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Lost in the <insert decade here>

I recently went to Snyder's Willow Grove in Linthicum, more out of curiosity than anything. I live nearby, but never heard much good or bad about the place, yet there always seem to be plenty of cars in the lot when I pass by on the ramp from 695.

In short, it was not a bad meal. Actually, it was a pretty good meal, if not particularly creative. What struck me, though was the general vibe of the place - the sort of "supper club" that our family used to go to for "special occasions" in my youth. The sort of places that used to be a fixture on the dining seen - reliable "neighborhood instituions" aimed at an "upscale, but not *too* fancy" dining experience, usually with a lot of wedding reception and banquet business in addition to the normal dining room trade.

It's not a genre that's much in vogue these days, but I'm curious if there are any examples of this niche around that are worth Chowhound exploration, as long as one knows going in what to expect (quality) and what not to expect (an abundance of "cutting edge" culinary creativity).

Any guilty pleasures in this niche that anybody out there wants to 'fess up to enjoying, or places that you know enough about to mention?


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  1. Haven't been there in a while but the SUNSET RESTAURANT in Glen Burnie kinda fits this niche

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hue

      Or the Rose. There was a place that I went to based on a good Sun review that was just boring as can be. I wish I could remember the name of it, but it fit this description to a T. I think it was in Linthicum.

      1. re: JonParker

        And bingo. After not hearing the name of the place for at least two years, it pops up in another thread. It was House of Welsh. Utterly forgettable.

    2. Oh my gosh! Makes me think of Tom Sarris' Orleans House in Rosslyn, VA. I thought I heard they were closing soon. Does anybody know? Last time I ate there, with extended family after a funeral, I saw Madeline Albright at a table next to the big salad bar shaped like a riverboat.

      1. The Golden Bull in Gaithersburg? I've never been there, and never heard of anyone who has been there, but it has the look to me. No idea if it's good. http://www.golden-bull.com/ Also, Mrs K's Toll House in Silver Spring. I went there once about 20 years ago. It's probably the same. http://www.mrsks.com/

        Golden Bull Grand Cafe
        7 Dalamar St, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

        Mrs K Toll House
        9201 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910

        1. Oh and also Anna Maria's in Dupont Circle.

          Golden Bull Grand Cafe
          7 Dalamar St, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

          Mrs K Toll House
          9201 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910

          Anna Maria's Italian
          1737 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

          1. Ferdinand's in Wheaton is definitely in this category. Their business took a hit after the smoking ban went into effect. Location-wise they are surrounded by strong competition: the original Hollywood East, Suporn, Max's Kosher Cafe, Nava Thai and Ruan Thai.


            1. The Prime Rib, though that might be bordering on *too* fancy. I took a friend there to experience old DC, and we certainly did. I felt like I ought to be wearing a pillbox hat and little white gloves. No cigars due to the smoking ban, but you could almost feel cigars of ages past hovering in the atmosphere. Plus we were the youngest people there by at least 3 decades. But the beef is scrumptious and the peanut butter mousse to die for.

                1. re: jes

                  Blob's Park just recently bit the dust, with the property destined to become some soul-less modern development.

                  1. re: Hal Laurent

                    I'm on their email list and they haven't said anything about being closed. They sent an email on Dec 3 with the holiday events at Blob's Park listed. They have events scheduled through the new year at least, and nothing mentioned about closing.

                    1. re: wookyluvr

                      Sorry, I was mistaken about the timing. They aren't closed yet, but will be closing within the coming year.


                      1. re: Hal Laurent

                        Oh, I've always meant to go to Blob's Park...and, I guess, no time like the present. I'll see if I can drag my friends there this weekend. Glad I was lurking!

                        1. re: baltoellen

                          Here are the remaining events for this year (maybe forever!). This is from an email Blob's Park sent out on Dec 3.

                          Saturday, December 15 - Whoever said you can't get "Too Much Of A Good Thing" must have heard Charm City Sound. That is just one of the many original songs they will be performing. This band is always a crowd pleaser and we are proud to have them back again. Our "World Famous" buffet is included with the admission pice of $20.00 per person until 9:00 PM, then the admission price will be $6.00 per person. Please note that the kitchen will be closed after 9:00 PM.

