After a somewhat less than illustrious gastronomic experience at Underground Pizza, I felt it was time to give another spot in Silver Spring a chance. I was given somewhat cryptic instructions from a friend, which I deciphered as “we are meeting at a restaurant called The Angry Jerk in downtown Silver Spring at 6:30pm.” I am pleased to report that it was well worth the trip. It’s a quick ten-minute walk from the red line– which one might say for most of downtown Silver Spring or Wheaton.
The Hood: Downtown Silver Spring centers around the confluence of several major corridors, most notably Georgia Avenue, which goes the whole way from the burbs into DC. Georgia is “the strip,” going a north-south path from Eastern Avenue, which forms the northeastern border of DC proper. Silver Spring has morphed from a mid-sized city with a modest downtown slash federal bureaucratic industrial complex edge city in the 1980s to something resembling a mixed-use, proper, larger city in the modern day.
The population isn’t that much higher than it was in 1970, but the past ten years especially have seen an explosive growth in residential development. The city boasts a population density of over 10,000 people per square mile, which puts it in the same tier as Boston, Washington, and Chicago (not to mention similarly dense suburbs that the average person hasn’t heard of, like Lakewood, Ohio, or, of course, my personal favorite, Hamtramck, Michigan!).
What’s more notable than the density is that 37% of the residents were born outside the United States. And you know what that means! White Bread Replacement Theory, am I right, Tucker Carlson?! In other words, you’re able to get a lot of great food.
The Food at Angry Jerk in Silver Spring: Yelp reviews are mixed (except a five-star review from THIS Yelp Elite reviewer!) and if it’s because of the customer service, it isn’t exactly white glove hotel level service– I found it a bit hard to communicate with the person preparing the food because she was on the phone the whole time. I guess it is what it is. This didn’t impede my gastronomic enjoyment, but it is something I wonder about.
I got a bowl with rice and beans, topped with jerk chicken (diced chicken breast), shredded carrots, diced cucumbers, pickled onions, scallions, a pineapple/mango pico de gallo, and a vinegar-based slaw (they also have one of the more creamy ones, if you’re into that, and they both look pretty darn house-made, so I might even try it next time). Note the one lone plantain, but I actually got a whole order in a bag. The pico de gallo was next level. It’s not a complaint, but I thought that the jerk sauce was more akin to a Thai sweet chili sauce than to what I think of as jerk– think Godwin’s jerk sauce from Yum Village, which is liable to kick even my ass. It was still great! Just not quite what I was expecting.
Vegetarian and vegan options abound as well, so don’t worry if you’re about that. Walk it off with a trip to Denizens Brewing (1115 East-West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910) after, or follow it up with ice cream from Moorenko’s (8030 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910).
Looking forward to coming back and ordering some portion of a chicken!
The Angry Jerk is located at 8223 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Follow the Burgerbanism series for more articles on Great Snacks And Their Urban Context!