Monday, April 25, 2011

Valet Parking At A Shopping Center Restaurant -- And Other News From South Of The Border

. . . and that means south of Columbia.  The restaurant scene off Hopkins Road has become so hot that they need valet parking.

Facci Ristorante has brought a taste of urban living to the suburbs, and it's a welcome sight considering that more than half of the shopping center at Rte 29 and Johns Hopkins Road will be restaurants -- Facci, Kloby's Smokehouse, La Palapa Too, and more.  The lot of fills, which is inconvenient but can also be unpleasant with cars racing for spots or trapped as people maneuver, wait, back up, etc.

Both Facci and Kloby's are in mid-expansion.  Peering into the windows on Saturday, they both look weeks away from hosting people in their expanded space, at the bourbon bar (Kloby's), or in the private room (Facci).  But construction continues.  In fact, Kloby's has applied to expend its liquor license to the new space.

The newest addition: Tandoor Grill.  The counter-service Indian spot has replaced Moonlight Cafe.  They added kabobs and other Indian to a sandwich menu, and they have added dinner hours, which means that I can think of seven Indian restaurants from Rte 175 to Johns Hopkins Road.

I still need to try Tandoor Grill.  Mrs. HowChow was really excited by the lassis, which are fruit and yogurt smoothies.  We also thought there were interesting dishes that we hadn't seen on other menus.  Pretty strong for a place that clearly needs to depend on takeout.

In other news, Kloby's now sells bottles of its barbecue sauces.  I love Kloby's smoked meats, but grilling season has officially begun.  So this might be my way to make my first real attempts at grilling my own ribs at home.

Let's be clear.  These restaurants are at Rte 29 and Johns Hopkins Road.  A little south of Columbia.  A little north of Scaggsville and Fulton.  But clearly not Laurel -- the mailing address that the Applied Physics Lab apparently wanted decades ago.  Inspired by my recent trip to NYC, I want to dub this Triangle Below Columbia -- or Tribeco.


TeeJay said...

HowChow, you might want to be cautious assigning names to areas, as this NYT article details. ;)

Anonymous said...

Valet parking does not solve the parking space shortage. So the valet does laps of the parking lot while you dine? Love the restaurants in this shopping center but rarely go due to the parking situation.

Brendela said...

We noticed this Saturday night when we went to Kloby's (thankfully late enough that the lot wasn't bad). At first glance valet parking seems crazy, but I guess it is a good solution for Facci.

Regarding Kloby's expansion...we were talking to the owner about it. Construction should be finished this Friday and then they'll be waiting on the utilities to be hooked up by BGE. He's hoping to have it open in 2-3 weeks if BGE gets in there. A month tops.

fultie said...

SoCo? NoMa? NoFu?!? LOL we've got some possibilities...

BikeTraveller22 said...

Valet parking? Wow. Enlarging the picture it reads "Facci complimentary valet by Unipark". Unipark is a local area parking valet service. Sounds free and only for Facci guests.

Previously, you could park in the office park behind the center, which has tons of empty parking at night, and walk around. But then they put up a gate and you couldn't do that anymore. I never had to check the many other office parks just down the road.

My best guess is the center owner / other tenants required Facci to provide this service as a condition of expansion.

The cars are probably being parked in the very same business park that was free. Could be a business park owned by the same people who own the strip center so all Facci had to do is provide the valet service itself, not lease the parking.

I'll try to figure it out in the next couple of days and post.

HowChow said...

@BikeTraveller -- Please do! I'd love to post the details. It did seem free for Facci customers.

Chris said...

Ok the shopping plaza that hosts Klobys and Facci comes up way too often in your posts for you to be more than a few miles away...or somewhat objective.

I basically eat out at least one time a day somewhere in Howard county. This plaza is within 2 miles of my home and between the traffic and the lack of consistency at Klobys, and the snootiness of Facci, I find myself yawning.

If you want to step up to professional food review, you should realize that closeness to your house does not equal good food. And if I need a valet to park for me at this crazy tiny parking middle of nowhere plaza it speaks more to lack of restaurants in the area than anything else.

El Azteca. But probably 2 extra miles for you to drive. The food is consistent, good, and you can always find parking.

kam said...

This is not a professional review site. This is a gentleman who likes writing about food as a hobby. I don't think he's ever stated any plans to change this. I'm not sure where you're getting this from, other than your wish that he'd post less about places you don't like.


Kristi said...

@Chris: If you aren't interested in the restaurants at this shopping center, where would you recommend? Because like Kam said, this isn't a professional review site, it's a place where people can talk about the food that they enjoy.

Also-La Palapa Too is owned by the same people as El Azteca.

kam said...

Kristi: Aha. I'd been wondering about that for a while.

For the record, I like El Azteca and Kloby's, and am not so big on Facci, so I am not all "Rah, rah, I agree with everything HowChow says!" He also has posted several nice things about El Azteca; it's just been a while.


HowChow said...

@Chris -- I'd love a guest post and a cellphone shot about what dishes you recommend at El Azteca. (Or elsewhere. I love the "Trolling" posts where people write three paragraphs.) I haven't been to El Azteca in a while, although I did like it. I need to go there and Zapatas.

KAM is right that this isn't a professional review. It's a hobby blog. KAM has me confused with a gentleman, but you can rest easy knowing that the blog doesn't aspire to step up to anything.

Annifer Flemiren said...

If the resto trend there keeps on going, then valet parking should really be in order. At this point, how many restos are already there? People living nearby must be lucky because of the variety of choices now. Or maybe that makes their decision-making even harder?