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Oct 14, 2007 11:48 AM

Abandoned Restaurants

I thought it would be interesting to ask people about restaurants they drive by everyday, which somehow manage to stay in business despite the fact that customers are rarely ever seen. I thought of this becuase when driving up to Laurel, MD, I always pass a place called La Gringada, which 90% of the time, is utterly deserted. We actually stopped in one time to try it, which was very awkward. It was completely dark inside, no other patrons, and I believe our meal was microwaved by a highschool drop-out. And this place has been there for at least 10 years. How do these places stay in business, and who frequents them? Have any good stories about terrible, deserted restaurants? And has anyone else out there been to La Gringada?

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    1. About 10 years ago someone recommended La Gringada to me and I went. Big mistake but the curiosity factor plays a big role when you see a place every day. All I remember about the meal was the distinctly velveeta like cheese. At times though you do see a smattering of cars out front.

      1. Gringada opened in the mid '70's. I used to drive from Silver Spring to Vienna to go to Anita's when it first opened in the early '70's. A friend told me about the "new" Gringada's and how good it was, on route 1 just south of Laurel. I went. Thirty + years and I still haven't returned.

        1. We just stopped in there last week, and it has a lot of promise. There is no longer the salsa with the consistency of ketchup. No more microwaved food. I had a turkey mole with some nice mole negro, and my husband had a combo platter that certainly passed muster, if the tamale and the chalupa are criteria to judge by. The outdoor patio looks very nice, too.

          1. I remember going with some co-workers to Ruffino's on Lee Hwy in Arlington, which brags about being there since '75. One lunch was enough to return it to drive-by status.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bob W

              I was also thinking about Ruffino's. Some of these places might just serve as a way to get a spouse out of the house.

              1. re: MsDiPesto

                Egad! I haven't been to Ruffino's for 30 years, but back then, it was pretty good. Of course we didn't have Olive Garden to compare it to back then either. <g>