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Dining in Beltsville and Laurel


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I've found myself shunning all my other Beltsville/Laurel favorites lately and heading straight in for another bowl of delicious noodles that I can hear being beaten to a pulp in the kitchen right after I order. 

 

Would you mind telling me your laurel and beltsville favorites? This place sounds awesome and I've never heard of it, makes me wonder what else I'm missing.

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[The following posts have been split into separate threads:

Facci (Choirgirl21)

Little Tavern (Joe H)

Casey's Crab Company (Pool Boy)

Dave's BBQ & Catering (Justin Bittner)

Ranazul (porcupine)

Seoulia (nelumbo)]

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Da Rae Won has the best Mandu around.  BIg fat kuicy crispy mounds.  The sizzling rice with seafood is fantastic and the fried wings a massive order.  THe spicy spicy seafood soup has a bit of a kcik, but I think my heat tolerance is a little higher than yours JoshNE.

I don't get into Laurel much, but in addition to Da Rae Won, I like Gahr Ram especially for the late night BBQ AYCE.

Nothing else really pops in my mind.  I'r rather go to La Placita or La Sireneta in Hyattsville.

I'd go to Fishnet more but its not right on the way from Roberts Oxygen to Dino.

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Would you mind telling me your laurel and beltsville favorites? This place sounds awesome and I've never heard of it, makes me wonder what else I'm missing.

In Laurel, I think you've found all my faves (Pasta Plus, Curry Leaf, RG's BBQ, Taqueria La Veracruzana).

In Beltsville, I go for Yia Yia's, Pho 88, and Da Rae Won.  I was very much not impressed with the lunch buffet at Gah Rahm.  There's another Korean place in the strip mall where the CVS is that is OK, but nowhere near the quality of DRW.  I haven't tried Sardi's yet.

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DR and I were PMing a while back and he suggested I post this as a generic 'Dining in Laurel, MD' thread, FWIW. Here goes!!

The one place I can think of that is interesting to me right now is s Curry Leaf. Right across from the Safeway shopping plaza in what used to be the Asahi space. I am pretty sure it is one of the cooks/owners from what was Udupi Palace before it closed. No liquor license yet, but the food is good. Really Good. It is now my go-to Indian place in Laurel (with the departure of India Gate and the decline of Sapphire...). Definitely worth a look!

Old Line Bistro (this is technically Beltsville, just down route 1 near the beltway) in the back of the store of Old Line Wines is just OK. I want them to do well, but they need help in the menu department. How hard is it to do a decent charcuterie plate? What's more disturbing is that their wine buyer guy, who came from IMWine in Fulton, MD, left several months ago to move across country to Oregon. Which is a tragic loss for the area as his palate was really great.

The number of taco and pupusa trucks on Route 1 north of Laurel on up to Jessup has increased a lot. Plenty to check out, especially on the weekends. All the way up in Jessup proper is a gas station with a Mexican restaurant inside (Howchow pointed out this discovery years ago) - really more of a takeout place, but still. Worth a look.

Facci, at 29 and Johns Hopkins Road between Fulton and Columbia, is pretty good, but it is always crowded and their prices are a little insane. They also do not seem to take reservations, which is agony for people hating to wait a nebulous '15 to 80 minutes' or whatever they tell you to basically keep quiet until they call you, but the food is good. Sometimes really good. The pizzas in particular.

I keep meaning to go back to Gah-Rham, a Korean place, in Beltsville - they have been there for forever and we had a few really good meals there but that was a few years ago.

What is really going to be interesting is what will start filling in to all of the new spots in Laurel proper as building continues. In case you did not know, Laurel Mall was finally torn down and it is on track for the first store to open in the new open/town center style layout  in April 2014 (a Burlington, but a very large Harris Teeter is one of the other anchors - not a Wegmans or a Whole Foods, but will put serious pressure on Giant, Safeway, Shoppers and Weis to raise their game). Most of the rest of the announced stores going in there, particularly of the restaurant nature, are boring chain places. <sigh> Further, near the Muirkirk MARC train station, they are doing massive apartment/townhouse and single family home building. Facing the large MARC parking lot, they were smart enough to make a long row of shop fronts. Might be a place or two that goes in there. And Konterra will probably finally start construction when Virginia Manor Road intersection across I95 finishes (some of the final phase of the ICC work, which also includes a final extension in to the Route 1 corridor, too. Looks like it will be done in mid 2014 too.

