Wheaton Calling adds her two cents and Just Up The Pike gets at least a nickel’s worth. Lots of good analysis there. In particular, JUTP is right that it is unfair to call Silver Spring “generic” or “fake” (or insert your own such adjective), and I’ve been guilty of that myself at times. Red Lobster is just too easy a target. But it is true that despite a lot of chains in the one main core downtown SS block, there is lots of character (including some good, small, independent local restaurants) throughout the surrounding blocks. I hope Wheaton never gets a Red Lobster, and I hope we don’t end up with as many parking garages as SS has, and I hope our best small ethnic restaurants can survive (whether in Wheaton’s core or surrounding blocks), but other than that, we should be so lucky as to enjoy the kind of progress SS has made over the past twenty years.