Friday, May 10, 2013

Keep it in the Neighborhood

Our neighborhood has a lot to offer. Here are a list of reminders to keep it local. Next time you might want to drive across town to go pick up a tool at Home Depot or you want to hit up to a restaurant in Bethesda, don't forget about all the great spots in our backyard:

Strosniders on Wayne Avenue is more than just a hardware store. They sharpen knives and scissors. You can buy Redskins packing tape or pick up a Lodge Cast Iron. They hold classes such as last year’s “Canning” seminar that taught one how to can jams and jellies. I recently scooped up an Adirondack chair for $29.99. and that’s the cheapest I’ve seen. 

Ulta on Ellsworth does more than just sell beauty products. They style hair and do nails. You’ll have to make an appointment though; it’s usually pretty busy since prices are reasonable.

Plaza Artist Materials & Picture Framing on Georgia is more than just an art & framing shop. They sell really cool gifts and trinkets. I’ve scooped up a few things for my nieces such as a travel color set and a paper dolls book. They carry fabric markers if you want to get creative on your t-shirts. You can also pick up a Make Your Own Comic Book Set, and Kikkerland Jumping Bugs.

There’s an 
Electric Vehicle Charging Station on East West Highway. It’s available 24 hours. Wish there were more cars that used it.

You can rent art studio space at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. They offer 200 square foot studio space with free WiFi. Rent is $350 per month. Contact Jose, Executive Director.

You can drink a glass of merlot while you watch a movie watch at AFI Theatre. Wine and Beer are readily available at the cafe.

Mamma Lucia's sells Gelato! I always forget that since I only think pizza when I think of Mamma’s but they usually have about 8 flavors to choose from to include items such as creamsicle or strawberry cheesecake. 

There is now a Reddit Silver Spring online community. It's a great site to find out event info, news, random stories, pics, etc.

La Malinche on Colesville hosts a bottomless brunch on Saturdays and Sundays! This includes all you can drink and eat from a selection of tapas. It's often a little tougher to find brunch spots on Saturdays so spread the word!

Pacci's on Georgia has an awesome outdoor patio which is especially great for large parties. It’s often tough to find restaurants in DTSS that can cater to large groups let alone outdoors with good quality food. 

On The Purple Couch on Bonifant is an Annie Sloan chalk paint retailer. Her chalk paint is designed for furniture but can also be used on walls and paintings. So if you have a cool piece of furniture that could use some life and color – stop in and see Bahia, the shop’s owner who is always ready to help! 

The Society Lounge on Georgia has a nice spacious bar with lots of TVs to watch the games. You can also watch the games from many of their dining tables as well. I would recommend getting there early, as the bar can get crowded during big games. They also have a brunch buffet but only on Sundays for $25. For $10 more you get bottomless mimosas.

The Silver Spring meetup site has lots of activities and groups for locals. Some of the nearby groups I came across include The Silver Spring Writers Meet Up Group, The Metro Caribbean Expats Meetup Group, Meditation Museum, 30+ of Silver Spring, Thursday Night Silver Spring Badminton Meetup to name a few.

This is random, but Whole Foods in Silver Spring has an awesome selection of kids and baby toys. You can scoop up the coolest organic toys alongside flowers if you need to grab a quick gift. 

You can get a huge delicious bowl of Pho (picture here is actually the size small) for $6.99 at Lotus Cafe on Georgia.  It's tasty and legit. Great for a rainy day or to nurse a hangover. They also has a good size outdoor deck.

Sweet Menu Cover

Tropical Ice Cream Cafe on Georgia sells the most unique and bizarre flavors of ice cream. You can grab a scoop of Grapenut, Guinness, Apple Pie, Guava, Lychee, and Tamarind (seasonal). They also carry sorbet (no dairy) and sherbet. They make ice cream cakes but you have to pre-order them. They typically do “Flavor of the Month” so check in with them for flavors.

Woodside Methodist on Georgia welcomes all! 


  1. Would be nice if you had spotlighted only locally owned mom-and-pops instead of directing folks to local stores of chains. Yes indeed these chains can be important for employing locals and, in some cases, serving as anchors for other businesses, but I'd much rather send folks to some of the great ethnic markets in DTSS than to Whole Foods, for example.

    Maybe this could be the start of creating a list of locally-recommended spots. A few others to recommend:

    Addis Ababa - one of the best local Ethiopian places (and there are plenty to choose from)

    Moorenko's and Velatis - along with Tropical Ice Cream Cafe, a much better choice for sweet treats than the chains in the area. Also Fenton Cafe for crepes, and of course Kefa Cafe wins out over Starbucks or Panera.

    Woodside Deli - they've been there since 1947 and, although they've become a local chain, Silver Spring is the original.

    Kao Thai - Best Thai food in the area

    Silver Spring Books - yup we can still bemoan the loss of Border's (not to mention some other local independent bookstores which have left us in the past decade), but we've still got a great used book store. And if you want classic music, there's still Joe's Record Paradise and Roadhouse Oldies. Sheet music and instruments at Dale Music.

    Want to expand your horizons with a class? Pyramid is great, but there's also Willow Street Yoga (yoga), CREATE Arts Center (yes mostly kids, but also they have some adult evening workshops), Think Outside the Store (sewing and wearable art classes), Contradiction Dance (modern dance and Poi), Tayari Casel (martial arts), and much more.

    Heck you could even learn how to make documentaries at Docs In Progress (I admit I'm the Executive Director so I am not impartial, but I only mention it because you can see short films by our students about lots of local small businesses to check out more about Silver Spring at

    Thanks for starting this list though. Look forward to seeing what others recommend.

  2. Thanks for the reminder about Mamma's gelato. There's also gelato in Whole Foods by the coffee shop. My favorite gelato though is in Takoma - Dolci Gelati.

  3. Society Lounge has a great brunch. good mention. I'm afraid now that the word gets out we'll have a wait! Oh well - glad to see the local businesses thriving!