Murphie

Avenue Oven, Takoma Park - Not Opening

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Takoma Park neighborhood bulletin boards are alive with the rumor that a Chef G and Robin might be opening in Takoma Park as well as Forest Glen.

The location mentioned is the long closed Taliano's, about three blocks from the Metro station and right next to the Sunday farmer's market. What a location for brunch!

Incidentally, down the block a local developer is in the final stages of getting approval for a plan that will include new restaurant space and the requisite off-street parking. This would be at the corner of Eastern and Laurel, again about three blocks from Metro.

Anyone think there is any truth to the rumor about Chef G coming to Takoma?

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I don't know what it means, but here is the email they sent out earlier today (emphasis added).

Hey Everyone,

During the last week of Colorado Kitchen different lyrics from two Jann Arden songs have been trading places with each other in my mind...."All of this was wonderful and worth the heartache", and "The hardest part of goodbye is moving all your stuff."

It has been an amazing seven years and we have had a great time. We've watched the neighborhood change, and the girls have grown up here. We've learned a lot and shown DC a thing or two. Chef's been a regular feature on NPR and on TV, and she's written a book. Robin never knew she could make so many desserts in a couple hours. She also wishes she had a nickel for every biscuit she made. It was bigger than we ever imagined and we thank you for that and all of the friends we've made along the way.

. . .

You haven't heard the last of us. We're looking forward to seeing you all again in Forest Glen and Takoma Park. Stay tuned for updates.

See you soon,

Chef & Robin

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I came to a very similar conclusion but the only thing is that talliano's doesn't seem to be that much bigger than CK. Of course the kitchen might be bigger, which is what really matters.

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An interesting development for Takoma Park. God knows we need more options around here that are not soul-sucking chain restaurants. I've seen the Taliano's space and the kitchen is bigger.

It was nearly a Starbucks, but according to what i have heard, Starbucks corporate nixed it because there's not enough foot traffic on that street.

I look forward to seeing how well "the rules" mesh with Takoma Park parenting styles. :lol:

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I look forward to seeing how well "the rules" mesh with Takoma Park parenting styles. :lol:
Which is why they should concentrate on opening the GSPOT! We need a place within stumbling walking distance!

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Which is why they should concentrate on opening the GSPOT! We need a place within stumbling walking distance!

Hmmm...but Taliano's is stumbling distance for me! Not even half a block :lol:

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Which is why they should concentrate on opening the GSPOT! We need a place within stumbling walking distance!

Indeed. :lol:

I live around the s-curve or through the woods, depending on whether I'm traveling by car or on foot. Our little neighborhood has been needing something like this for years.

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There was a brief article in the July issue of the Takoma Park Voice that said Chef Clark is in fact buying the space and plans to call the resteraunt Avenue Open (huuuuh) and plans to be open for lunch, dinner and Brunch on Sundays (woooooot) There was no timeline for when this space would be developed, I'm guessing the Forest Glen space would come first?

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Tim Carman's latest column features Gillian Clark, and a little Takoma-related snark:

The Takoma Park operation, which will feature Eastern European cuisine, has run into more predictable headaches—patchouli-scented busybodies. When Clark mentioned that her place would serve roasted chicken, one gadfly wrote her, “I would expect that rotisserie chickens in the window (even if free range ...) are likely to produce some controversy. Remember that this is a downtown where the unofficial mascot is Roscoe the roster [sic]…”

I love this town. It's making me want to BBQ a whole pig on a spit in my driveway again... :lol:

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Tim Carman's latest column features Gillian Clark, and a little Takoma-related snark:

I love this town. It's making me want to BBQ a whole pig on a spit in my driveway again... :lol:

Yeah... maybe I'll make my next pig's head right in front of the Roscoe statue.

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Exactly how does Mark from mark's kitchen get away with serving korean short ribs and *gasp* chicken? Oh yeah he's also serving vegan food too.

Gillian please don't listen to the haters, there are plenty of takoma denizens who would love to have you open a resteraunt here and would eat there at least once a month.

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There are also many Takoma Parkians who would like Gillian to be firm about her "rules" if only to watch most parents' heads explode. This town is out of control and we need a velvet hammer when it comes to little Braden and Kaden wreaking havoc in a dining establishment.

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Hi folks,

Avenue Oven in Takoma Park is slated to open around November. But that could easily slide into 2009 if things don't go exactly as planned. And considering our experience with that very old building in Forest Glen, that may be what happens. The space is actually 3000 square feet. Almost twice the size of Colorado Kitchen. We expect there to be close to 90 seats. And because the kitchen will be way bigger we can do some carry out and be open a full 12 to 13 hours a day.

We are of course going to do what makes sense while serving top notch food. Unfortunately for some, kids running around does not make sense indoors. So as typical of us we will make it a point to curtail that. I have kids of my own as all of you know and they grew up in restaurants. I think there is a time for running and a time for eating. Doing both at the same time gives one gas.

