Welcome to The Transition

No, I’m not dead. Or even wounded. Just redirecting my priorities to things other than long-form blogging. I’ve missed this, though. I really have. So in an effort to continue to talk about things in the ‘hood, perpetuate snark, and make sure people know when things happen, a new format for Thayer Avenue has been launched.

Welcome to the ThayerAvenue Tubmlr blog.

I’ll leave this here for ongoing reference, but Tumblr, as you will quickly see, allows for short posts from anywhere without the pressure to fill space in this longer format. I’ve enjoyed this and can’t thank the community enough for watching, reading, commenting, and participating. I hope you’ll make the switch with me, because I know a lot of you are walking around with smartphone stuck to your hands. Plus there are hundreds of other tumblr accounts worth watching. Sign up. Follow them. Follow me. We’ll have a lot of fun. I promise.

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The Six Flags of Zombies

It’s what the Silver Spring Transit Center center could be. A zombie theme park. At least, with its state currently in limbo, that’s what Washington Post’s John Kelly sees in the transit center. Huge potential, I tell you. The transit (or “transnot”) center could be the final place where we all either party down or lop off heads. Or maybe both.

The undead have never been hotter. Zombies are everywhere: in books, movies, TV shows, Congress. . . . Silver Spring has a proud history when it comes to zombies. It’s the setting for the annual Zombie Walk, when thousands of ghouls walk stiffly through the streets after catching a horror movie at the AFI. With the right additions — some dry ice, funky lighting and animatronic figures — the transnot center could be the Six Flags of zombies.

I can see the plans now. Almost like a semi-outdoor zombie rave.

Plus just a two block walk up the hill for a movie? Grr. Arrg.

John has other ideas, too, of course. Read the whole story.
Photo courtesy of

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Yes, Stage Burger is opening this week

I dropped by yesterday to see the status of The Stage Burger Lounge, and they have people working non-stop to make it happen. Spiro and his crew were kind enough to take me around things in progress. First of all, we have an official menu (El Scorcho FTW):

Download a PDF version

The front windows, which weren’t even really used by Sabroso, will have bars all the way across with stools so passersby can watch condiments drop down your elbows.

The interior probably already looks vastly different than this when I saw it last night. They were installing the grill(s) when I was there, too.

When I was there, the logo on the wall was only partly finished.

Later last night, @StageBurger posted an update. In addition to this, the walls will be adorned with a bunch of old albums, among other things. Here they await their debut. (“Dad. what are those things on the wall?”)

Ahh, to be part of the crew working for Spiro.

And that’s not all.

The *Actual* Lounge

Underneath everything you’ve seen here is a massive expanse of a basement. Huge. I can’t post photos, but I’ve seen it and can tell you it has massive potential. Spiro said he is looking for a summer opening of that part of the place, making it another great place (among many) for a pre-Fillmore-show hang.

At any rate, there you have it. Excited about a good burger place like this. Anticipated opening is Thursday evening, and I’ll tweet any updates (@ThayerAvenue) as they come in.

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I need a burger – STAT!

By Wednesday, specifically. At least that’s what Spiro Gioldasis and Luis Flores are planning to open The Stage Burger Lounge (8624 Colesville Road, formerly Sabroso). The latter is the owner and former sous chef at Mrs. K’s Toll House, and the former runs the always tasty Pacci’s Pizzeria and Pacci’s Trattoria. According to the Washington Post GOG Blog:

The burgers at the 85-seat Stage Burger won’t all be beef-centered. Flores plans to offer bison, turkey and a filling for vegans as well as a pulled pork sandwich. The burgers will be priced between $4.35 for a kid-size sandwich and $9.85 for a bison burger loaded with mushrooms, brie and truffle oil. The sides will include hush puppies using a recipe from Gioldasis’s father, who ran a restaurant,Dairy Dream, in Bennettsville, S.C., throughout the 1970s.

Luckily, this will space out my burger rationing from Quarry House’s Monday night half-priced burger night. And the onion rings and shakes will more than make up for the lack of tater tots. Keep an eye out on Wednesday and let me know if the dream comes true.

See the Post post for more details.

UPDATE: The web site for the restaurant is live, as is their Facebook page.

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“Piratz” now “Corporate”: Hipsters Make T-shirts

Socked with irony, of course. I think that’s the only way this whole thing can end: with people wearing t-shirts to highlight said irony. Here are a few photos I snapped a short time ago from the new “Corporate Bar & Grill” (once Piratz Tavern). No one going inside quite when I was there.

Who is this anonymous, silhouetted man?:

Some of the people below asked me to move away because they were shooting a show inside. I point no fingers. I may have disrupted things:

The line wrapped around the front and down Bonifant – something I’ve NEVER seen when it was Piratz. But, you know, it’s new and hip and people are scrambling to get in and on camera:

The producers nonchalantly had out official-looking numbers to the growing number of people in line. “Oh – and could you sign this release for me?”:

Finally, a couple of shots from over the fence onto the back patio:

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Do Not Drink and Bicycle

This is the scene just moments ago on Thayer Avenue.

According to personnel on the scene, someone was doing some drunk bicycle riding down Thayer and got clipped by the 20 bus to Hillandale. From what we would tell, the injuries weren’t critical, as trucks are on their way out of the area now.

Stuff like this always reminds me of Matt Groening’s old comic, “Life In Hell”:

Hope he’s okay. We never got a gender ID, but we can assume it was some idiot dude, yes?

