HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >

Discussion

In search of updated College Park dining

  • 25
  • Share

We're parents of a new University of Maryland freshman, and will be visiting College Park frequently now. A check of the Board reveals a bit of age on most College Park suggestions. Can someone update us on the current dining scene, beyond the college student junk, in the area? We love to discover small gems that don't look like much from the outside (seems to be potential for them in this area).

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. My are favorites are:
    Woodlands or Tiffin (both Indian) in Takoma Park
    Pasta Plus in Laurel
    Mandalay Bay (Burmese) in Silver Spring

    The Bagel Place and Marathon in College Park are always good too. And, while I haven't been in almost 12 years, both NY Deli (off Rhode Island, across from REI) and Berwyn Cafe were great when I was a student.

    -----
    Pasta Plus Restaurant
    209 Gorman Ave, Laurel, MD 20707

    1. It's because College Park is not exactly a hopping food destination.

      I'll add Franklin's in Hyattsville to odkaty's list. It's not going to blow you away but it's above average bar food and they brew their own beers. The lamb sliders are really good.

      I also like Plato's Diner (if you're into diners) but with the caveat that I've only ever been there at 2 AM after going to concerts at the 9:30 Club.

      -----
      Plato's Diner
      7150 Baltimore Ave, College Park, MD 20740

      1. The short answer is that there is probably nothing in College Park, so driving will be important to uncovering any gems. Woodlands for purely vegetarian South Indian cusine. I always get a paper dhosa (no filling), and whatever else strikes my fancy. Samantha's is a tiny, surprisingly nice Salvadoran spot that is one of the better restaurants in the area. Both of the above may be listed as Langley Park. If you go to Samantha's, get an ensalada to drink (I don't know if it's listed on the menu).

        1. I alway enjoy the chicken kabobs at the The Food Factory, 8145 Baltimore Ave; the rest of the lunch buffet can be tasty too. It's just a few blocks away from the university.

          1. the good news is that college park is not far from a lot of great food destination areas such as D.C., Wheaton, Rockville, Bethesda, and a little further to Annapolis, Kent Island, Baltimore, Arlington and Alexandria. Each of those areas have great go to food places and a lot of variety plus places that fit the description of your requests. Best advice is pick a location and then do a chowhound search since all those places have had numerous blogs in the past.
            In college park are:
            1. jimmy johns: chain sandwich shop with fresh ingredients and in house baked bread and rolls. The tuna club with sprouts, onions, cucumber, tomato and avocado on thick sliced multigrain bread is a great sandwich. good for lunch
            2. Ledo: iconic pizza original location that people either love or hate. Squre pizza with a different style almost pastry crust. The twice cooked bacon and pineapple is excellent.
            3. Hard Times Cafe: known for their chilli which is served 3 differnet syles

            -----
            Ledo's
            7175 Security Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21244

            1. The Jungle Grille in the strip center behind Town Hall Liquors (8145 Baltimore Avenue) has good burgers, wraps and salads. http://www.junglegrille.com/

              Sardi's Pollo a la Brasa has terrific charcoal broiled chicken and sides (10433 Baltimore Avenue, just north of the Beltway in Beltsville). http://www.sardischicken.com/

              Plato's is OK, but keep it simple - a club sandwich or chili and a grilled cheese. They often fail miserably when it comes to entrees.

              Ledo's has closed their original location in Adelphi and are in the midst of moving to the bottom level of the new municipal parking garage near Route 1 and Knox Road. Hope they know what they are doing - nobody even knows the lot is there, much less uses it.

              -----
              Jungle Grille
              8145 Baltimore Ave, College Park, MD 20740

              8 Replies
              1. re: treetop tom

                You know, I've never gotten "real" food from Platos - only breakfast food. They make good french toast!

                1. re: treetop tom

                  Ledo's is open in the garage. Waiting for a review, but it's a curiosity at best. Not really pizza. Second Franklin's for good beer, mussels and specials. Also a bargain at lunch as well as Pasta Plus in Laurel featured some years back on Food Network. Also would recommend a ride to Columbia (not as far as you might think) to Victoria Gastropub, victoriagastropub.com, for large beer list, interesting menu. One last thing - don't eschew Cluck-U, fried chicken in the strip mall on Rt 1 that has California Tortilla. Honey fried chicken and something they call bees - fried dough soaked in honey. Take out recommended

                  -----
                  Ledo Restaurant
                  4509 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740

                  Pasta Plus Restaurant
                  209 Gorman Ave, Laurel, MD 20707

                  1. re: nickdanger

                    If they stick to what they used to do, the original Ledo's is worthwhile for pizza. Just not really the franchises. But I am curious to hear about the new location. Perhaps I can stop one of these weeks when passing nearby.

                    -----
                    Ledo Restaurant
                    4509 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740

                    1. re: Dennis S

                      My concern with the Original Ledo's is, don't you think the original stoves played somewhat a small part in the original being better? I could be wrong. I definately think they messed up moving though. And Ledo's is "real" pizza. Is it NY style or Chi-town style? No, but it is an original here.

                      -----
                      Ledo Restaurant
                      4509 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740

                      1. re: cb1

                        Yes to the ovens - indeed. That's part of my question - how did they execute the move? With ovens being such an investment I'm guessing they have the same ones, but I don't know. And did they keep everything else the same? Again I assume yes, but who knows? We need a report!

