Strolling around Wheaton to see what’s what these days. Lots of what is still the same as it ever was. Also lots of new. The view from the intersection of Reedie/Viers Mill/Grandview encapsulates the current Wheaton state of affairs: new(ish) Welcome to Wheaton sign, with Marchone’s striped awning (old school) in background left and 17 stories of apartments (new school) background right. A few notes:
Seoul Food, in the gas station at Georgia/University, is pretty good, full review to follow in a day or three. Korean food but with Mexican/American elements.
More fusion: La Baguette de Paris French bakery (local chain?) has been open for a few months in the Max’s/Full Key strip mall on University. Lest one expect a true Parisian patisserie, La Baguette caters to a Latino crowd, with wares more or less identical to Caramelo. Samantha’s also has baked goods (Dulce Vida did too, next to Samantha’s, but it closed last year). I’d be surprised if La Baguette lasts any longer than Dulce Vida did, there can’t be enough demand to sustain so much Salavadoran baking in a three block radius. The eclairs did look good though.By the way: Max’s is still there (try the shwarma or falafel), but Shalom Kosher has moved to the Kemp Mill Shopping Center off Arcola, where it is all grown up into a full size grocery store, still with excellent meats and breads and kosherness. Its former storefront in the Wheaton strip is currently vacant.
A commenter mentioned seeing something about a future “Taco Loco” establishment near El Pollo Rico on University, but I looked and couldn’t find anything like that. Am I just missing it, or was it someone’s fleeting dream, or was it just a false rumor?
Someone else noted Mi La Cay is open in its new location on the Wong Gee strip on University. Mrs. Me has been to the new location and confirms it is just as good as the old one, only bigger! MLC does excellent Vietnamese food, the fiery curries are not dialed down at all for the Western palate, I need to get over there soon. The old MLC space behind Hung Phat is available for rent — given the success of MLC and previous tenant Nava Thai, someone ought to grab it and start something new pronto. Hopefully Indian or some other Asian variation not yet in Wheaton — Sri Lankan? Pakistani?
The University strip space formerly occupied by Dusit Thai and Sabores (nee Gloria’s Caribbean nee Irene’s III) has been less successful and remains unleased. Parking is a little tough right there, may be part of the problem, and the Sabores space is tiny. But strip bookends New Kam Fong and The Chicken Place are hanging in there.
Mi La Cay isn’t the only recent expansion: Kantutas (Bolivian cuisine) has more than doubled its space on Ennals, and even has a little outdoor seating area now. It takes a bit of hunting since it is off the main drag, but well worth the hunt. I’m so happy for the success of MLC and Kantutas, both are run by super-friendly people, and the food is outstanding, two of Wheaton’s best restaurants in fact.