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Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard the stories about General Store customers feeling as welcome as guns in the Wizards locker room. The truth is, I’ve stood there at the counter myself and felt the storm clouds roll in, as chef Gillian Clark and business partner Robin Smith performed their jobs with a tight-lipped austerity, as if actively trying to subvert the country quaintness of this eatery carved out of an historic Forest Glen post office. Maybe the pair is trying to redefine the hospitality business. I don’t know. I don’t care all that much, either. Clark and Smith appear to channel all their energies toward the kitchen, not their customers. If that imbalance leaves a bad taste in your mouth, you’re likely not General Store material. I’ve learned after multiple visits just to accept that Clark’s warmth is hidden inside her dishes, whether her lightly dressed tarragon chicken salad sandwich or her chef-driven take on a Philly cheesesteak. Hell, her buttermilk fried chicken, all crunch and salty savor, is proof that a big, generous heart beats behind Gillian Clark’s moody public persona.

6 Post Office Road, Silver Spring (301) 562-8787

Photo by Darrow Montgomery