Downtown Silver Spring Opening, Construction Updates

Several businesses are in various stages of opening and construction in downtown Silver Spring.

Citizens & Culture appears to be ready to open. The 15,000-square-foot restaurant at 8113 Georgia Ave., which hosted a hiring open house earlier this month, will seat approximately 500 people and features a retractable roof, an outdoor patio, and garden walls. A variety of local ingredients will be utilized on the menu in order to create flavors inspired by Ethiopian, Chinese, Thai, and West Indian cuisines, which are abundant in this region, according to a MoCo360 report.

Citizens & Culture is the second downtown Silver Spring establishment from Tsega Hailemariam, who opened Kaldi’s Social House in 2013. A second Kaldi’s location is located in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Va. Hailemariam initially intended to open a sports bar in the space previously occupied by Pacci’s Pizzeria at 8113 Georgia Ave. With the aid of chef consultant Jessica Shields, the concept evolved into a more casual fine dining eatery within the two-story building, he told MoCo360.

The restaurant will be headed by chef Ryan Hackney, a Beat Bobby Flay alum who has previously worked at Macon Bistro & Larder, Charlie Palmer Steak, and most recently Valor Brewpub. Hackney recently made headlines for revealing part of Citizens & Culture’s menu in the most unlikely of places: a birthday party for society scammer Anna “Delvey” Sorokin.

Citizens & Culture was recently named one of Eater’s “Most Anticipated Spring Restaurant Openings to Track Around D.C.

Awdamet Market will open in the former home of 7-Eleven at 8202 Georgia Ave., which closed in November of 2021.

Downtown Silver Spring’s newest coffee shops, Java Nation and Prime Coffee & Bakery, are under construction at 1010 Wayne Ave. and 930 Thayer Ave., respectively. 

Java Nation owner Simona Cabana said to MoCo360 last August that Java Nation’s downtown Silver Spring location will be a dual concept consisting of both an “express” coffee bar and a full-service restaurant.

Java Nation operates outlets in Kensington, on Rockville Pike in North Bethesda, and in Kentlands in Gaithersburg. The company opened its first store in 2012 and features freshly roasted coffee and locally sourced produce, according to its website. In addition to hot and iced coffee drinks, smoothies, and breakfast/brunch items, the cafés serve lunch and dinner. For example, the menu of the North Bethesda location lists burgers, a Reuben, turkey BLT, chicken banh mi, and shawarma, among other items, including flatbreads, soups, and salads.

An official opening date has not been set, however, MoCo360 reported that it should open sometime this year.

Prime Coffee & Bakery will occupy 930 Thayer Ave., next to the post office, in what has been empty space on the ground floor of the Thayer & Spring apartments. The outlet will have seating of up to 49 people, according to plans.

The coffee shop is the trade name under Dream Line International LLC, a Laurel-based coffee importer, and roaster. It’s not clear from documents filed with the county if coffee will be roasted on this site or somewhere else. The company has budgeted $500,000 for the build-out; no potential opening date was given.

In addition, Crave Café will open soon at 1200 East-West Highway, filling the void left by Bump ‘n Grind’s closure in May 2021; Starbucks will open at The Blairs Shops at 1316 East-West Highway, where Peet’s Coffee previously operated.

Sky Blue Lounge is now open in the former home of Shalla Restaurant & Bar at 8081 Georgia Ave. Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema named Shalla Restaurant & Bar one of his “7 Favorite Places to Eat Right Now” last August, and the restaurant was also featured along with Parkway Deli in the Post’s Fall 2022 Dining Guide.

The county’s Board of License Commissioners held a hearing on March 16 on the application for an alcohol license for the Solaire Social food hall at the Solaire 8200 Dixon apartment building, but not much else appears to have progressed. Solaire Social is the first of two food halls announced to open in downtown Silver Spring; Commas is set to open this year at Ellsworth Place.

Construction is underway at Uniqlo, which is set to open this fall along with Gold’s Gym in the Downtown Silver Spring development. Uniqlo, a subsidiary of Japan’s Fast Retailing Co., will occupy 10,058 square feet at 914 Ellsworth Drive, according to Washington Business Journal. The space was formerly home to retailer Ulta Beauty, which relocated in 2020 to 8510 Fenton St. in the same development. XOA Lifestyle occupied the space for a short time before closing in November 2021.

Outback Steakhouse will open in the former home of Not Your Average Joe’s at Ellsworth Place, however, an opening timetable has not been announced.

Lastly, Mix Bar & Grill appears to be changing concepts. The county’s Board of License Commissioners will hold a hearing on May 18 on the application for an alcohol license for Juste Lounge & Restaurant at 8241 Georgia Ave.

Did we miss anything? Let us know.

Photos by David Lay

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