                          Sunday, December 16 - Annual Children's Christmas Party with the Alt Washingtonia Schuhplattler Verein Dancers. Bring the kids for an afternoon of dancing, games and a visit from St. Nicholas and Santa Claus. Doors open at 2:00 PM with the first dance show starting at 3:00 PM. Watch a horse getting shoed, miners at work, and a "May Pole" dance. Children will be invited to join in with the fun. Food available at reasonable prices.

                          December 21, 22 & 23 - C L O S E D for the Christmas weekend. Frohliche Weihnachten! Have a Merry Christmas with a happy and safe holiday weekend!

                          December 28, 29 & 30 - Please note that we will be CLOSED as we prepare for New Year's Eve.

                          Monday, December 31 - Gala New Year's Eve Party - Join us with your friends, and our friends, for a great evening as we say goodbye to 2007 and cheer in the new year. Admission is $35.00 per person, which includes a dinner buffet, party favors, snack buffet and breakfast. Listen and dance to the music of The Rheinlanders, then we'll ring out the old and ring in the new year! Doors open at 7:00 PM, breakfast served at 1:00 AM, 2008.

                          New Year's Eve reservations by advance ticket sales only!

                          We prefer to have reservations, and they are highly recommended so we may have enough help to serve everyone in a timely manner. Reservations for all events may be made online by e-mailing everyone's favorite bartender at mailto:motel@familypolka.com or call 410-799-0155.

                          All events are subject to change, so stay up to date by visiting our website at: http://www.blobspark.com

                          - Johnny and "The Gang"

                          Blob's Park
                          8024 Max Blobs Park Rd, Jessup, MD

                2. The Market Inn in Southwest Washington is stuck around 1962.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bill on Capitol Hill

                    Is that the place over in L'enfant kind of near the Holiday Inn with a piano and supposedly girlie pics on the walls? I drove by there once on the way to play softball and a coworker mentioned that they had good steaks, but she felt a little bit uncomfortable eating under a picture of a topless woman.

                  2. I would like to nominate Squire Rockwell's in Fairfax - I can't honestly say that I ever ate there, but went to the bar a few times...
                    Ferdinand's in Wheaton was a family favorite growing up, too.

                    1. Nostalgia threads are fun, but they don't help in our narrow focus of helping people find great chow. Please keep discussion in this thread on places that are still open for business.

                      The Chowhound Team

                      1. The Sir Walter Raleigh Inn in Merrifield, VA. Hasn't changed a lick in thirty years. Steak and taters. Reliably stodgy, but decent.

                        Gladchuck's on West Patrick in Frederick. Same thing; stodgy but decent food, big cocktails like Rob Roys, Manhattans and Rusty Nails. Favored by older folks who dress for dinner.

                        The Dutch's Daughter, another Frederick institution. Definitely old school "nice place". Good seafood, decent steaks.

                        Liberty Road Seafood on 26 in Libertytown. Outstanding fresh seafood and traditional local Maryland favorites. Always a big crowd and crabs to go in season. Probably the best of the bunch.

                        Speaking of Linthicum, there's a joint across the parking lot from the Olive Grove on Hammond's Ferry Road that's in the basement of a house. You enter down the back steps into a vintage rec-room bar circa 1958. The food is unremarkable to, well... bad, but it's a cool hangout sort of place that would work well as a shooting location for The Wire. Can't remember the name of it, though.

                        You would also have to include Timbuktu in Hanover, which was an actual supper club/gambling/sin joint in the old days. Crabcakes are decent, other stuff is iffy. The bar crowd is decidedly older and occasionally incontinent. They do have Keno, a package store, and a carry-out that is more reliable than the main restaurant. Interior has not changed since the Eisenhower administration, as the tangy aroma will attest.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: flavrmeistr

                          The place next to the Olive Grove is Hank's Subway. Very unusual place, and as I recall, the pizza was at least halfway decent.

                          1. re: Warthog

                            Thanks. I've been in there a few times, mostly because I found the atmosphere appealing. I had a sub-par crab cake one time, which sticks in my memory. Other times the food made no impression whatever. Nice people and cheap drinks, though.

                            1. re: Warthog

                              I may have the name wrong - it may be Howard's Subway. Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure it's of the form <Guy's name, starting with "H"> Subway. That ought to be enough to confirm in the phonebook if anybody reads this thread and wishes to investigate further.