Friday, December 4, 2009

jackie's hires new chef; teens say they're not welcome in downtown silver spring


I'd promised to have the latest on the Wheaton CBD revitalization, but we'll let that frothy comment thread from yesterday's post simmer while turning back to the rest of East County - namely, two big things that happened today:

- So long as we're talking about local businesses that may or may not exist in Downtown Silver Spring, Jackie's Restaurant - located at Georgia and Sligo avenues - has hired chef Frank Morales, a veteran of D.C. restaurants the Oval Room, Zola and Rustico. From their press release:
At Jackie’s, Chef Morales will bring his attention to seasonality, his focus upon regionality and contemporary farming issues. “The mid-Atlantic region is rich in diversity and culture, from the farmers to the people, and food should reflect that,” says Morales.

Chef Morales will introduce a baking program that will include his artisan beer breads and pastries, which will be showcased in an adjacent cafĂ© space and the nearby Quarry House Tavern, also owned by the company. These new programs and refocus will support the group’s future expansion plans in Silver Spring and the metropolitan D.C. area.
That's regionally significant food, made in a locally-owned restaurant by a chef who lives right here in East County (or, more specifically, Hillandale). Doesn't sound like Downtown Silver Spring is a "chain-filled blandburb" to me.

- Meanwhile, students at Blair High School - when they aren't being locked out of bathrooms or barred from using certain hallways - lament that kids aren't going to Downtown Silver Spring anymore. "With the exception of a few loyal skateboarders every once and a while, the average age of Downtown Silver Spring visitors has increased quite a bit," writes reporter Julia Wynn in SilverChips, the Blair newspaper. (Funny she would mention skateboarders.)

While Wynn goes a little over-the-top (referring to "the Turf," made of plastic grass, as "that precious green space") it's becoming clear that attempts to make young people feel less welcome in Downtown Silver Spring are working. We've talked a lot this week about the quality of new development, and the need to retain small businesses, but the one topic no one's really brought up in Downtown Wheaton or in Downtown Silver Spring is where young people can go.

I'm looking forward to the opening of Veterans' Plaza - the County says they're aiming for July 1, 2010 - because it'll provide a large, open, public space for all people to hang out. But it's especially important for the kids who come to Downtown Silver Spring from all across the region looking for a place to go without spending money. Shopkeepers don't seem to understand that today's high-schooler, Turf-sitter, or skateboarder will be tomorrow's customer. I mean, tobacco companies have brand loyalty all figured out. Why don't we?


Silver Spring Skaters said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silver Spring Skaters said...

Old people need to stop asking each other what kids need and start listening to kids. Kids in this community have been very vocal for a very long time. The problem is that few people have been listening.

Tanisha Brown said...

kids are not the taxpayers.

Silver Spring Skaters said...

No, kids are not the taxpayers. But they are our future, so it's only logical that we learn to listen to them.

Anonymous said...

We're going to have a decent bread bakery in downtown Silver Spring? Hallelujah - it's about time.

DevouringDC said...

Very excited to hear about the changes coming to Jackie's. I always love when restaurants can introduce a local focus and am intrigued with baking program. Sign me up!