                        1. re: Dennis S

                          As a long time "old" Ledo's fan ( back to the early 70's when I was a student, I did try out the new "Original Ledo's " yesterday. I thought the pizza was as good as I remebered it .....and somewhat better ( crisper crust) than the franchises. But as we all know from various posts on this board...with Ledos.....you either love it or you don't.
                          I drove down from Baltimore ( my son goes to U of MD) I'll be back.

                          -----
                          Ledo's
                          7175 Security Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21244

                          1. re: Dennis S

                            I saw an ad for an auction at the old location that included ovens, chairs, etc. Interesting, because the owner had said in an interview that he was thinking of having a parade of ovens, like the circus parade of elephants, from Adelphi Road to rt 1. Guessing it didn't work out.

                    2. re: treetop tom

                      I was trying to remember Jungle Grille ... they used to have a nice selection of vegetarian dishes.

                      -----
                      Jungle Grille
                      8145 Baltimore Ave, College Park, MD 20740

                    3. Agree as always re Woodlands... oh I love that restaurant. (But I'd call it Langley Park, not Takoma Park.)

                      Something different (though not a "small gem" by any measure, but why not say it): If you're feeling nostalgic for your hippie roots (if you have them) and you're on campus, go by the Food Co-op in the Stamp Union and get the vegan hot lunch special. It's by no means chowishly gourmet but I'm always intrigued by what they manage to throw together, and for $4 I'd much rather have a big bowl of brown rice and freshly cooked bean and vegetable whatever than the fast food upstairs in the food court.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rarotonga

                        Ah, yes, the co-op. I wasn't sure if they were still in existence. I ate there almost every day. The dining halls really lacked decent vegetarian food ... I only wished the co-op took the dining card! Fortunately it was cheap.

                        1. re: rarotonga

                          I love the co-op! I've only been there for quick, on-the-go things, but I also remember it was pretty cheap...I think $1.50 or so for a bean and cheese burrito(so hopefully the OP's student finds out about it quickly)

                        2. Just a couple blocks further into town from Franklin's in Hyattsville is Rhode Island Reds cafe. It's small, not fancy, not expensive, and better than Franklins. You can park beside the cafe, but it's a little confusing in the dark.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: howardl

                            What type of food is it? Are they a brewery?

                            1. re: reiflame

                              it is a brew pub with good quality food
                              also has a very interesting general store with nostalgic toys and candy, trinkets, kitchen items, and a good belgian and import beer section and a wiine section.
                              food is pretty good and interesting
                              definitely a good place for lunch or dinner

                              1. re: reiflame

                                "Dining with Doc" correctly describes Franklins. Rhode Island Reds food is American cafe food -- soup, simple salads, pizza, quiche, etc -- with occasional forays into a specific country cuisine. a few brands of beer by the bottle.The menu is limited, and you wouldn't go there for a fancy meal, but it's an interesting alternative to Franklins, and I think the food is better than Franklins.

                                1. re: howardl

                                  Thanks; I was asking about Rhode Island Reds, not Franklins.

                                  1. re: howardl

                                    I went to Rhode Island Reds several times when I first moved to the area about a year ago, and was very disappointed in the food- while the pizza was fairly good, we found everything else (soup, quiche, sandwiches, etc.) to be not very appealing.
                                    I'll second the recommendation for mussels at Franklin's, and add that the short ribs are usually quite good if available.
                                    As an alternative to Plato's, I also like the Silver Diner in Greenbelt for diner type food.
                                    I've also had pretty good experiences with Shagga (Ethiopian) in Hyattsville- it's not as good as the Ethiopian options inside the district, but it's close to College Park, good, and different.
                                    Finally, I think there's a Busboys and Poets location that is supposed to open in Hyattsville this spring, and when that is open, I think that will be worth the short drive from College Park.

                                    1. re: Lozza

                                      Rhode Island Reds is the type of place you want to like, the owner is an old bohemian type who wanted to be his own boss and do something for the community etc (he's also running for mayor of Hyattsville but that is another story) .

                                      The only problem is that the food is just not that good. The place is tiny and not well equipped. It strikes me that if you want to make a go of it with such limited resources you should refine your repitoire down to a few really great specialties that you love to make. Sadly the food is indifferently prepared . My sense is that the owner doesn't really even enjoy food all that much .

                                      Franklins, on the other hand, is a big place. It was the old Hyattsville Hardware which was carefully if not lovingly turned into a restaurant, brew pub, toy store and.... ?? The place is beloved by Hyattsvillans, perhaps because when it came to town there were hardly any restaurants in the area that weren't fast food chains, much less brew pubs with a sense of style and character.

                                      Unfortunately, my expereinces with teh food there have been indifferent at best. Still they do brew beer there and have a full bar now.

                                      To be fair I haven't eaten there in awhile (following a couple of really bad experiences) Word is that they have a new chef, revamped menu etc.

                                      One problem I've always had with Franklins is they try too do to much (pizza, home-style, Thai, ribs, pub food some would call it eclectic, I call it a mish -mash). Still it's a lively place and the onion rings are usually pretty good.

                                      Everyone is waiting for the new collection of restaurants up Route One at the EYA development. Busboys and Poets, Elevation Burger, Chipotle and Tara Thai are all reputed to be coming. One hopes these will be enough to create some type of dining scene and in thier wake will bring some other decent eateries to this part of PG.

                                      We deserve it!

                              2. I would add Hanami in College Park to the list of recommendations. It's one of the best places to eat that is right in College Park.