What does this do? It opens up the older shopping centers to the cheaper/immigrant type places to hang out a shingle. There was this dive of a cheap bar near what used to be Belmont TV that has gone all central american (I still have not gone there yet). There is a brand new Walgreens that went in about a year ago that displaced an outpost of Irene's (think Wheaton) and Mango's Grill (Mexican/Central American). Both fortunately found new homes. Irenes is close to the Home Depot now. Mango's Grill, the better of the two IMO, is in the former India Gate Space right at Cherry Lane and Route 1. India Gate was never busy and Sapphire over on 197 was better and cheaper (and sadly is a couple notches below what it used to be, especially in the rice department - their rice was extraordinary before and now it is just average). Anyway, the Mango's Grill folks are super nice and they have a much bigger and nicer space top work with now. ANd always order from their specials. Always.  Interestingly, that shopping center is also going under a major curb appeal upgrade - I think the owners are scared of the massive redevelopment of the Laurel Mall spot, and are trying to finish before all of the new places open up there.

Lastly, the old Bay and Surf Restaurant on Route 1, which had a small fire 4 or 5 years ago, and was going to be sold for redevelopment, which obviously failed due to the economy drying up $$$, was finally torn down the other day. Not sure what will happen there. But its an empty slot with electric and plumbing already done so if something goes in there, it could easily be another restaurant.

So......most of the time, I dine in DC still, or points further away from home, but Laurel is awakening again, but sadly it is mostly crap food still here. Pasta Plus is still holding its own though. :)

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I live right off Main Street. The wings at Main Street sports tavern are always properly fried. They're not gourmet by any means but better then any other place that murders them. The other week they had chicken 65 at curry leaf buffet, little nuggets of highly marinated chicken fried crisp with fried curry leaves as well. Fantastic. And also the doughnuts and mini burgers at little tavern at corner of route 1 and Main Street are silly good, the blueberry cake is the only good cake style donut I've ever had

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That place near the old Belmont TV store is El Paraiso Restaurant & Bar. It used to be Captain Somethingorothers. By the way DR, might we merge thins thread and this one together? Just a thought.

I think there may be lots more movement in the coming 5 years or so in the Beltsville-->Laurel corridor. Many things have already changed in the last 5 years or so, and this is a continuation of that. Some things of note that have either already happened, or will happen in the not too far off future--

  1. Ikea redeveloped the south end of Beltville right by the beltway, bringing with it lots of other retail and dining development and mixed use housing to previously empty lands abutting the RV park
  2. Some slagheaps of land have been redeveloped - the huge Wawa gas station in Beltsville, the coming redevelopment of old Laurel Mall in to new Laurel Town Center, the new development of an Aldi and Panera next to each other in Beltsville, etc.
  3. The ICC being completed this year and ALL of the related side roads, bridges and access lanes
  4. The development of a former brick factory near the Muirkirk train station
  5. The coming huge continuation of the Konterra development

Ikea's thumbprint on the space anchored the further development and caused at least two other aging shopping centers to spruce things up. This also further solidified other places to invest (like Wawa, Aldi, etc). The main benefits here are that there is more traffic in the area as a result and thins bring diners. :) Also, while my Dad worked at Behnke Nurseries for 40+ years, it is very likely they will shut down permanently in the next ten years (and I am being generous), opening up a huge slot of land ready for redevelopment (that hopefully will not become used car dealerships). There are still plenty of older building slots available over time for new ventures to exist and become successful enough to move or expand, too, so it should be a mix of old and new, chain and non-chain in the coming years.

The redevelopment of Laurel Mall is also causing other centers to spruce up and wake up, which is great. There's plenty of room for new in Laurel for years to come, so older buildings are still also available for new (cheap rent) startups. The thing that will really drive change in Laurel though, is the ICC. It's not just literally driving traffic to the area, but they are doing SO MUCH road work to tie everything else together. On/off access lanes, new bridges or replacements, access roads that were beautiful and fun to drive are making way for safer more modern roads (at one level sad, as I loved driving those roads, but good because of what this will bring), and especially th Konterra development. Konterra has been mostly commercial low rise complexes, but they have also brought a lot of the higher end housing to Laurel on the west side, closer to the east side of 95. A lot more commercial and mixed use housing is coming and I think the folks that own it and are going to do all of this are waiting for all of the ICC and related roadwork to be done. Which is also kind of smart as they are also allowing the economy to improve more before they start work. The beginning of a development adjoining Konterra land, the Brickyard, is well under way. A very large 5 story mega-apartment sprawlplex (with slots, as yet unfilled, for retail and dining - an independent coffee place here would be AWESOME) is already built nd filling up, while mostly largeish townhomes are under construction in the land abutting the CSX tracks.

