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May 8, 2007 07:07 AM

Save your fave!

It's one thing to lose a favorite restaurant to "circumstances beyond control" - lost a lease, loss of key personnel, etc. It's another to go in visit after visit and see the place nearly empty, and to have that uneasy feeling of "How long can they last with this little business?" One has the feeling that if only people would try the place, taste the food, or whatever, the business would come, but yet that first step seems to be the hardest.

Having lost two faves recently (Ras Doobie's and Cafe Amore) due at least in part to insufficient customer traffic, I'd like to ask local 'hounds to post recs for their faves that give one that sad "This is wonderful, why aren't there more people here?" feeling. Maybe if we 'hounds spread the word more vigorously for some of these "deserve to make it" kinds of places, we can keep at least some of them going for all to enjoy.

Trust me, to see your under-appreciated fave go under is not a good feeling, so let's do what we can to prevent it.

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  1. What about Ten-O-Six? When I lived in Fed Hill, I used to love it and always got great food with great service, but there was never anyone else there. I haven't been in awhile, for some reason it's never on the top of my mind, but I hope it doesn't close!

    1. Unfortunately it's too late for many of my's been a tough year. I just read that Noah's on the Side in Ellicott City has closed. They truly had some of the best sandwiches anywhere, and were terrific in their use of country ham. A was also a Cafe Amore fan, and miss them. The last few times that I was at Oriental Manor for dinner, and La Sirinita (Glen Burnie), they were both nearly empty. In the past this wasn't the case, so I'm not sure if it's my timing, or if their business has really dropped. But I'd hate to lose both of these as well.

      1. I miss Red Sage already... I can't think of any other of my faves that aren't very busy. I guess Willow is pretty busy now that is has been open for a little while now. It is right around the corner from my house, and I am always suprised sometimes when I go and it seems kind of quiet, but I think that has kind of changed now.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ktmoomau

          You know the irony is that the restaurant is often quite hoppin but the bar is often dead as can be.

          1. re: ktmoomau

            Has anything been placed in the Red Sage location or any rumors of another restaurant going in? It's a nice, big location for something new.

          2. I think this area has become over saturated with places to eat, and in many different forms.
            Thus, the old "Mon and Pops" become only local stalwarts, but the locals tend to want the newest and latest, and there seems to be plenty of that going around. I only hope that places like Conn Ave, and Bethesda, Rockville and Fairfax and falls Church Va etc. can hold onto some of the eclectic mix of "family and privately owned eat spots that make going out to dine a memorable experience. I think in Tysons Corner you can still hear an Opera singer at Da Domenicos while dining on their specialty Veal Chop. I hope they can compete with the new growth out there! Watch out soon we'll all be eating at the Macaroni Grill or Olive Garden, Not Me!

            1. Warthog,

              Since I just recently moved to Federal Hill, Ras Doobie's was on the top of my "must try" list based solely on my respect for your posting and your obvious love of the place. I am disappointed and somewhat guilty over the fact that I will never get the chance to do so.

              What is obvious to me is that I can't afford to wait when a place is getting really good reports, especially if it's the kind of little mom and pop place I love so well.

              Here's hoping that Mr. Doobie reopens soon in a new location.

              5 Replies
              1. re: JonParker

                I'm trying to find out what's up with Doobie. I just hope he stays in the area, and doesn't head back to Jamaica. If I hear anything about whether he's going to work for somebody else, I'll post immediately.

                In the mean time, does anybody know if the little carry-out Jamaican place just north of 33rd on the east side of Greenmount is still there? If so, that's (typing name phonetically) Soul-gee, and his stuff is also quite good. I may be remembering wrong, but I think that Doobie is from a rural area in the west end of Jamaica, and Soul-gee (again, I'm likely mangling the name) is from an urban area on the east side of Jamaica, so there's a certain stylistic difference, but each of them is quitre good in their respective styles. I only ate there once or twice, but everything I tried was good.

                Different than Doobie's, not better or worse, and definitely worth trying, provided you live close enough to do carry-out, or if you don't mind chowing down in your car as I did.

                1. re: Warthog

                  I had jerk chicken from there once and it was awesome. I've tried to go back severals times but they never seem to be open, the storefront is still there so who knows.

                  1. re: Warthog

                    Have you tried Carribean Kitchen on Calvert St. by Mercy Hospital?

                  2. re: JonParker

                    Anyone who can cook like that, I do believe we will hear from. But the business is just so fragile. When something really good comes along that we can champion, then Ken is right, we need to make some noise. That's what bandwagons are for.

                    At least I don't think he'll go corporate!