As far as the food goes, I'm stealing some from my NY Jew upbringing. So it will be American with an Eastern European lean. I have always been taken by the immigrant's take on American food (Colorado Kitchen of course was my Panamanian parent's take on American food--Betty Crocker through my dad's eyes). Look for a great Sunday Brunch that is very different from CK.

As far as Forest Glen is concerned or the G Spot as you guys are calling it LOL. We are getting closer every day. We had to make some changes to satisfy the building inspector and I think we are back on track. Hopefully we are a little less than two months away on that project.

Thanks for your interest and support. And know that I can't wait to get back into the kitchen and I'll be back before my most prominent burn scars fade. See ya soon.

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Since the issue came up I've been watching the behaviour of kids (and parents) in Takoma Park. I don't really see any real issues. Certainly Marks is the favorite of families, and I never see any problems. Maybe its because there is no room to run around. Service is prompt too.

'Taliano's, on the other hand was totally out of control. Maybe, compared to Mark's the issue was that it did have a lot of room, the empty stage, etc, that was conducive to kids gone wild. The real problem was the terrible service. If you go in with hungry kids and they have to wait half an hour or fortyfive minutes for a pizza, kids will have a problem.

So pack the tables in and feed the kids- all will be well, as it is now in Marks.

BTW the local BBs are reporting that a "gourmet" pizza place will open in the old House of Musical Traditions space. Moroni and Bros is only ten minutes away, so the newcomers will have to meet high standards.

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So how are you planning to divide your time between the two places?

Also Jewish brunch food sounds awesome to me! I bet you'd make a mean kugel.

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Chef and Robin made a presentation before a group of about 60 Takoma Park residents this evening, discussing their plans.

I heard nothing really surprising: opening around the end of the year, beer and wine license, open relatively late evenings, 90 seats. Clear intent to do carryout, a great idea since so many people walk home from Metro right past the location Chef talked about the eastern european emphasis and had my mouth watering: things like pickles, knishes, strudels.

They think they will open at 11 for lunch most days of the week, but of that I am dubious, the town is dead around noon on weekdays.

Questions mostly related to how the place will be different from the G-SPOT, which is planned to me more of a self serve option, kids (no separate menus, child portions will be available, and there will be rules) and vegetarian and vegan options. Takoma Parkers kind of expect some accomodation there, but I did not hear her commit - she said food would be seasonal and suggested it depended on what was available. My take is that if there is some at least one vegetarian item on the menu she'll be fine with the locals. Of course, the redeeming feature is that she has a following and people will come from outside TP for her food.

There was also a presentation on a new wood-fired pizza place down the street a bit, Roscoe's, which sounds promising and I will write up separately.

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As a Takoma DC resident, I'm very, very excited for Avenue Oven to open up. Anyone heard any updates about whether or not it's on track to open around year's end? It sounds like the General Store has been a nightmare, and I would imagine the extra energy that that's taken would hurt Avenue Oven's proposed open date.

Also, I know that this is off-topic, but being a DC resident, I must say that I'm a bit miffed/jealous at Old Town Takoma Park's ability to attract new, interesting restaurants. What's stopping a sit-down restaurant with table service from opening on the DC side of the line? Is it liquor laws? Lack of governmental incentives? Bad spaces? Differences in income? Bad elected officials? I find it to be incredibly depressing that the walk from the Metro station to Old Town Takoma Park is a tour of windowless buildings, surface parking lots, empty lots, and above-ground power lines punctuated by outdated office buildings, a CVS and a 7-11, both with a suburban-style set backs.

What food establishments we do have seem to be really undercapitalized -- it's hard for me to understand how the Drifting Nomad is going to make it with a very limited menu of sandwiches and coffee, even if they are nice and tasty. The Red Line Grill seems like they could make a killing selling wings and beer during skins games, but it doesn't seem like they have access to a liquor license...

Anyway, a bunch of my neighbors and I are excited to see Avenue Oven open.

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Not looking good. A local business advocate just posted to Facebook that his status is "Working to get Colombo Bank to reverse their adverse decision to call Avenue Oven's loan. Let's see if Colombo really is a community bank."

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Not looking good. A local business advocate just posted to Facebook that his status is "Working to get Colombo Bank to reverse their adverse decision to call Avenue Oven's loan. Let's see if Colombo really is a community bank."
Yes, Seth Grimes [@TakomaSeth] also followed up with an article in the September 2009 edition of Voice [not online yet]. It's a painful read:
In the end, Clark and Levin terminated Avenue Oven's lease by mutual agreement.

<snip>

Levin, meantime , has been showing the site to other, prospective tenants, both potential restaurants and retail.

<snip>

Prospects are good that landlord Bruce Levin will soon sign another tenant for his Carroll Avenue location that will be equally welcome [as Roscoe's].

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Yes, Seth Grimes [@TakomaSeth] also followed up with an article in the September 2009 edition of Voice [not online yet]. It's a painful read:

This sucks. But at least Roscoe's is up and running. Let's hope it can ward off the Takoma gastronomic curse and stay that way.

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