TAKOMA PARK, MD – Residents were taken by surprise to learn that the city’s most prominent restaurant, Republic, is closing its doors and will be replaced by Historic Takoma, which plans to use the space to take Takoma Park back to the times when nobody went downtown.
“We are proud of our work in bringing an upscale restaurant with a quality night scene to this town, and we’re really sad to leave this community that we love so much,” read a statement on Republic’s Instagram account. “But we are pleased that this large retail space in the center of a vibrant commercial area will be well utilized by a small, non-profit organization whose office is only open 12 hours per week.”
After hearing of the closing, Historic Takoma became concerned that an unknown future tenant would further renovate the space to make it appropriate for some future interesting new use. To head off this disturbing possibility, they decided to take over the lease itself in order to forever preserve the building and its distinctive “Republic” sign just as they are now. They also plan to apply for permanent status for the building in the National Register of Historic Places as Takoma Park’s earliest example of Bethesdafication.
“Up until the early part of the 21st century, if Takoma Park residents wanted to stay out past 8pm or drink alcohol, they had to go to downtown Silver Spring,” said Doug Pierce, president of Historic Takoma. “We look forward to restoring those good ole days to our downtown business district.”
Although Historic Takoma successfully acquired the space, they did have to beat out several other competitors who had a high level of interest in the building, including a kombucheria, a temporary location for the city library during renovations at the community center, and Takoma Park’s fourth 7-Eleven.