Spring is sprung
The snow is fleetin’
I wonder what’s
To eat in Wheaton?
First, today is apparently National Margarita Day. Who decides these things? Is there a commission? How do I get on it? I’m not complaining, it’s just that I always think of St. Patrick’s Day as the first official margarita day of the year — the drinkin’ o’ the green and whatnot. So I guess there will be margaritas later today (Mrs. Me will not have to twist my arm much).
Second, spring eatin’ is busting out all over Wheaton, with two new restaurants opening earlier this month, plus a facelift for an old favorite. And possibly more I’m missing?
Nava Thai (11301 Fern Street) got a fresh coat of exterior paint this week, gold with burgundy trim, looks spiffy. They hope RGIII will be their spokesperson? First time that building has been painted in years. Meanwhile, in Nava’s old location behind Hung Phat (11315 Fern Street), a new Thai place has moved in: Thai Taste by Kob. TTbK isn’t really “new”; they apparently spent ten years in Silver Spring,* but moved to Wheaton and have been open here since early February. The Hung Phat proprietor says the food is good and they’re already doing good business, sounds like clientele from Silver Spring has followed them to Wheaton. That location is auspicious, with not only Nava but also Mi La Cay starting there before moving to larger, and I presume greener, pastures. Magic kitchen?
* Chef from Thai Market, speculates DC Eater?
So we’re back to three Thai restaurants in Wheaton, and I look forward to trying Thai Taste. Their website claims “great noodles soup bowls & meat on a stick” — I love all those things, assuming they are indeed great. When is National Meat on a Stick day? That needs to be a thing. Saigonese also has high-quality meat-on-a-stick. Mmmmm charcoal grilled pork…
The other new eatery is just down the block, in the old Suporn Thai space. Rios Tacqueria y Pupuseria (2302 Price, but really on Fern) opened about a week ago; I’ve been by twice in two days and so far have seen no customers. From outside, it looks like a tiny takeout dive; once they replace their temporary banner with permanent signage on the awning, the curb appeal should spike. It isn’t quite as divey or tiny once inside. I haven’t been able to find any reviews of it so far; my own review is coming soon (no, really) (spoiler alert: tasty, and great value).
Not everything is coming up roses; as noted a few days ago, The Royal Mile closed after a long and bumpy ride through recent years. We are now a haggis-free environment. I think the Subway* on Georgia also closed, it’s all boarded up, but maybe someone just smashed their window — I didn’t care enough to investigate further. Against all odds, Nut House Pizza is not only still open, but has some kind of art show going on inside.
*For any New Yorkers in the audience, I’m referring to Subway, purveyor of mediocre sandwiches — they are the Michael Crabtree of sandwiches — and not to what we DCists call “the Metro” whose Wheaton location remains fully open for business, for better or worse.
El Taco Loco, “coming soon” for about six months now, next to El Pollo Rico on University, still is not open. Maybe Safeway owns them? The interior has a nice bold orange-and-white paint motif but there’s not much else in the place. It’s as if Rio and Thai Taste sprang to life overnight, while El Taco continues to…not spring to life. I wonder if crazy tacos and rich chickens just can’t get along?
Meanwhile, some familiar store fronts have been empty for a looonng time. I’m thinking especially of the old Dusit Thai space, and next to that the little hovel that has cycled through Irene’s III and Caribbean jerk chicken and Sabores and I don’t know what else. On the auspicious spectrum, that little hovel is at the opposite end from where Thai Taste now sits. Lots of car traffic there but not much foot traffic, and limited parking, so may be a tough rental. We won’t even talk about Ferdinand’s, which I’m starting to suspect might be haunted. Old Ferdie’s ghost is back in the kitchen, vaporizing anyone who dares cross the threshold.
Despite that, all told, things are looking up, and so is the weather. Lots of Wheatonites out wandering today, like feral humans, enjoying the (relatively) warm sun. Now, where to procure some margarita-appropriate food?