urban Butcher (8226 Georgia Avenue) – If you haven’t noticed the insane fan fare, Urban Butcher has opened back up. A few changes have taken place, including installation of some permanent tables outside, and replacement of the front couches with standard tables. The food and service, however, remain consistent with their previous incarnation.

Residences on Bonifant Silver SpringResidences on Bonifant (929 Bonifant Street) – The Residences on Bonifant are under construction and zooming to completion. Expect 149 units adjacent to the new Silver Spring library, four ground floor retail spaces, and yet another construction project to be completed before the Silver Spring Transit Center.

 

 

 

Golf Ultra Lounge (8123 Georgia Ave)- Gebeta closed a few months ago to be replaced by Golf Ultra Lounge. Redecorating has yielded some bold white (p?)leather couches that live up to the name Ultra Lounge. Their menu offers  wide variety of African fare, and they cater to an evening/late night crowd with weekly and weekend music from Africa, the Caribbean and American Rap. Alas, problems with permitting have shut them down. It’s unclear whether the closing is temporary or not.

Radio Shack Silver SpringRadio Shack (8213 Georgia Ave) – Amidst their bankruptcy filing, the Silver Spring location for RadioShack is closing. In closing up, they’re offering some pretty amazing discounts, up to 70%, in order to liquidate their inventory. Apparently that was not enough, as the front glass door was shattered and replaced with a wooden board.

 

 

 

Tropical Ice Cream (9324 Georgia Ave) – One of the oldest ice cream locations in Silver Spring is closing up shop. Tropical Ice Cream, which was preceded by York Castle, is closing their doors with no notice as to the reason. Tropical Ice Cream had some unconventional and exciting flavors like soursop and mango. A sign on their front door mentions several locations where you can still find their flavors, including: Yummy in My Tummy, Azucar Restaurant Bar & Grill, Red Apple Farmer’s Market, and El Rancho Bakery.

United Market Silver SpringUnited Market (946 Wayne Ave) – Headliners on Wayne ave. has closed. An international market, United Market is under construction inside, but we have no date for opening. This looks to be an additional small market to the long list of markets to which Silver Spring is home. You can expect uncommon ingredients that you won’t find at your local Giant, Safeway and Whole Foods.

 

 

Silver Spring Police Station (801 Sligo Ave.) – Artspace has been chosen to renovate the old Silver Spring Police Station into an artists’ center featuring work and living space. The police station moved to 1002 Milestone Drive last May. Press Release

Moby Dick (Soon to be 825 Ellsworth Dr D1-A)-  Moby Dick is moving locations just to the other side of Fenton Street in the current Chik-Fil-A location. Now you can get their delicious kabobs and other items while rockin out to the fine sounds of the Hare Krishnas that are typically stations there on Saturday mornings. **Correction 3/20** – Moby Dick is not replacing Chik-Fil-A, but will instead be moving to somewhere in that area. We will update when we have a clear location.

McGinty’s – Perhaps you’ve seen the small dining room upstairs at McGinty’s. I’ve personally sat there only once in maybe hundreds of times I’ve been to McGinty’s. A notice on their door indicates that as of April 8, the dining room is going to become The Room, a chef-driven concept restaurant offering seasonal ingredients and craft cocktails.

Gusto Italian Grill (8512 Fenton St) – Gusto Italian Grill is planning to take the old Cakelove (and before the Fractured Prune) location. A New Jersey based company, this is the second local location we know of, following on a planned location in Bethesda.

Pete Tan
A DC Native, people say I'm rude and abrasive; I say I'm passionate. I've been working in marketing since 2005. My brothers and I paid Geppi's rent through the 80s and 90s. My relief at an indoor wavepool never materializing in Silver Spring is balanced by my disappointment that City Place has dozens of shuttered storefronts. I love what you've done with your hair.

12 COMMENTS
  • Bob
    Reply

    I believe Moby Dick’s sign says something like “moving up the street from Chik-fil-A in 2016” which I’ve been interpreting as moving along Fenton, near (but not in) Chick-fil-A’s space. I’ve been hoping they’re taking the old Quiznos storefront. Guess we’ll see!

    That’s interesting about Gusto Italian Grill; haven’t heard anything about it. Looks like they’re opening their two very first locations, nearly concurrently, in extremely high PPSQFT spots. I hope the owner has really deep pockets and doesn’t fold halfway through building out the spaces.

    1. Pete Tan
      Reply

      Thanks, as always, Bob. We’ll look into Moby Dick’s and see if we can get a better idea of where they’re moving. It would be surprising for Chik-Fil-A to move considering how much business it seems they get.

  • Bob
    Reply

    I’m also hoping the new Fenton St. businesses under construction turn out well. Urban Winery’s space is looking good. The ethiopian sports bar that’s supposedly going in next to it hasn’t seen any movement, as far as I know.

    The old Bell Flowers building is being completely renovated and, if memory serves from glancing at the permits, the top floors are being converting to residential and the ground floor has a market going in. It seems like an odd space for a market, but who knows. Maybe it’ll end up being different from what I’m picturing in my mind. Also, something to keep an eye on, it looks like the Thai Market might be closing or at least switching locations. Unfortunately, I’d guess closing…would be a sad loss.
    http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/19097822/908-Thayer-Ave-Silver-Spring-MD/

  • Mike
    Reply

    I interpreted the Moby Dick sign the same as Bob. I assumed they’re either going into the Quizno space or possibly where Pacers was. Losing Thai Market would suck. I eat there all the time.

  • Jen Rogers
    Reply

    The upstairs dining room in McGinty’s is the only place I’ve ever eaten at McGinty’s. Much better if you want a nice meal without the noise of a bar. Also, if you are a wheelchair user, the downstairs area is pretty much useless. My first time at McGinty’s a host took me through the restaurant, out the back, onto a loading dock and cargo elevator and through the employee locker-room to get upstairs to the only dining table available. Apparently had no clue that the upstairs bar and dining area could be accessed through the mall.

  • Lori
    Reply

    When I was in Jamaica in February, I met someone who claimed to be a friend of the owner of Tropical ice cream. She said that the owner had passed, which explains the closing.

  • Anne
    Reply

    Pete – thanks for all of the great updates!

    1. Pete Tan
      Reply

      Thanks for the kind words, Anne!

  • Woodsider
    Reply

    Hoa Binh 2 Vietnamese Pho & Soup (930 Wayne Ave)

    The only way this restaurant (or any other use) will succeed is if The Crescent renovates the very unwelcoming plaza space between the building and Wayne Avenue. The oversize concave arbor visually compresses the space and the clutter of various planters and odd shaped trees combine to make an unwelcome environment. An open piazza with a central feature (fountain?) and perimeter trees would encourage much more foot traffic and visibility.

    1. Pete Tan
      Reply

      That’s an interesting thought, Woodsider. What do you think about the upcoming library offering additional foot traffic to the area?

  • Woodsider
    Reply

    The increase in foot traffic to the Library along that specific part of Wayne Ave will be minimal and not perceptible (there are three other streets leading to the library). What will have a noticeable impact is when the many proposed residential buildings are completed in DTSS, like those to replace the First Baptist Church, the high-rise behind the Solaire and the high-rise on Georgia at the former 1st Baptist Church site. Of course, if the Purple Line is ever built it would put thousands of pedestrians daily right at the library. If the Crescent Plaza were an inviting public space, the restaurant wouldn’t need all this extra foot traffic as the plaza itself could be a destination.

    1. Pete Tan
      Reply

      Interesting ideas. Are you an urban planner? Would you be interested in writing a longer article on this?

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