Fried chicken, collards and cornbread

Photo credit: Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

The General Store and Post Office Tavern, the quirky restaurant in Silver Spring owned by Chef Gillian Clark and her partner Robin Smith, has closed. As first reported yesterday by The Washington Post’s All We Can Eat blog, the owners posted this message on their Facebook page:

“It’s with heavy hearts we’re announcing that The General Store is closed. For the entire 4+ years we’ve been involved with this building we have been bullied by the landlords. The landlord has not paid his back taxes and the county is taking back the building. We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being more than just customers. We consider all of you friends.”

The restaurant, which served terrific takes on comfort foods such as fried chicken and lemon chess pie, opened in January 2009 after much anticipation and delay. Clark, who left the corporate world to follow her passion, graduated from L’Academie de Cuisine in 1995 and worked at five local eateries before striking out on her own with Colorado Kitchen in Washington, D.C. That place closed in 2008.

Clark has been a commentator on NPR and written a memoir, and The General Store was featured on the Food Network three times in its short tenure. On an episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay that aired in January, Clark’s fried chicken beat Flay’s.

Despite kudos for the cooking, The General Store garnered a reputation for its unwelcoming and icy service. Clark and Smith seemed to forget at times that they were in the hospitality business.

According to the All We Can Eat blog, the pair has plans to open another restaurant this spring called The Kitchen on K Street in the Loree Grand at Union Station.