Thursday, September 23, 2010

There But For the Grace...

Most every morning when I walk to the Silver Spring Metro station I see a red motorized wheelchair parked in a corner of the glass "V" bus shelter at Bonifant Street and Dixon Avenue.  The wheel chair is occupied by a slumped individual with a coat draped completely over his or her person.

One morning I actually observed a passing pedestrian lift up the corner of the jacket to check if the person was OK (i.e. alive).  At that moment I still couldn't make out the person's gender.

It was thus with great surprise and concern that I saw the red motorized wheelchair with its fully revealed occupant today around noon sitting next to the Safeway on Fenton Street.  An elderly homeless man was sleeping in the wheelchair under the shade of a tree.

Does anyone know anything about this individual?  It deeply distresses me that here in Montgomery County, one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, this disabled senior citizen is living out on the streets of our "revitalized" community.

I suspect that if this man decided to spend the night or take a nap on Ellsworth Drive, he wouldn't be there long.  Surely our local social services know of this individual.  Why is he not being helped?

Any insights would be welcomed.


This gentleman was sleeping  at the "V" bus shelter this morning at 7:45 am.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Little Tavern Lives On (Somewhat)

Good to Go Carryout: Laurel Tavern Donuts

Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Washington Post
p. E3

When Will Kwon opened Laurel Tavern Donuts in 2008, he stepped, quite unaware, into one long shadow. "It's a doughnut shop," he insisted, referring to the business plan he had crafted. "But people kept asking for burgers!" 

Message received. Within a week of opening the doors to the cozy, green-and-white, faux-Tudor space, Will and his wife, Jin, rolled out mini-burgers, pairing them with house-made doughnuts. That did the trick.

The burgers (three for $2.99) are still small, square and topped with the same blend of chopped onions and Montreal steak seasoning as those sold by the previous tenant: Little Tavern, part of a now-defunct chain. The Kwons got the recipe from a woman who was a longtime manager there, "but now we buy a better grade of beef," Will said.

They also make sure the burgers are uniformly cooked, unlike those I remember from the Georgetown outlet I frequented during my bar-hopping days. The flavorful meat is nestled in a soft bun.

"Club LT," which started up in 1927 in Louisville, popularized the slogan "Buy 'em by the bag," selling single burgers for a dime and coffee for a nickel. The company relocated to the Washington area in 1928. Opened in 1939, the Laurel shop was among the last few in the chain to shut down.

In its new incarnation under the Kwons, who owned a doughnut franchise in Memphis, the doughnuts are the headliners. And for good reason. The glazed doughnut (79 cents) is as light and fluffy as a Krispy Kreme, and it melts in your mouth. Ditto the angel creme, strawberry jelly and apple cinnamon.

Will, 49, begins making them from scratch starting at 3 a.m. "The first batch is ready at 5," he says. "We open at 5:30." During the next three hours or so, he will have turned out two giant batches (he won't divulge numbers) of assorted doughnuts displayed for public inspection in bright yellow trays.

The menu recently evolved to include a short list of traditional breakfast items. Eggs and cheese and ham and eggs ($2.49) come off Jin's tiny grill in perfect condition: no watery interior, no singed edges. And like everything on the menu, they're served from sunup to sundown. The eggs taste rich, but Jin, 46, insists she doesn't slather the grill with oil or butter when making them. "People don't like greasy," she says.

Other winners include the breakfast platter: two eggs with a generous helping of bacon, sausage or turkey, home fries and toast ($3.99); grilled cheese ($2.49); and grilled ham and cheese ($2.99).

The shop is all about takeout. Missing are the eight or 10 stools at the busy counter where the person who cooked your food was the same one who rang the register.

Laurel Tavern attracts a motley crew. Feds from Fort Meade and NSA grab and go. Washington-bound MARC train riders show up for their fix. And employees of the Laurel Park racecourse have a standing order of five dozen doughnuts each week, Jin reports.

It should be against the laws of nature to serve fine eggs and doughnuts without also pouring good coffee. Not to worry. The Kwons brew a Colombian blend that's bold and beautiful.

- Tony Glaros

Laurel Tavern Donuts 115 Washington Blvd. S., Laurel. 301-362-7551. Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m; Saturdays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Its good to know that a remnant of the great Little Tavern chain survives. Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Kwon.

Jerry A. McCoy, President
Silver Spring Historical Society
Silver Spring, Maryland
(Former home of Little Tavern #1, built 1935, destroyed 2003.)

Circa 1940 advertisement for Silver Spring's Little Tavern
#1, formerly located at 8230 Georgia Avenue (corner of
Ripley Street).  Collection of the Silver Spring Historical Society.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Time to Move?

While flipping thru the Whole Foods "Whole Deal" bi-monthly newsletter I spot an "article" on sale wine they are featuring.  "Wait a minute," I think.

Then I see it at the bottom..."Please note: in some governmental and geographical areas, we are not legally permitted to sell wine in our stores. Time to move?"

No, time for our Montgomery County government to privatize the sale of alcohol.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Discovery Communications HQ Hostage Crisis

For two hours while at work in DC I kept tabs on the unfolding drama of the hostage situation playing out at the Discovery Communications headquarters in downtown Silver Spring. Far more riveting than any crime drama on television, the event came to conclusion around quitting time a little before 5:30 pm.

Hopping onto a practically empty Metro (see what you folks who leave town early for a long Labor Day weekend miss?) I arrived at Silver Spring.  From the Metro platform I could see that Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue were still closed to traffic but that commuters were being allowed to exit Metro on the Discovery side of the station.  

Approaching Wayne Avenue I could see a press conference taking place and went over to see what I had seen earlier on the air.  It was somewhat surreal to see it all in person.

Unfortunately this was not downtown Silver Spring's first high profile hostage event. Just two blocks away on February 9, 1977, seven individuals were taken hostage in the Citizens Bank and Trust Co. of Maryland at Blair Park Shopping Center, known today as Blair Plaza.  Twenty-seven-year-old Vietnam veteran Stephen Wyatt Gregory, armed with two rifles and 250 rounds of ammunition, fired about 200 shots inside the bank.

Seven hours later Gregory surrendered after negotiations with police, FBI, and his mother.

Pedestrians were allowed on Colesville Road
but only on the opposite side of the street from
Discovery Communications.
Copyright Jerry A. McCoy 2010.
News 4's Pat Collins reporting from the scene.  Copyright Jerry A. McCoy 2010.
A scene you don't see every day during PM rush hour.  Copyright Jerry A. McCoy 2010.
WUSA-TV 9's Derek McGinty (on knees in white shirt and nice tie) asks Montgomery County Chief of Police J. Thomas Manger about the death of terrorist James J. Lee who held three people at gunpoint.  The press conference was held at the corner of Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue.  Copyright Jerry A. McCoy 2010.

Broadcast satellite trucks on Colesville Road between the Silver Spring Metro Station and 2nd Avenue..
Copyright Jerry A. McCoy 2010.