You may now return to your regularly-scheduled store/restaurant/bar opening/closing/relocation.

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Mr. Leggett, Tear Down Those Bleachers! (or don’t)

The local listservs went abuzz yesterday when Russell Arrington of the Parks Department let it be known he wanted to tear down the bleachers at Bullis Park. Here they are, in all their glory:

The reasoning was based on the soil erosion issue on that side of the park, saying they will regrade over time. I, for one, thought all the soil stayed there, seeing as the place turns into a swimming pool when the rains decide to come in earnest.

When asked what the community thought and why, all hell broke loose, as evidenced by the digest that came out for the day.

BTW – the water was out in the area, too.

Responses seemed to narrowly favor the “tear it down” camp for reasons that included: broken glass and condoms littering the steps in the morning; people using it as a bathroom during soccer fútbol matches; and what would appear to be a huge rat colony that is currently skirting all types of zoning laws in their own metropolis underneath the entire structure.

In the “pro-bleacher” category: people do actually use them – frequently – as actual bleachers. Plus, what the hell are you gonna do when hundreds of rats get displaced from their homes? Local civic groups won’t abide any more development in the area (as seen by the other subjects in the digest). I, for one, think they should stay. Who has the money for projects like this anyway? Feel free to make your opinion known to Mr. Arrington of the M-NCPPC. Or maybe we can trap all the rats and drop them off in Bethesda. They’d love that, yes?

Speaking of antagonizing…
My post on wanting a butcher shop in Silver Spring seemed to have struck a nerve with someone:

I normally wouldn’t approve this sort of comment, but I was amused and sad at the same time. Amused that someone would take the time to be so thoughtful, and sad that the vegan/vegetarian movement – which I respect and cook for (in terms of friends coming over with these dietary preferences) – has to be marred by knee-jerk reactions like these. Oh well. Feel free to discuss.

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Photo Essay: DTSS Toy Store

A good friend of mine from college who now lives in Thailand maintains a series of photo albums on his Facebook page highlighting products he comes across with hilarious English translations. On a recent trip to the toy store in Downtown Silver Spring, I came across some good ones myself. This was a quick trip, so if you find any more, feel free to submit.

I don’t think my daughter really knows what an ironing board is, as it rarely makes an appearance at my house. Luckily, design for the children are all fangle.

I appreciate fine tailoring as much as the next person, but I’d be hard-pressed to say it gives me infinite pleasure.

“Hustling Dust” would be a great band name.

I know this is the outlier of the bunch, but I had to include it. Ken’s come a long way since his early days, especially given the hair gel and capri pants. Robot Chicken really needs to add this to a future episode.

I don’t know how long our venerable toy store will maintain operations, but 90% of the stuff in there can be filed in the “detritus” section. Once it closes down, we should have a 24-hour rave in the space before a new tenant moves in. Enjoy it while it lasts!

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Fire! And: a return

In a quick hit on relevant, up-to-date news, Sushi Jin had a fire last night that pretty much decimated their food supply, closed them down temporarily, and even hit some local businesses with carryover outages. Willow Street Yoga announced that their Silver Spring studio would be closed tonight due to some clean up and repair because of the fire.

Courtesy of The Google – Sushi Jin in less-fiery times.

Silver Spring Patch reports that no one was injured and the cause of the fire is still under investigation. When I first heard there was a fire on the block, I assumed that it was one of two things: (A) Someone set American Apparel on fire; or (2) Quiznos got out of hand with the toasted sub thing. Neither of those have turned out to be true.

As you may have noticed…
The holiday season took its toll on putting much time into the blog. Hoping to get things fired back up with more news from Silver Spring that’s fit to print. For Thayer Avenue residents, that includes talking about gems like this:

This makes sense, as our beloved Safeway provides a respite for homeless people, poorly-stocked shelves, and mediocre store-brand dairy products. Discuss amongst yourselves.

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NEEDED: A Good Butcher Shop

I know we have plenty of grocery stores with good meat counters. Snyder’s is one of the best, and it’s more affordable than Whole Foods (though WF has some good stuff of their own). But that’s just not cutting it any more. I want a guy who I can always rely on to be behind the counter. Someone who knows me by name and always has my favorite stuff behind the counter. Someone who I can call for half a pig and pick it up the next day. Someone who will take these charts and bring it down to a level I can easily understand and afford.

In short, I want a real butcher. A one-stop shop that has meat. And only meat. As much as I’m into barbecue, I’d fire up the grill even more if I had a resource like this. And if I could easily get my hands on a whole pig, I would buy one of these in a heartbeat. I would think an area this big – with such diverse, meat-eating cultures – would have enough people to support a dedicated butcher shop, and I’m sort of shocked we don’t have one.

If I’m missing something, please do tell. And while I know there are good halal and kosher butchers around, that’s not what I’m talking about (i.e., PORK). If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would quit my job and take an apprenticeship at a butcher in New York or something and do it myself. If there are any aspiring butchers out there thinking about taking the plunge, I can gather a small horde of carnivores to support you.

In other news…
Unfortunately it’s in Germantown, but it looks like Montgomery County is finally on tap to get a Wegmans grocery store. And while I continue to push for a Harris Teeter in the (will-it-ever-happen) Falkland Chase Development, a Wegmans a little closer to home would surpass (and perhaps eliminate) the Giant. And the crappy Thayer Avenue Safeway.

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