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Gillian Clark and partner Robin Smith had to wage battles on several fronts to finally launch their folksy eatery, the General Store, in the former Forest Glen post office in Silver Spring. Montgomery County, historic preservationists, even the landlord—everyone, it seems, wanted to tell Clark and Smith how to build out the 19th-century structure, down to the exact number of parking spaces they needed. It was enough to make Clark and Smith want to walk away from their project, which they seriously considered doing. I’m glad they stuck with it. The joint exudes a sort of sterile country vibe, part old-timey kitsch and part burn-unit clean, but Clark’s food remains as down-home and comfy as ever. Well, when she still has some to sell. The General Store has already developed a reputation for running out of its famed fried chicken before closing time; fortunately, there are tasty backup options. I’m thinking specifically about Clark’s chunky tarragon chicken-salad sandwich, which employs the namesake herb without allowing its anise flavors to dominate, as they so often do. The fish tacos are an excellent handheld bite, too, stuffed to capacity with fried whitefish, avocado, and melted cheese. At this point, the only unresolved issue for Clark and Smith is the opening of the downstairs Post Office Tavern. But even that hurdle will be cleared by next week, when the pub officially opens to the public, serving up pizzas, brats, and other beery foods.6 Post Office Road, Silver Spring (301) 562-8787
Next up: Granville Moore’s