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Old Line Bistro - Beltsville, MD

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Old Line Liquors & Bistro (www.oldlinewine.com/) recently opened in Beltsville, MD in what used to be the Circuit City just south of the intersection of Route 1 and Powder Mill Road (just north of the Costco). I believe they opened in October 2012. I only came to know about this store because Jon, one of the folks who worked at IMWine in Fulton/Maple Lawn, had left. I asked where he went and found out it was here. He is very wine knowledgable and has a great palate and will listen to what you like and be able to make recommendations for you. He came in late just prior to their grand opening, though, so his handiwork on the wines and beers ordered is not yet quite evident. I talked with him for maybe 15 minutes to see what he was thinking about, and he's got some good ideas for direction, so I expect to see this evolve. But the location is difficult. It is hard to see from the road, and it is not obvious (at all) that there is a restaurant (also) in the building. Word of mouth is the only way the restaurant side will have a chance.

The shop itself is quite large. It is similar in scale to Corridor Fine Wines at 198/BW Parkway, as well as similar in layout/style of the interior (it is a tad smaller floor space wise). What is different here is that the folks are friendly, helpful and really listen to you. The selection is great, and I suspect will be much more dynamic to their customers than Corridor is (which is owned by the Total Wine folks). Their beer selection is mindblowing, too. You really need to see what they have to get excited. It's very easy to find interesting wines and beers to try. I bought two cases of wine and could easily have bought more. :)
What is even more interesting is that they also have a Bistro/Wine Bar. They have a somewhat compact menu, but step it up daily with specials. Plus they do wine themed dinners and have 16 special brews of beer on tap at any given time. I have not yet been to the bistro, but did check out the menu and it looks good. WIll report back once I have tried it. Their steak frites are calling me.

What is most exciting about this is have both of these kinds of places in one, and having it be just a short 6 to 8 minute ride from my neighborhood. And they are locally owned and run - even better.

UPDATE - I went to the Bistro recently. They were packed and a bit short staffed, but were doing a good job of keeping us engaged while they sorted out how to seat us. The location of the Bistro (in the store) is all the way at the back, which is odd, but they were working with the existing footprint of the space. But no real host/hostess stand to check in? Odd. Once seated, we had a chance to look over the compact menu, the specials and also the beers on tap list and wine list. Their on tap beer selection is more impressive than their wine list. Not sure why they do not opt for the new MD State law allowing corkage and selling stuff from the shop to pop and pour with dinner, but maybe they will get to that. We'll see.
The food is mixed at the moment. The cream of crab soup is fine, but nothing really special. Their charcuterie plate is a bit limited, particularly on the bread & accoutrements, but this could easily be improved. There was a special for skate the night we went. My wife ordered it and it was ill executed. Not crispy or seared, just slightly undercooked and flabby. Too bad. The steak frites was much better. Not the best I have ever had, but certainly tasty, good and satisfying. It's worth a look, still, at least for me since Laurel/Beltsville are starving for decent places to eat. The folks that run the business are good and knowledgeable certainly on the wine shop side, they just need some improvement on the bistro side. I'm looking forward to seeing how things progress.
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