All of this is boring land use gobbledygook, but it is what will drive the dining scene in Laurel, which is largely 'meh', forward. Just look at the expanded Mango's and landing Curry Leaf as examples of early investment and evidence. :)

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I for one like that gobbledygook land use stuff, since I used to work with that in a former employment.  More on that later.

Some months ago I spent time in Laurel and thanks to this website went to Pasta Plus twice.  It was terrific;  good food and some excellent dishes, and excellent value--plus I love Italian food.  On the 2nd visit I complimented the owner but also inadvertently bs'ed him.  I apologized for not visiting the restaurant earlier as I used to live in N. Bethesda and that I had missed a huge opportunity.

The truth is I wouldn't have visited that restaurant when living in N Bethesda.  It would have been a hassle of a long drive and there were plenty of comparable alternatives that were far easier to access.  I suspect that the ICC makes visiting quality restaurants that much easier for a lot more folks especially from Northern Montgomery County.

As to the gobbledygook land use info.  Back in '88 '89 I was a commercial real estate broker and I headed a little team focused on selling commercial properties in PG county.  We probably spoke to virtually every property owner/land owner/ and many of the tenants in some critical corridors including that Rte 1 corridor from Hyattesville to Laurel.  By early '89 we had a reasonable slew of deals in process including two ready to go and get signed on Rte 1 and a bunch pretty far down the line that could have/ or should have occurred.

Then a commercial real estate depression occurred.  It was like the housing crisis of a few years ago.  Every deal fell apart.  Our team had a Rte 1 sale in Laurel.  Poof.  We had a contract fully negotiated and out for signature with money to go hard.  BAM.  It vanished.  We had a hotel group buying land for a discount hotel on Rte 1.  Bam.  It died.  Every deal died.  Of course now there is a hotel sitting on that site.

It was miserable.  Nothing worked.

Anyway a lot of those properties you referenced could be redeveloped.  If the population increases there is a newer larger population that could change the dining landscape with better quality choices.   But boy some things take time.  Back in the earlier 80's I worked with the folks that bought Konterra and were going to develop it.  I don't know if its currently the same group or not.  But that was 30 years ago.  Its still in development.  Some of these changes take forever.

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It was Captain Jerry's Crabhouse, and [yes]. :)

I knew there was a Captain in there!

Daveo- I was in my first 'real' job back in 88 when I worked at a bank. Things went all kefuffule as you described as I worked my way up from a teller to a loan guy, then there was the whole Gulf War and related lousy housing downturn or 90/91. Hell Maryland National was 20 minutes away from bankruptcy when Nationsbank bought them. Anyway, yeah, deals take a long time and other things prevent the right mix from happening. Konterra is a molasses development tha I think will finally turn in to simple syrup soon. You should see all of the different roads getting upgraded and tweaked to make things work and they are including curb work for eventual entrances in to the hear of Konterraland so this time it might be for real.

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Behnke's has been on a slow downward death spiral for 20 years almost. Poor management decisions by family members unfortunately. That said, it seems to be on the slight upswing of late. They sold off their Largo holdings a while back, used that cash to stay afloat, sold the land out from under their Potomac location and leased it back for a certain term (10 years? Maybe more, my memory is a bit sketchy on that detail), but that site will ultimately close and be redeveloped. They have some growing location in southern Maryland now, but not sure how actively they are using it. They almost closed the Beltsville location about 3 or 4 years ago, but the public outcry got people to realize what a treasure the place still is, and so people went there to buy stuff again. The place is a shadow of what it was in the 70s, 80s and even early 90s. It used to be the #2 single location retail nursery in the entire country, but then Home Depot, Lowe's, Costco and Walmart all entered the business.

I keep going there, because they still have knowledgeable people there and they carry things other places never do. If you like Behnke's, their staff and what  they offer, go shop there! :)

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Fascinating thread.  I grew up in Silver Spring and spent a great deal of time in Beltsville/Laurel...even Bladensburg and a country and western bar called the Crossroads.  I drove down route 1 a couple of weeks ago, through Laurel, for the first time in 25 or so years.  It was breathtaking.  It's not just that Laurel Mall is gone but rather that the entire area is being completely redeveloped.  I remember the Laurel Little Tavern and the Tastee Diner both of which are gone.  I also remember Gringada and, in the '70's, I would drive from Hillandale to Vienna to eat Mexican at Anita's while friends would swear by the Laurel dump.  I never liked it and they were chauvinistic and couldn't believe that I liked a place in...Virginia.

