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Places you go to because you like the owners

  • f

I doubt that I'm the first to wonder about this so there is probably an existing thread that covers this.

However, I've been reading Chowhound daily for months so I don't think there's a recent thread.

I live in the southern part of Rockville ("North Bethesda").

I love going to Ambrosia and Ize's Bagels. The food is fine...nothing exciting but I really, really, like the owners.

Do you have any favorites where you go there because of the staff?

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  1. Sushi Zen in Falls Church and India's in Annapolis, both have good food, and extremely nice owners/chefs.

    1. In your neck of the woods (Rockville/Bethesda), I have found the following proprietor-owned shops to have exceptionally friendly owners/staff:
      Mia's Pizza
      Tony Lin's
      A&J
      Joe's Noodle
      Bob's 88 Shabu Shabu / Bob's Noodle 66
      Bobby's Crabcakes

      1. I can post on the opposite of this, which would be Primo Italiano in Reston. I boycotted starting a few years ago and continually have heard bad stories about the guy. Yesterday in fact, though, I heard he stopped interacting with customers and may not be there at all anymore, so maybe I'll go back - I miss the food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dennis S

          Oh, but I do have to add Jimmy's in Herndon. You can feel as if you're at Jimmy's home, especially when there's any Buffalo team playing any sport on tv.

        2. Dino in Cleveland Park- good food but I really like Dean and Kay Gold, the owners, as well as all of the waitstaff.

          1 Reply
          1. I like the food at Hollywood East on the Boulevard (the menu is large enough for anybody to find something good that they like) but Jeanette, the owner, is so personable that she adds grace to place when she is there.

            1. I like the owner at Bob's too (I assume it's Bob), he's always so glad to talk about the food. Also, the owner at the Taco Shop at Washingtonian Center that shares space with a gas station. The place is spotless, he's always upgrading but keeping the food real, always wants to make sure you have plenty of salsas and hot peppers, gets your food together quickly and accurately, and apologizes if it takes just a bit long.

              1 Reply
              1. re: blue ribbon baker

                Taqueria Distrito Federal. I like the owner better than the food and the food is pretty good.

              2. Solly's Tavern on U Street- LOVE Solly and his PBR cans! (And Australian meat pies...mmm...)

                1. For me its usually less about the owners then about the staff, since I rarely have an interaction with owners/managers (except at Butterfield 9 where the manager was very friendly and had recognized me from past visits).

                  When I lived in Adams Morgan made The Diner my local hangout because I really loved the staff. Plus the food was pretty good at a cheap price. It was the perfect neighborhood spot. (Except on the weekends during breakfast/brunch hours).

                  1. Tokyo Sushi in Glen Burnie/Pasadena. Doesn't hurt that the sushi rocks, and the sashimi is some of the finest in town. It's been great watching the owner's kid grow up at the restaurant, from playing with legos and trucks to doing his homework and rocking the PSP. I love the owner's smile and warm greeting when we come in. It's truly a joy to be greeted that way.

                    Bella Napoli on Mountain Road in Glen Burnie/Pasadena. Pasquale is always there, always doing the rounds, and is always taking great care of his customers. He said nearly all of their business is repeat business. The make their own fresh mozarella (it is divine) and serve great pies. Between the food, the warmth and friendliness of the staff, and the wine (house chianti carafes make you feel like you're back in the old country; Thursday is half-price wine night for all bottles, we had a stellar Chianti reserva for a ridiculously low $18), this place is one we will keep coming back to, again and again.

                    Thai Landing in Mt. Vernon. The owner will give you little candies and chat with you. I think the prices are a bit high for Thai food, but always end up going there over other Thai places because of the proprieter.

                    1. One-Eyed Mike as well, but for Piratz Tavern. I'm guessing he does double duty?

                      1. Restaurant Eve. Cathal and Meshelle obviously care about what they're doing, and they're just really cool people. And that goes double for Todd Thrasher.

                        1. Good idea for a thread.

                          Santa Fe Cafe in Rosslyn. Nice story re. the owner and staff. His dream to own a restaurant, bought a place, kept the staff on who wanted to stay, helped them become US citizens, and now they help run the place. Always closed on federal holidays to give staff the day off; everyone is really nice; service is good; and the food is consistent.

                          Maneki Neko in Falls Church: Again, nice owners, nice staff. Very child friendly restaurant. You feel like a regular after having been a few times. Active in the community, etc..

                          1. Il Porto on Muddy Branch in Gaithersburg. Pines of Rome on Hampden La in Bethesda, when Marco is there. Barking Dog on Elm St in Bethesda. And believe it or not, I would go back to the Red Rock Canyon at the Rio because the manager has been consistently responsive to all complaints.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: nickdanger

                              nick - What about Pines of Rome do you like? I have many friends who really like it... but I must be missing something.

                              1. re: keithdcil

                                For me, it is the neighborhood Italian place I grew up with on LI. Servers who know you and your kids, specials like scallops in shell, fresh fish, and fritto misto, cheap, but bad house red, white pizza, and the surprise dessert you will get on occasion. Yes, parking is tough, lighting is dark, but Marco will cook anything you want when he's there to oversee the kitchen, and you can make as much noise as you want

                            2. In your neck of the woods (n.bethesda/s.rockville), Seven Seas . Exceptionally friendly family owned place. Great Chinese seafood too.

                              1. I'll second Visions in Bethesda.... Chefs Tony and Iddy are fantastic and really like to meet and talk to their customers. I've had some great meals there (and some that were off a bit) but they are always open to suggestions. Ex-McCormick and Schmitt team so their seafood is usally good.

                                1. I like Mark and Orlando's food but I LOVE the place because the two of them are so open and welcoming. The place really has a warm neighborhood feel even though the "hood" in question is the ever popular overrun Dupont

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: anunez

                                    I totally agree. Chef Orlando even came out and greeted me the first time I ate there. The waitstaff is friendly as well. A nice neighborhood spot. But I don't always see a lot of people in there. Maybe it's because when I've been there has been on the more early side (5:30-6:30) and during a weekday. I always worry that not enough people are dining there because its good, affordable, and laid back.

                                  2. I'm not sure if they're the owners, but I always get really good service at Tandoori Nights in Arlington. The bartenders and waiters are super friendly, making conversation, telling you what they put in dishes, etc.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: bylinemjf

                                      Italian Pines in Gburg...Ricardo is super nice and we love the food.
                                      Antojitos in Gburg...owner is so friendly, our dishes have been hit or miss, keep going back.
                                      Mia's Bethesda...super nice and really like the food
                                      Brasserie Montecarlo...Sonny is super nice and attentive..and we love the food