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Not Your Average Joe's, A Massachusetts Chain Now in Several Suburban Locations


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We dined at Not Your Average Joe's in Landsdowne in Leesburg today

The manager Ron and our waitress Lauren R made the time enjoyable, she was very pleasant and so was the manager.
She made my day by keeping my soda filled and having delicious bread and making a nice little cheese & olive oil plate to dip it in. Upon leaving Ron gave us a lovely parting gift grouping of a paper menu, fridge magnet, $$ off our next visit and more in a lovely presentation - you can get one too!

We started with complimentary fresh bread at the table with olive oil and cheese and some spices...
Next the New England Crab Chowder which was PERFECT and delicious. It is very rare I may add that I do NOT have to add either pepper or salt or both, this time I did not!
For the main course I ordered the spice-rubbed flank steak to quote the menu: It was rubbed with seven spices, grilled and glazed with our pomegranate citrus-reduction, served with red onion jam and sweet potato steak fries. The fries could have been cooked well they were a bit under cooked but the dish as a whole was nicely made.
Hubby ordered: the grilled black angus sirloin meatloaf with chipotle peppers, smoked mozzarella, corn and red peppers,
served with garlic mashed potatoes, barbeque gravy and sautéed green beans - the beans needed more cooking but overall he liked it too!
We ordered a pizza to go since everything was so delicious we thought we'd get something for tonight!
It is a goat cheese and sun-dried tomato with whole roasted garlic and basil pesto and they had SO many delicious sounding pizza's on their menu it was hard to pick one.
Their site is: http://www.notyouraveragejoes.com/
Other information: 19307 Promenade Drive
Lansdowne Town Center
Phone: (571) 333-5637
Hours:
M-Th: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri-Sat: 11:00 am - 10:30 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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rumored to be coming to Gaithersburg MD, in the kentlands "chicken out" spot.

Answering my own post: Opening scheduled for July 2. They have a new construction "in/out" patio area that is covered but has movable walls (so it appears) much like La Tosca and Gordon Biersch in Rockville Town Center.

There is also a popcorn "place" (not really a restaurant, I suppose, just a walk up window) opening sometime in Kentlands, sharing the building with the Star Diner. They'd originally targeted a May open but I don't believe that happened.

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Has anyone gone to the Gaithersburg location?

Went, 45 minute wait, turned around and went to Pasha for some Bastilla and a belly dance. (pasha should have a thread. good stuff.)

I've heard good things about the service...how they're bringing iced teas to people waiting and such. The outside area is huge. I'll be going soon I'm sure.

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Went, 45 minute wait, turned around and went to Pasha for some Bastilla and a belly dance. (pasha should have a thread. good stuff.)

I've heard good things about the service...how they're bringing iced teas to people waiting and such. The outside area is huge. I'll be going soon I'm sure.

And sure enough, 11 hours later I was ordering lunch at Not Your Average Joe's...

The place is pretty good - it is one of those places that straddles the line between serving quality and serving the masses. I'm happy to have it here but don't expect miracles.

Plusses:

They have an extensive beverage selection, much of which comes with free refills. This is a big deal to me, as I don't drink soda or coffee and rarely order alcohol. Most places that leaves just iced tea but they had a nice selection of different teas and lemonades and such. Yeah, I know its probably just some flavoring they squirt in..,but it's nice to think I could try different flavors over the course of the meal as I tend to get 2 or 3 refills.

The menu was also quite large and varied. It was your normal entrees, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and salads but with an somewhat larger than average selection of each. And most categories had one or two "oddball" kinds of interesting things, like the "stuffed quahogs" appetizer. I get that restaurants need to offer popular dishes and get rid of duds...but I hate when the entire menu seems to go right to the lowest common demoninator. This menu stays one or two dishes from that "Top 10" list in each category, and I appreciate that. Show me something - new, unique, the chef's specialty, something fresh...

The dining area outside was nice, big, shaded and well staffed.