Virginia.

I ended up moving to Virginia in '88 and left Bladensburg, Piney and Flower (now "Long Branch") and Laurel behind.  From the Bay and Surf to the Beltsville Veterinary Hospital to Gringada I have a lot of memories.  It was a very real pleasure to drive down route 1, it is a very real pleasure to read this thread.

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But little tavern and tastee diner are still there. Little tavern has the best blueberry cake donut I ever had. And the tastee diner makes a mean late night drunk gravy fries. Also a new place called olive on main opened up a few weeks ago on Main Street replacing salute. I haven't been in to eat yet but will check it out soon.

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But little tavern and tastee diner are still there. Little tavern has the best blueberry cake donut I ever had. And the tastee diner makes a mean late night drunk gravy fries. Also a new place called olive on main opened up a few weeks ago on Main Street replacing salute. I haven't been in to eat yet but will check it out soon.

I have been meaning to give Olive a try as well. Do you know if they have a liquor license? I think the lack of one for Salute was their undoing (or did they finally get one in the end before shutting down)?

JoeH - Tastee Diner is still there as well, but it is hard to see from the road. I was there maybe 2 years ago last.

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Olive definitely has beer and wine but not clear on the hard liquor. They also have lamb chop dinner with two sides for 16 dollars. My favorite thing as of late in laurel was at Casey's crab co over past 295 on 198, crab cheesesteak they called it but there was no steak, just all crab on the flat top topped with cheese and put on a sun bun with ltmo. Fantastic but only eat half cuz it's too much.

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Has anyone been to RG's BBQ on the southbound side of Laurel (extreme north Laurel, before Rt 1 gets split with a big median filled with businesses). I've heard good reports but it suffers from inconsistency. I have heard the BBQ sauce is worth the price of admission alone and that might make we wander by and try it.

[Laurel is tough because it touches nearly four counties, and the northern part is in Howard County (hence, the Baltimore forum).  If I remember correctly, there's actually one point (right in one of the Patuxent Rivers) where three counties touch. Splitting these up by county isn't perfect, but it's one way to do it, and I suppose it's just as logical as any other way. Montgomery and Prince George's are in the Washington, DC forum, and Howard and Anne Arundel are in the Baltimore forum.]

Anyway, RG's thread is here (with my apologies for the ambiguity).

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[Laurel is tough because it touches nearly four counties, and the northern part is in Howard County (hence, the Baltimore forum).  If I remember correctly, there's actually one point (right in one of the Patuxent Rivers) where three counties touch. Splitting these up by county isn't perfect, but it's one way to do it, and I suppose it's just as logical as any other way. Montgomery and Prince George's are in the Washington, DC forum, and Howard and Anne Arundel are in the Baltimore forum.]

Anyway, RG's thread is here (with my apologies for the ambiguity).

I understand the approach, and Laurel is tough because of the 4 county thing. That said, I think a lot of Howard Countians would argue they are far more Washingtonian than Baltimorian. I lived there for 30 years and I definitely felt more Washington like. Ah well.

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FWIW, there have been some chain restaurant departures in Laurel of late. I have no real recollection of what was behind Silver Diner and Fridays, but I think one was a Don Pablo's and the other - who knows. Both are empty husks waiting for new development or concepts to roll in. My sense is that they were finally done in by poor street awareness and the new Laurel Town Center (and the freshening up of some other strip malls).

Separately, I was in Burnsville, passing through on old Route 29, and what used to be the 'new' shopping center where Giant moved in maybe 30 years ago is basically a Ghost Town. The 'now new' shopping center across the street, on the remains of what was an ancient Safeway (among other things) is now full and busy.

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There may also be new development on the restaurant front with the coming continuation of Konterra. My sense is that this is 2 to 5 years away, since the Konterra development folks are waiting for everything else to be completed first. The ICC work is now officially 100% complete (one tricky bit is that to get to Route 198 from 95 (if you are heading northbound) is that you need to use the ICC exit to do so - you have NO other opportunity so if you miss it, you need to get to 216 and turn around if 198 is truly your goal).

