all photos: Jeff Martin
Let’s face it, now that all the white people are moving back into the city, the suburbs are WHERE IT’S AT. With rising rent prices it’s becoming harder to find those old-time true blue collar dive bars and ethnic restaurants with good food and beverage at a reasonable price.
Will Sharp of DURKL and DJ Chris Burns, of Maryland’s Kensington and Silver Spring neighborhoods, took BYT to the mean streets of Silver Spring and Wheaton to experience what we’ve been missing inside the District line.
On the way we crushed mini beers, seafood, grog, ordered “off menu”, scoped out a porn shop, reminisced at the house where “everyone” got their first hand job, annihilated a pizza at local wrestling hot spot, and got tipsy for dirt cheap while rolling some Duck Pin.
And as always, feel free to share your favorite spots in Silver Spring and Wheaton in the comments.
Crisfield Seafood Restaurant
8012 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD
Tuesdays – Thursdays 11am- 9pm
Fridays & Saturdays 11am-10pm
Sundays Noon- 9pm
An old school counter rings the plank floorboards where waiters shuck oysters in the middle of Crisfield’s. You walk into Crisfield’s and you taste salt, horseradish, and cocktail sauce. Chris and Will have been coming to Crisfield’s with their families since they both can remember.
Since there’s nothing better than a platter of cold oysters on a hot summer day or a bowl of warm seafood bisque on a cold rainy night, you always have a comfort dish at Crisfield’s.
What we ordered: Seafood Bisque, Crab Leg Platter and mini beers.
While we devoured our seafood we got to know our new friend Bruce:
“I’ve been working at Crisfield’s since 1971. It’s a family business on its third generation. We sell high-end quality food and that’s why we’ve been around for 65 years. My favorite thing on the menu is soft shell crabs.We alternate between soft shell and oysters depending on what’s in season.”
Mandalay Restaurant and Cafe
930 Bonifant St., Silver Spring, MD 20910-4514
Mondays – Thursdays 11:30am-9:30pm
Fridays & Saturdays 11:30am-10:00pm
Since we paced ourselves eating only appetizers at Crisfield’s, Chris decided it was time to go all out on a cuisine the rest of us didn’t really know existed in the first place.
Chris: Mandalay used to be in College Park, they moved to Silver Spring a few years ago, it’s actually really popular on the weekend. I’ve recommended many dates for Svetlana here. They have pretty incredible fancy cocktails. Burma is definitely a crossroads on the spice root- so the food is pretty amazing. When you order food here you have to order it “College Park Spicy” which is code for like the hottest shit ever.
Will: College Park aka Nuclear? Is “College Park Spicy” on the menu?
Chris: No, it’s not.
Will: How do you know that?
Chris: ’cause I’m a G.
What we ordered: Green Papaya Salad with onions, vinegar and fish sauce, Samosas served with a sweet sauce; and Tofu Ohno Hin “College Park Style” (tofu in a coconut curry base).
Joe’s Record Paradise
8216 Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Mondays – Saturdays 10:00am – 9:00pm
Sunday 12:00pm – 6:00pm
We then checked out Chris and Will’s favorite Record Stoe, Joe’s Record Paradise- a treasure trove of records, rock posters, and sick aerobics VHS tapes. I am pretty sure I was the only woman in the store.
8402 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Tuesdays – Thursdays 11:30-am- 1 am
Fridays 11:30 am- 2 am
Saturday 12:30-2 am
After a quick stop at a local gun shop we headed down the street to Piratz Tavern- the best place next to Medieval Times to host your birthday party. As soon as we entered the Tavern, Chris and Will encountered a lovely barmaid by the name of Mouse.
Mouse: I’ve been working at the Piratz Tavern for 2 years. Most of the people that work here are artists in some way or singers.We have a cast of characters that come through here who are really into the whole Pirate thing and wear really elaborate costumes. If I were you I’d order the grog. People get ridiculously drunk on the grog.
Grog is a traditional naval drink that the Piratz Tavern has brought to its most potent potential. It’s basically pure booze: light, spiced and dark rum- mixed with cloves, lime and a dash of ginger beer just so that it’s not entirely alcohol. And it’s true: grog gets you ridiculously drunk.
8408 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Mondays – Fridays 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Saturdays from 10 AM to 5:00 PM
Since the Piratz’s Tavern barmaid gave Will and Chris a sweet tooth, we couldn’t help but stop in next door to Velatis Caramels, where they make all the goodiemars in house. I don’t even like candy- especially caramel and I was totally floored by the Vanilla Chewy Marshmallow cubes.
What we ordered: Vanilla Chewy Marshmallow, Chocolate Chewy Marshmallow, and Sea Salt Turtles.
11236 Georgia Ave
Wheaton, MD 20902-4618
We moved onward, to the suburb of Wheaton to check out the porn store that stood at the epicenter of the pre-internet pre-pubescent fantasies of Will and Chris. The second story “video and newstand (sic)” had a lot of merchandise: DVDs, toys, and a nice variety of video taping and electronic cleaning products.
What we purchased: don’t worry about it.
Stained Glass Pub
12510 Layhill Road
Silver Spring, MD 20906
Mondays – Thursdays 11:30 AM – 1:00 AM
Fridays & Saturdays 11:30 AM – 2:00 AM
Sundays 12:00 PM – 1:30 AM
Looking at all that porn and day laborers put us in the mood for some emotional binge eating. Thank god the next stop was Will’s child hood post-wrestling meet hang out, The Stained Glass pub.
At 4 pm on a Tuesday we were delighted to learn they The Stained Glass pub offered a half price pizza special, a bar full of 50-something retired men wearing Redskins Starter brand pull overs, and reruns of Law & Order playing on their hundreds of big screen TVs. The icing on the cake? They brought us FROSTED MUGS for our pitchers of diet coke and Bud.
What we ordered: crab-filled cheese pretzels and a large pizza- both were totally delicious.
White Oak Duckpin Lanes
11207 New Hampshire Avenue Silver Spring, Maryland 20904
Saturday 9:00am-1:00am [Cosmic Bowling starts at 10:30pm on Sat-1:00]
The best way to end your day in the Silver Spring/Wheaton Suburbs is with a game or four of Duck Pin Bowling. The games and beers are super cheap and there are tons of dead serious old people who can kick your ass on the boards.