Likewise, the host area had a team of maybe 4 people, a la Clydes and Sweetwaters...I don't know why it takes 4 people but thats much better than an empty host stand.

As mentioned above, the chowder (my main) was very nice. A nice balance of clams, potato and onlon.

My wife's pecan-encrusted chicken was nice; the highlight were the sides: simple sweet-potato wedges were lightly salted and the slaw was interesting, it had a hint of sweetness that the menu says came from the slightest tinge of BBQ sauce (yes, in cole slaw).

Minuses:

Despite an otherwise fine effort, our waitress forgot to bring the Stuffed Quohog appetizer we ordered - which was too bad, as I don't know if I've ever had a quohog, let alone a stuffed one. It was just as well as the onion bread served gratis pretty much filled us up.

My son's kids burger was kind of bland. He'd ordered the same thing the day before at Founding Farmers and I believe that might have been the bst plain burger I've had around here, as it had the seasonings and 'looseness' of a 5 guys burger but I believe was cooked in a way that allowed some of the fat to run away from it, making it less of a greasy mess (though not dry). The burger here at NYAG's was just kind of boring. Nice bread, but an unseasoned patty that was too dense. The burgers seem an afterthought on the menu so I wouldn't have expected anything here anyhow...and maybe the kids burger is purposely bland.

All in all, it seemed a little expensive; I suppose the nice decor and 4 hosts need to be accounted for and if they ran a "$9.99 deal" they'd be too similar to TGI Fridays. I'm happy they've come to the 'hood and while I doubt I'll be a regular I'm sure they will do just fine.

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All in all, it seemed a little expensive; I suppose the nice decor and 4 hosts need to be accounted for and if they ran a "$9.99 deal" they'd be too similar to TGI Fridays. I'm happy they've come to the 'hood and while I doubt I'll be a regular I'm sure they will do just fine.

I was in Gaithersberg tonight and think this sentence explains it -- an expensive TGI Fridays or Ruby Tuesdays -

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I was in Gaithersberg tonight and think this sentence explains it -- an expensive TGI Fridays or Ruby Tuesdays -

Yeah, and iin fairness I should explain why they are a welcome addition:

There are one or two restaurants around here that I think might be some sort of tax shelter or money laundering effort - because they don't seem to be in the restaurant business. The food is mediorcre, service poor and...no one's ever there. Yet they continue on...

A place like "NYAJ" might only serve Sysco-fueled menu items, a la TGI Fridays. But - they are usually pretty consistent, they usually have a few competently prepared recipes, they offer "safe haven" for timid diners (like my Mom) and they offer employment and a decent first look into corporate goings-on for the local youth.

I would have of course preferred a Blacks/Voltaggio outpost. But NYAJ is much better than an empty space and not the end of the world given what else may have come here.

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Do name names, please. On some weeks I'd be happy to launder a little of someone's money

Nah, I won't do that, it wouldn't be fair. But the place has never been mentioned here, it is within 1/2 mile of NYAJ and has been there for years. I never see anyone there. They aren't a nuisance or anything...and maybe they just have what money they need and like to 'play restaurant' with a nery small place with (relatively) low overhead. I really can't explain it. I've eaten there, it wasn't memorable except that we were alone in the place.

My bet would be the explanation has something to do with the rent (or lack thereof). At least NYAJ's has to advertise and maintain at least a basic standard to attract customers and make their rent - which is good for us 'hoodies.

So I know we're not Bethesda - but would you ever consider opening an outpost in the Kentlands area? Maybe Rio, or maybe the new neighborhood being built between the two of us? A Freddy's II...on the boardwalk... would be awesome! (I know, I know..."awesome" doesn't pay the bills...)

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Don, please move if there is a thread elsewhere, I searched both the dining guide and the forums and was unable to find one.

Although open for more than a year, Friday was my first visit to the Not Your Average Joe's in the Kentlands Square Shopping Center.  NYAJs bills itself as a creative, casual cuisine.  It definitely delivers a more imaginative menu than the ubiquitous MoCo chains in the area.  The menu offers something for everyone and I appreciate the long list of bottomless non-alcoholic offerings.  This place is definitely family friendly.