Anyway, Virginia Manor and Van Dusen have now become a drastically upgraded Konterra Drive. This will be the main circle drive for the core of the eventual Konterra town center. That is where a lot of new retail and commercial space will be built in a mixed use way. All of the entrances and curbing related thereto was built in as a part of Konterra being re-done. Residential construction has returned now that the ICC work has been completed. There are apartments at the triangle of 95, Konterra and Van Dusen. Where Konterra dumps in on the western side to Old Gunpowder, there is a single family home neighborhood going in called Bentley Park (from $400s to $600s) - which is an odd thing given the nearby sort of industrial/messy-commercial stuff lining old Gunpowder, but whatever.  There are now easily obvious large tracts of land that are likely going to be under construction soon. I would imagine the core of Konterra probably will not start until all of the non-core sections are mostly done.

This type of development, though, will likely draw more chains on the restaurant front. Not a real problem for those wanting something more interesting and unique, because as chains move in and others abandon original locations for someplace 'new' the old locations and building eventually get repurposed in to something potentially new and interesting (and often ethnic). I look forward to this metamorphosis.

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FWIW, there have been some chain restaurant departures in Laurel of late. I have no real recollection of what was behind Silver Diner and Fridays, but I think one was a Don Pablo's and the other - who knows. Both are empty husks waiting for new development or concepts to roll in. My sense is that they were finally done in by poor street awareness and the new Laurel Town Center (and the freshening up of some other strip malls).

Separately, I was in Burnsville, passing through on old Route 29, and what used to be the 'new' shopping center where Giant moved in maybe 30 years ago is basically a Ghost Town. The 'now new' shopping center across the street, on the remains of what was an ancient Safeway (among other things) is now full and busy.

Those restaurants have been gone for a long time now, nothing to do with the new Town Center imo. Don Pablo's held out for a long time, but that other location had restaurants cycling through it quite regularly. Can't remember what it was last time around, a chinese buffet possibly. Can't say I'm disappointed about either although I did appreciate being able to walk to Don Pablo's and have a margarita on a nice day. One of the few places in Laurel with outdoor seating. Would love to see something of quality go in there, but I imagine it's too large of a space to attract anything like that.

By the way, I think you mean Burtonsville. :)

Thanks for the info about the Konterra development. I maintain hope that all of this development is going to do something good for the value of my POS condo.

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Those restaurants have been gone for a long time now, nothing to do with the new Town Center imo. Don Pablo's held out for a long time, but that other location had restaurants cycling through it quite regularly. Can't remember what it was last time around, a chinese buffet possibly. Can't say I'm disappointed about either although I did appreciate being able to walk to Don Pablo's and have a margarita on a nice day. One of the few places in Laurel with outdoor seating. Would love to see something of quality go in there, but I imagine it's too large of a space to attract anything like that.

By the way, I think you mean Burtonsville. :)

Thanks for the info about the Konterra development. I maintain hope that all of this development is going to do something good for the value of my POS condo.

Huh, I never knew they've been gone awhile. I mean, the sight lines to Route 1 for those behind spots sucks, which is part of the problem there. I think ultimately those slots will be redeveloped in to something completely different.  And yeah, Burtonsville (damn autocorrect!).

The Konterra stuff is kind of fascinating, especially if you consider just how long it has taken the folks that own it to do any development at all. That being said, going slow and steady now is probably the smart thing to do. It will help let the overall project evolve.

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The Konterra stuff is kind of fascinating, especially if you consider just how long it has taken the folks that own it to do any development at all. That being said, going slow and steady now is probably the smart thing to do. It will help let the overall project evolve.

Here is "some" perspective on how long its been.  In the earlier '80's, the commercial RE brokerage firm I was with worked on many projects with the family/corporate entity that owned Konterra .  I worked on some of the different "things" they owned, etc.   There were development boards for Konterra in their offices.   That was the early 80's.  That is a long time ago.

OTH.  Around that time and/or a wee bit later I worked on some other projects also in Md.  While Konterra is "inching" along....there is NOTHING on these other sites.  NADA.  NIL.

Of course if this were some parts of Va, where development has been more crazed....those plans from the 80's would have high rises, Starbucks, CheeseCake Factories' and maybe a great independent operator or two.   ;)

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Here is "some" perspective on how long its been.  In the earlier '80's, the commercial RE brokerage firm I was with worked on many projects with the family/corporate entity that owned Konterra .  I worked on some of the different "things" they owned, etc.   There were development boards for Konterra in their offices.   That was the early 80's.  That is a long time ago.

