For nearly a month, the General Store, chef Gillian Clark‘s home-spun Silver Spring restaurant with the killer fried chicken, has been operating as a take-out joint only. Montgomery County apparently wanted Clark and her partner, Robin Smith, to have more dedicated parking spaces before issuing them a certificate of occupancy.
The matter dragged on for weeks, Smith says. She’d call the bureaucrat in charge of commercial properties, who couldn’t issue a certificate of occupancy without a parking waiver. Then Smith would call the desk jockey in charge of parking waivers, who couldn’t issue a waiver without a certificate of occupancy. This Kafkaesque scenario ended only when Clark and Smith’s lawyer finally made a call.
“Magically, it all came together” when the lawyer called, Smith says.
The renovated 19th-century General Store, with seating for about 30 to 35 diners, has been operating as a sit-down restaurant since Tuesday, Feb. 24, Smith says. Parking for the restaurant can be found in two locations—-behind the store, where there are seven spots, and across the street, where there are about 15 more spaces. So far, parking hasn’t been a problem, although competition for those spaces could increase once Clark and Smith open the Post Office Tavern, which is located downstairs. The watering hole has seats for about 13-18 people.
Speaking of the tavern, Clark and Smith also have their liquor license in hand, and should the county make its expected delivery, the General Store will be selling beer tomorrow. The list is limited now, but will expand in the near future, Smith promises.