We were sat immediately at 5:30 on a Friday night, we had reservations but there was no one waiting when we arrived.  By the time we left an hour later, there was a large crowd waiting to be seated.

We began with an order of the Asian Chicken Dumplings, which we found to be a miss.  The order of 5 dumplings were filled with an unseasoned chicken paste floating in an overly vinegary sauce.  Hubby had the meatloaf, which arrived looking more like a deconstructed shepherd's pie.  He loves shepherd's pie, and did like the meatloaf.  I had an excellent spinach salad off the special's list.  The salad was dressed in a warm maple vinaigrette, and while a bit on the sweet side, went really well with the pears and goat cheese.  I also ordered another app for my main.  The forno baked chicken quesadilla was enormous.  This dish, like all of the plates that came to the table, suffered for being over-garnished.  It made taking home and reheating leftovers a bit of a challenge.  Here they seem to treat onion straws like parsley as they adorned both the salad and the meatloaf.  By adorned, I mean they blanketed both plates.  Frankly, they're kind of greasy, and just not that good.  I wish the kitchen practiced a bit more restraint with their use.

Overall, a good value, nice venue and lots of options that appeal whatever mood you might be in.  A good addition for MoCo and to our rotation.  We will be back.

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We actually ate at the one in Bethesda last week for my sister's birthday (my parents had been before, I'm the only adventurous eater and my niece is five). For what it is - a chain - I enjoyed it. I had the herb-crusted haddock, which was tasty if not spectacular, my dad had a nicely prepared piece of salmon (cooked to order), my mom had a pizza, and my sister had the chimmichuri steak. Everyone was pretty pleased - and I thought some of the sides (fennel and asparagus with the salmon, cauliflower mash and green beans with the haddock, Mexican street corn with the steak, etc.) are a bit more interesting than just potatoes or very conventional vegetables like broccoli. Someone mentioned them as "expensive TGI Friday's or Ruby Tuesday", and while think the goal is to be family-oriented and diverse across the menu, I do think they aspire to a slightly higher class and interest in cooking beyond "burgers and things slathered in Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce." It's hard to give it any sort of grade, but I'd be inclined to go there over any of the other chains mentioned.

I live within walking distance of the one opening in Ellsworth Place, and I can see it ending up in a regular rotation a few times a year when I have a large group or pickier friends, since Silver Spring doesn't have a lot of generic "American" spots at a more family-friendly, moderate price point (versus the Classics or All Set, for example). Also, of interest to me, are a couple of slight menu and approach differences in Silver Spring compared to its MoCo cousins - assuming the websites are accurate. For example, the prices seem to be a bit lower across the board at the Silver Spring location than the Bethesda location that I visited or Gaithersburg, per the online menus (don't know if that will be made up in reduced portions or just a value/margins calculation in a slightly less wealthy area, maybe with lower rent). The website shows a second, late night happy hour (from 9 PM to close, advertised closes are 10 PM or 11 PM most nights) which doesn't appear to be offered at the other spots. I wonder if they are calculating people going in and out of the Fillmore, the AFI/Regal, and the Black Box Theatre and are trying to draw them in.

Edit: I got invited to the soft opening of the Ellsworth Place one tomorrow, so I will try something different and chime in.

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I'd normally not be interested in this place, but I'm thinking it'll be a good Silver Spring option when I have my semi-unadventurous husband and my 2-year-old in tow (if we can ever get in).

I'm wondering if the stuffed quahog appetizer mentioned above (no longer on the menu) was a riff on the classic Rhode Island "Stuffies." I don't think I've ever seen a Stuffie anywhere outside of Rhode Island.

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I tried their Leesburg location out quite some time ago (maybe two years), and ordered their meatloaf...which was fine until I found 1/4 of it was petrified like rock.  Completely inedible.  We told our server, and heard nothing more.  I'm not the type who views something like that as a way to guilt the management into free stuff, but some concern about serving a meat*rock* instead of a meat*loaf* should have merited more attention.

