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Posted at 5:27 PM ET, 01/22/2009

The General Store Opens Saturday -- Sort Of

By Julia Beizer

Comfort food lovers have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the General Store, a new venture from chef Gillian Clark (formerly of Colorado Kitchen) and her partner Robin Smith. As Tom Sietsema reported in a November 2008 Dish column, the Silver Spring restaurant is intended to be a "Cracker Barrel with good food," serving classic "American road food" like fried chicken and casseroles. Starting this Saturday, diners can explore the new menu -- provided they don't mind taking that food to-go.

"We're still having a parking issue" with the county, said Smith. The restaurateurs have been working to change their operating license from a mercantile certificate to a restaurant certificate. According to Smith, in order to have a restaurant certificate, the business must offer 30 parking spaces for patrons. The General Store only owns seven. The restaurateurs are trying to build a case for the county, but in the meantime, they've just decided to open as a carryout shop. The operating hours are still being worked out during this transition period, but Smith says they plan to be open with a slightly limited menu this Saturday and Sunday between 1:30 and 10 p.m. Breakfast hours could be added next week, but the restaurant will be closed on Monday. If you can't snag a spot in the restaurant's lot, try the nearby office building at 10 Post Office Road.

Any idea when the dining room will open for sit-down eaters? Smith hates to hazard a guess given all the delays on this project, but hopes to have the permitting issues worked out within two weeks.

The pair has not yet chosen a chef to oversee the day-to-day kitchen operations, so expect to see them in the building. "It's going to be the Gillian and Robin show," said Smith. "Lots of long days."

-- Julia

By Julia Beizer  | January 22, 2009; 5:27 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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Posted by: subwayguy | January 23, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I went around 1:30 today. A few others were there and we went to the door. The chef and other workers looked at us, but did not open the door. I guess it wasn't opening today at 1:30 after all! oh well...

Posted by: zoe25 | January 24, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I went over at about 3:30pm. Their were lots of people there waiting for their orders - since it's just the two of them for now it was taking a while. I got several good reviews from neighbors who had stopped by already.

Posted by: Chris2009 | January 24, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Just picked up and devoured an order of fried chicken with greens and cornbread. Side of mac and cheese for someone else, who reported it was good.

Terrific, though the cornbread isn't the style I like. Pies evidently sold out within an hour of opening.

Posted by: jweissmn | January 24, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

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