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Oct. 29, 2013

Playing It Safe With Fire Station 1

by Martha Morganstein, Online News Editor
With its big firetruck out on display, Fire Station 1, located in Downtown, is sure to get noticed. It has enough space to seat over 300 people and is located in a restored 100-year-old fire house. Although it has fun décor and great service, the food leaves something to be desired.

One of the first things you notice when entering the restaurant are the multicolored LED lights twinkling in the ceiling, the bar and the five flat screen TVs; each one turned to a different sport game. There is also ample outdoor and indoor seating and an upstairs party venue. It's a popular place, usually fairly crowded, especially in the evening. It is always buzzing with conversations. Whether you are a family with young children, friends hanging out or sports fans wanting to catch a game at the bar, Fire Station 1 is a great environment for everyone.
On some evenings they have appetizers for $5, including Pretzel Dog Bites served with mustard sauce. This unique dish is mini hotdogs served in a soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, mini bun. More standard options include the onion rings or “Station 1” wings.

Fire Station 1 is located in Downtown Silver Spring, a popular Blazer hangout spot.
Fire Station 1 is located in Downtown Silver Spring, a popular Blazer hangout spot.

Despite the excellent ambiance, certain entrees proved to be a bit disappointing. The pasta with red sauce and the Marguerite pizza (mozzarella, tomato, basil) had similar bland tastes. They could have used vine-ripe tomatoes instead of industrial tomatoes especially during the current tomato season. The pasta sauce was so lacking in spice that it could hardly be called a pasta sauce. The sauce soaked the pasta, so it was hard to enjoy even just the pasta alone. Likewise, the pizza's crust had a cardboard texture making the entire pizza unappealing.
On the other hand, the burgers and fries were delicious. The smokestack burger has perfectly melted pepper jack cheese, hamburger seared on the outside making it perfectly crisp and a bun that is nice and soft. The burger is topped with two fried onion rings and is served with a mildly spicy 'smokestack" mayonnaise sauce. Burgers come with a choice of ranch fries, potato chips, a vegetable or potato salad. The ranch fries were similar to potato wedges and sprinkled with spices. They were crispy, but not overly oily.
The menu had a good variety of desserts, including several flavors of ice cream, bread pudding, sherbet, banana split, crème brulee and a peanut butter and chocolate desert. The bread pudding tastes as if it is infused with a cinnamon bun. The crisp top with a soft middle and topped with a warm cinnamon sauce made a perfect ending to the meal.

Vegetarian’s options are very limited, because most of the burgers, pizzas, sandwiches or entrees contain some type of meat, pork, or seafood. Vegetarian choices just include the portabella burger, asparagus risotto, pan-seared polenta or the vegetable pizza.

Although multiple dishes were not very appealing, the service was exceptional. Almost immediately the hostess escorts you to the table and the waiter remains attentive throughout the meal. The food comes within 20 minutes of ordering, regardless of the number of diners in the restaurant.

Firehouse Station 1 is reasonably priced, but maybe a bit out of Blazers' price range. Most appetizers cost about $ 10 except the large size of the shrimp or wings which cost $16.00 and $18.00, respectively. The sandwiches and burgers all cost about $10 except the seafood sandwiches which cost about $15. The prices of the entrees vary between about $12 and $19 for the more extravagant meals.

Fire Station 1 has a great ambience, great service and great décor. It is a fine place if you order carefully. Bottom line is: stick to the burger and fries for a great dinner.

Fire Station 1 is located on 8131 Georgia Ave Silver Spring, MD 20910. It is open 11 a.m. -10 p.m. on Monday, 11 a.m.- 11 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. on Wednesday, 11 a.m.- 2 a.m. on Friday, 12 p.m.- 2 a.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m.- 11 p.m. on Sunday.



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