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5 minutes ago, Destruya said:

I'm not the type who views something like that as a way to guilt the management into free stuff, but some concern about serving a meat*rock* instead of a meat*loaf* should have merited more attention.

Not your average Joke. :)

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On 7/9/2016 at 0:30 AM, jdc said:

Edit: I got invited to the soft opening of the Ellsworth Place one tomorrow, so I will try something different and chime in.

It won't let me edit my post, so I'll just chime in quickly. I won't judge too firmly either way because it was a soft opening by invitation, but I do think it will be a welcome addition to the area - a bit more casual and perhaps undercutting Copper Canyon around the corner, with a broad and somewhat interesting menu. The server pushed that it was a "scratch kitchen" and that anything we ordered could be modified to our liking, which was an interesting emphasis (perhaps they assumed people would think otherwise since it is a chain).

They offered a shared appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert for me and my dining companion. We got a seasonal appetizer - lemon-harissa hummus - which had a nice flavor and was topped with fried chickpeas, and accompanied by various vegetables including cucumbers, carrots, grape tomatoes, and radishes. My companion is a vegetarian and was impressed by there being a handful of options (in addition to the potential to modify any salads or anything else). She ordered a summer squash bolognese which had a mushroom bolognese, zucchini, and squash noodles (and I think my friend mentioned something about kale or spinach, though I don't see it mentioned on the menu) - she said it was tasty and hearty for a vegetarian dish, though almost more like a minestrone or thicker soup. I had the sirloin tips - there was a bit of a temperature issue, which they acknowledged as a timing issue coming out of the kitchen that they were working through - but nicely presented on a bed of spinach and cauliflower mash. There was no choice of dessert, but they did well with a strawberry shortcake (for two to share) - nice, subtly sweet biscuit, very fresh strawberries, along with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. My friend had a ridiculous drink - "Berry Me In Bubbles" which was based around vodka and strawberry sparkling wine - that she really enjoyed. They have a solid menu of cocktails and mocktails, and the beer selection looked okay for a chain - I know Don has strong opinions on what counts as "craft beer" at this point, but I noticed several taps from Flying Dog and a couple of others (maybe Jailbreak and Heavy Seas?) along with Dogfish Head and other selections that are above the usual suspects. Maybe 20 or so draft beers in all which isn't bad for a place like this.

As I said, not that exciting, but still a welcome addition to that Downtown Silver Spring/Ellsworth Plaza area that is somewhat of a dining desert compared to what one would find on Georgia and east.

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3 hours ago, jdc said:

It won't let me edit my post, so I'll just chime in quickly. I won't judge too firmly either way because it was a soft opening by invitation, but I do think it will be a welcome addition to the area - a bit more casual and perhaps undercutting Copper Canyon around the corner, with a broad and somewhat interesting menu. 

...

As I said, not that exciting, but still a welcome addition to that Downtown Silver Spring/Ellsworth Plaza area that is somewhat of a dining desert compared to what one would find on Georgia and east.

Nearly anything should be an upgrade on Copper Canyon.

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Reston location open for several months now in the space previously occupied by Macaroni Grill that closed without notice.

Decor and retrofit buildout is nice, bright and contemporary.  Plenty of free parking in shopping plaza a very short walk from Reston Town Center.

Have indoor and outdoor seating (on a busy corner of Reston Parkway with stop lights).

Wait staff and management attentive, but not overbearing.  Food prices are average (pun intended).  Large bar area with TVs and open kitchen concept for this chain.

Jambalaya is good and packs a slight punch. Dumpling app is good as are salads. Their housemade bread and olive oil/parmesan cheese/red pepper flake that comes out with your drinks is killer.  Sadly it is easy to fill up on this and not only overload with carbs, but be full enough to not eat your lunch or dinner.  Place is usually pretty busy, but service and prep time will get you in and out efficiently while not feeling rushed.

 

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