In response to “The New Leftovers” (Young & Hungry, 5/3):

OK. So you came to Takoma Park. Sorry you missed it. And you say you experienced Mark’s Kitchen. Well you missed that, too. You see, Mark’s is an amazing place. You can cross-country ski there in the snowstorms of January for breakfast, saunter in just to see who’s there as if it were some kind of student union, only it’s a hang out for singles, couples, families, seniors from a senior citizens’ home up the street. Everyone comes with their relatives, their boyfriends, their female friends, their children, their softball team, their book club. And always Mark is there to make you feel welcome, playing with the little kids, seeing someone off at the door as if you just dropped by his home. The waitresses are so personable I feel as if I have gained new friends. I introduce every new friend I bring in as if it’s important for everyone to know each other. And it is. When I go there to study, Trish keeps the iced tea or coffee coming long after I have asked for seconds. The other night, when the other waitress, Carol, discovered I had come in alone she insisted on walking me home along with her husband and son who had come by at closing time.

As for the food, it’s great and, as you say, refreshingly reasonable. All but an item or two is made solely on the premises. The everyday specials are always vegetarian. Great meals winter and summer. Excellent coffee and teas. And the desserts are great, too. Home made pastries and light fruit tarts. And of course, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

It’s fun to get to know the multicultural staff, some paid, some there because Mark is their friend. Korean, Japanese, European, Anglo, Salvadoran. Everyone is gracious and personable with the customers and with each other.

My son read your article and made the astute comment, “This article is more about the people who wrote it than about Mark’s Kitchen. Sounds like two obnoxious kids who pulled into town, wrote a snide article, then ducked out.” So what can I say? You missed it. And it’s understandable, actually. You came at a hectic time on this particular Sunday morning. So come again. No hard feelings. Only a few deep sighs of disappointment on the part of a very professional staff and appreciative customers who are all proud of the friendly experience Mark’s Kitchen offers the community.

Takoma Park, Md.

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