Wednesday, July 29, 2009
After reading some chatter on-line from our readers here and from ThayerAvenue.com (thanks Eric), my wife and I decided to go by the place on our way home from work to see what we could find out. We peeked through the window and could definitely see some activity, but the door was still locked so we didn't think we'd find out too much. But right before we left, the front door opened and out walked the new owner, Luis.
He gave us the scoop about the Monday opening (over a couple beers at the bar) and said he plans to keep the name Nicaro. The new Nicaro will definitely be a family-run place with Luis, his wife and daughter working as hostess after her school days are through.
Luis is Venezuelan, but does not plan to serve dishes from his homeland. He plans on keeping a New American bent to Nicaro and serving food along the lines that Pedro did. Luis comes to SoCo from many years in the industry, having previously run the Potomac Grill in Rockville.
It's been certainly sad to walk by Nicaro and see the place shut down, so I am excited it will have new ownership and again be serving the hood. While Luis has big shoes to fill, I am hopeful the new Nicaro will be a pleasant addition to the SoCo restaurant scene. And it seems we win on both counts since we know Pedro's new place, 8407, will be open later this fall.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Word has it that some of the old art and beer steins from the Q House will be available and then a bunch of odds and ends like stemware, plates, platters, pillows, and vintage furniture from Jackie's. In addition, some regulars and staff from Jackie's will be offering jewelry and rock posters. Pyramid Atlantic will also be there with handmade papers and books.
I don't know about you, but I have longed to get a hold of some of the classic beer art (yes, I know, it's mainly commercial stuff) from the walls of the Q House. Although I don't know if this piece of "art" will be available, but I'll be looking for something like this.
Let's hope I come home happy.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Anyway, as was reported a couple months back in the SS Penguin, next up for 8113 Georgia Ave looks like Pacci's, Brick Oven Pizzeria. Penguin staff reported the owners of Mrs' K's are behind this move. While I did not speak to anyone at Mrs K's, the MD Dept of Assessments and Taxation does list the same address for the ownership group of Mrs K's (Quick Cuisine) and Pacci's (8113 LLC).
I'm not overly concerned about this as long as Pizza Hut or Papa John's is not trying to fool us like Coor's tries to do with the beer drinking masses with its Blue Moon, Belgian-style beer.
I've always believed that spot had potential and it's disappointing to see it there empty. And what's the deal with the awning on the north side of the building? It looks like at some point it could have been part of a pick up window. Could there actually have been a drive-through place for pierogies? Oh man, I'm dying.
Well, let's see about Pacci's. I've seen no workers outside the building and I cannot see anything that's been done to the building. It doesn't fill me with a lot of hope for something coming anytime this year or even next year. Moreover, the tight credit markets don't help. I guess if things do fall through I'll look into this spot for myself. As I've said, I like the spot and maybe my Italian deli/market/sandwich shop would do well there. Perhaps in a couple years I'll have the financing ready. Probably not, but it's still nice to think about. Any potential customers out there for a nice mortadella sandwich or maybe grilled eggplant with ricotta on some crusty Italian bread?
Friday, July 10, 2009
Anyway, we all know who I'm really talking about. I assume most of you SS blog readers have already read on SS Singular or via the Washington Post about Pedro's new dining spot in town - 8407.
Nicaro is just a distant memory now, OK, hold on while I wipe the tears from my eyes. But supposedly we don't have too long to wait - maybe October - for the new digs to open at 8407 Ramsey Ave, right across from the SS metro stop. While I don't expect any exotic Hawaiian-style drinks to be on the menu, I do expect the same kind of top notch food that was served at Nicaro.
Also, I did hear that most - if not all - of the staff who helped make Nicaro such a great place, will be offered employment at 8407. So I do hope to see Rich, Brent, Shola? and maybe others there.
And here's what I hear from Nancy Mola, the former manager at Nicaro, and Pedro's business partner at 8407. First off, the new place is big - 5,800 square feet. They'll have 2 floors, the first will contain a bar and lounge (with couches for what else, lounging). And get this, there are like 6 doors off the main bar that will open up on to Ramsey, so when the weather is nice, this should be fab. You'll be able to start drooling for a drink and a snack as you approach the SS metro stop as the restaurant comes into view.
On the second floor there will be 3 dining rooms, yes 3, along with another bar. There will be seating for approximately 150 folks up on the 2nd floor. Does this mean no waits ever for dinner? I guess we'll see how popular it becomes. And as already reported, 8407 will be doing small plates such as charcuterie, cheeses, and I'm sure much more. You'll be able to order casual items like sandwiches and burgers and more high end choices like a nice local steak. I stress the local because Nancy and Pedro are committed to supporting our local farmers for both meats and veggies - and I hope fish too (although that's a bit more complicated).
Nancy says that 75% of the menu will be available all the time - for lunch, dinner and late night snacks. I assume the other 25% will probably kick in at dinner times. And for those just wanting a coffee and to lounge, wi-fi will be available at the new place.
So keep your eyes and ears out for more news. Nancy, Pedro and others will be looking to spread the word on the new place. For those on Twitter, you can keep up with them at Twitter.com/8407. If I get more info on 8407 - or Nicaro - I'll be sure to do a post. But one note on Nicaro, no one should be holding their breath for them to open next week (the end of the supposed 2 week closing period). Maybe they'll open their doors in August. Till then, keep walking and get your gyro on, or maybe some pasta at Olazzo.
Monday, July 6, 2009
If you're not following, the Big Greek Cafe, is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, July 8 at 11:30 AM at 8223 Georgia Ave. The BGC is replacing the very short-lived Oasis Pupuseria. What, we're they open even two months?
But, we still have the Greek Place just up the block (8417 Georgia Ave), which was previously the Big Greek Cafe until a squabble took place between the owner and the family who was actually operating the restaurant. Everything is clear, right?
It'll be curious to see how the 'hood handles 2 Greek restaurants literally 2 blocks apart from one another. We survived many years with the only place in SoCo to get a falafel fix being Lebanese Taverna. Now we'll have 3 places all within very close proximity of the other. The question is: can we support them all?
I see Lebanese Taverna surviving since the restaurant has been in SS for several years now and obviously there are others in the area. It has name recognition - and good food too. However, I just cannot imagine that both the Greek Place and the BGC can survive. It might have been better a few years ago when money was growing on trees for homeowners - otherwise known as Mont County real estate prices - but not anymore. This will be a battle royale. I'm wagering by the end of the summer you'll be seeing $1.00 gyros, then $0.99. You get my drift.
In a month I'll run a scientific poll of all my readers to see which one folks prefer. Maybe I can get a commitment that the loser relinquishes their space to a braiding salon.
Please note: According to their ad on the SS Penguin, the first 50 guests at the BGC on Wed will receive a free Gyro platter. I don't know about you, but I'm bringing my sleeping bag and camping out Tues night. I mean, come on, a free gyro platter! It ain't $0.99 yet.