Hiding in plain sight

June 3, 2016, 1:11 p.m. | By Maniza Habib | 8 years ago

SCO reviews some of the local hidden hotspots

We all love Chipotle's burrito bowls, Santucci's artisan sandwiches and Subway's fresh footlongs, but there are some places across the street that stay hidden in the shadows of those Four Corners staples. We pass by Four Corners every day before school, after school, and during school (just kidding, because we have closed lunch, of course!), yet somehow we ignore the independent eateries just a short walk away.

Fresh Greek Grill

Fresh Greek Grill's iconic bright, blue roof stands out on the corner of Four Corners. Photo courtesy of Maniza Habib.

Opa! Fresh Greek Grill is not secretive about their Greek pride, and they shouldn't be. Along with authentic Greek eats, everything from the decoration, aroma and people are Greek. The iconic blue color of Greece on the roof stands out on University Boulevard, and the same bright blue covers the inside walls. Pictures scattered around feature important milestones of Greek history and culture. Friendly faces will greet you at the counter, ready to serve you. The gyros are crafted perfectly with whole pieces of thinly-sliced marinated beef topped with fresh vegetables and a tangy cucumber tzatziki sauce.

Vegetarian? No worries! The falafel sandwich is perfect for any vegetarian or meat lover. The deep-fried balls, made from ground chickpeas, served in a warm, wheat pita is simply satisfying. The flatbread pita is baked to a soft perfection to complement the falafel, with tossed seasoned onions, tomatoes and lettuce in the mix. However, everything comes together messily. To end lunch on a sweet note, try the baklava. This rich pastry will please anyone's sweet tooth. The paper-thin layers of pastry are layered with chopped nuts, sprinkled with cinnamon, brushed with butter, and then soaked in sugary, honey syrup. The Fresh Greek Grill is perfect for eating hummus and drinking milkshakes on their patio on sunny days.

Fresh Greek Grill is located at 25 University Blvd W, Silver Spring, MD 20901. Open between 11 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. Mon. - Sat. Prices range from $6 to $15

Kenny's Peruvian Chicken

Kenny's Peruvian Chicken is as warm and welcoming as Fresh Greek Grill. A family runs the restaurant and even the youngest is ready to serve. Inside it's hot and loud, but casual. All of the noise from the kitchen filters into the dining area, but this doesn't affect the food. The rotisserie chicken is turned to a roast and served with an array of classic Peruvian sides. The chicken is a bit dry, but with the zing of the Peruvian aji-style sauce, steamed with olive oil and mayonnaise, the flavors become savory and rich. Everyone loves macaroni and cheese, and the people at Kenny's certainly know how to please. The steamy macaroni is blended with the cheese and a perfect side to the chicken. The French fries could use a little help in the salt department, but otherwise, is a solid choice. The rich, fatty goodness at Kenny's Peruvian Chicken may not be right for every meal, but sometimes it's okay to cheat that diet a little.

Kenny's Peruvian Chicken is located at 10118 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20901. Open between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Prices range from $3 to $10

Red Maple

Small restaurants across the street often go ignored, but offer delicious meals.  Photo courtesy of Maniza Habib.

Feeling fancy? Red Maple is the perfect opportunity to have a nice night out with your friends. It provides as a good contrast to the more casual restaurants along the street. It might have a questionable exterior, but inside, it's sleek and modern. The restaurant strives to reach an optimum "zen" atmosphere. Red Maple seems to incorporate elements of an ancient Chinese philosophy that uses wood, fire, earth, metal and water as representations of material substances that the world is composed of. These elements come together to create a balanced and relaxed environment.

The restaurant is a bit on the pricier side, but it is okay to splurge from time to time, especially for great food. Jay T., a waiter at Red Maple, says that Red Maple doesn't get a lot of high school customers but their only goal is "good food and good service." He doesn't seem to be lying. There are a multitude of sushi rolls to choose from, and they are all to die for. The Rock n' Roll sushi roll lives up to its name; it's like a rock concert in your mouth. The soft avocado and succulent crab is a perfect combination dunked in soy sauce, with a tiny bit of wasabi (careful not to get your eyes watering!). Spicy Tuna, Yellowtail and East rolls all boasts their green, yellow and pink tones in a carefully positioned plate. The main dishes do not meet the sushi's standards, but are delicious nevertheless. The hot and spicy shrimp is more sweet and sour than the name suggests, but it complements the sticky jasmine rice perfectly. Overall, Red Maple is a fun night out.

Red Maple is located at 10110 Colesville Rd Silver Spring, MD 20901. Open between 11 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. weekends and 12 p.m. and 10 p.m. Sundays. Prices range from $11 to $30


Overall, these places are worth putting down that burrito and walking across the street. Change is scary, but these independent eateries are worth it. The places are mostly affordable and a fun, uncrowded place to hang with friends.

Tags: Fresh Greek Grill Kenny's Peruvian Chicken Red Maple

Maniza Habib. Hi! My name is Maniza and I'm the 2016-17 managing and news editor! My favorite color is black because it looks good on everyone and I love to dance because anybody can! Also, babies are my favorite kind of people and I love watching The … More »

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