When Mandalay closed in Silver Spring last fall after two decades in business, it was a major blow to the region’s fans of Burmese cooking. Turns out, however, that the mourning period will be short-lived. The restaurant will reopen in the same location (930 Bonifant St., Silver Spring) next month.
Owner Kyaw “Joe” Myint, whose parents started the business in College Park in 2000 before moving to Silver Spring, says another tenant was poised to takeover Mandalay’s space but that ultimately fell through. In February, Myint posted a message on Facebook asking how many people would want the restaurant to reopen. More than 400 people commented, and even more called and emailed clamoring for a return. Myint was able to negotiate a new two-year lease with the landlord and plans to re-debut with carryout and delivery only in July. The menu will remain the same.
At the same time, many of the issues that led to Mandalay’s closure haven’t gone away. For starters, the disruptive Purple Line construction is ongoing. Between that and difficulty finding staff, Myint decided it was best not to reopen the dining room for now. The Myint siblings were also concerned about the risks of Covid for their aging parents, who are now mostly retired.
Myint isn’t sure exactly what will happen after two years, but he hopes to keep Mandalay going long term in its current home or elsewhere. A more recent Facebook post announcing the comeback is an encouraging start.
“People are yelling, screaming on the Facebook. They are so happy. ‘Hooray! Hooray!,'” Myint says. “Some people are already sending me emails of their orders.”