It is midmorning at Silver Spring's Crisfield Sea Food Restaurant, counting down to the lunch hour opening, and the tang of dozens of lemons being sliced fills the room.
Little has changed in the restaurant that Lillian Landis has run with her family for 42 years. She still comes in early to get things going, she still uses in her business the same fresh ingredients she uses in her home, and customers still stand in long lines to eat at what amounts to a local institution.
Much has changed outside the bricked Georgia Avenue establishment. Landis can remember when families would stand outside her restaurant to watch the Thanksgiving parade sponsored by the merchants of downtown Silver Spring. She remembers Saturday afternoons when she had to go into the Silver Theatre to retrieve her two young sons who had stayed for two shows. She remembers when she could do all her shopping at Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road and recalls the Chinese restaurant that served really good food.
"We were a booming little town then," Landis said. She is not quite sure what happened, why there was such a decline, but she hopes the present move to revitalize downtown can bring it back.
The family restaurant always has been successful, so she is not dependent on a rebirth to help her business. But, she said, the community deserves better: a place where it can shop and where all its businesses can be successful.
Landis has an accepting view of traffic. "Traffic is traffic. It bothers me but it also brings me my customers. So you do the best you can . . . ."
She also said she would like more life at her end of Georgia Avenue.
"There is nothing doing at this end of town . . . . You almost forget we're here. I hope it happens. Silver Spring is my home and I want the best for it."