OTH.  Around that time and/or a wee bit later I worked on some other projects also in Md.  While Konterra is "inching" along....there is NOTHING on these other sites.  NADA.  NIL.

Of course if this were some parts of Va, where development has been more crazed....those plans from the 80's would have high rises, Starbucks, CheeseCake Factories' and maybe a great independent operator or two.   ;)

I surmise that is because the ICC has been in contention for many many years. Konterra was meant to springboard off that project, which almost did not come to fruition. I believe the Purple line may also be a part of the equation, and that still is being "fought" over to this day.  One never knows which projects will go through quickly and which ones get caught up in the wheel of politics...

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I surmise that is because the ICC has been in contention for many many years. Konterra was meant to springboard off that project, which almost did not come to fruition. I believe the Purple line may also be a part of the equation, and that still is being "fought" over to this day.  One never knows which projects will go through quickly and which ones get caught up in the wheel of politics...

Could be because of ICC.  I was never involved in it; simply saw the intro site plans and heard about it.  I did some subsequent research and it appears you are correct, the owners lobbied for the ICC for years.   And I learned the same ownership group who purchased it in '81 still own it.  Besides politics, market conditions have a lot to do with when development gets going.

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It's been a very slow motion development. I am pretty sure that parts of the areas around the hospital are technically Konterra. Same for all of the flex office space along route 1 and ammendale/virginia manor. Slow and steady appears to be working for them - they still own the rights and they have not done anything stupid or gone bankrupt.

The fascinating thing about Laurel in General is that, when there is new or re-development, it leaves behind older open restaurant and retail space. The good places that are displaced, adapt (case in point, Mango's), and newcomers fill the holes (like the supposedly arriving Chicken Loco).  That means there's homogenization and chainification happening, but still leaving places for independent places to get a foot hold.

I remember reading that one of the reasons Harris Teeter decided to build in Laurel was because of the 1, 3, and 5 mile radius average household incomes.

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The other one next to Don Pablos was a Lone Star Steakhouse,  complete with hourly staff line dancing and peanuts on the floor.  I believe it was an asian buffet before a better? one moved into the old Greene Turtle (previously El Torito) space out front by Red Lobster.  That whole strip is a wasteland of failed failures that lasted longer than they should have, but RIP Einsteins.

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Separately, I was in Burnsville, passing through on old Route 29, and what used to be the 'new' shopping center where Giant moved in maybe 30 years ago is basically a Ghost Town. The 'now new' shopping center across the street, on the remains of what was an ancient Safeway (among other things) is now full and busy.

Is this "ancient" Safeway where the original Amish Market was? I assume the "new" shopping center is the one with Pepino's?

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The other one next to Don Pablos was a Lone Star Steakhouse,  complete with hourly staff line dancing and peanuts on the floor.  I believe it was an asian buffet before a better? one moved into the old Greene Turtle (previously El Torito) space out front by Red Lobster.  That whole strip is a wasteland of failed failures that lasted longer than they should have, but RIP Einsteins.

Yeah that immediate area is pretty weak. The good thing is that the new Laurel Town Center is forcing at least some other developments to spruce up and compete. Places that do not, get to try new experiments with entrepreneurs on a budget.

Einsteins....I remember that was actually a Toddle House when we moved to Laurel in 2000.

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Is this "ancient" Safeway where the original Amish Market was? I assume the "new" shopping center is the one with Pepino's?

So, heading south on the 'old' Route 29 segment, you come to the intersection with 198. On your right is where the 'old ancient Safeway' used to be. This is also where there was some Amish stuff going on (they sold sheds, too).  Of the left side, almost directly across, is where Giant Food built another shopping center, probably in the very early 1980s. It quickly filled up and siphoned off all development interest from elsewhere in Burtonsville to it. Then, the same Giant, now owned by a memo conglomerate, was lured away to move back across the street in this newly redeveloped place on the remains of the old ancient Safeway. The 'formerly new shopping center with the husk of the 1980s giant' is now a ghost town. And according to the Googles, it looks like this is where Pepino's is. Never been.

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Pepinos is in the basically abandoned one.  They have a massive "WE ARE STILL HERE SIGN."  It think it's down to them, Kim's Hunan, and starbucks.  The "new" one is the rebuild of the lot the Amish market used to be in.  Giant, pet store, Greene Turtle, a handful of restaurants.

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Pepinos is in the basically abandoned one.  They have a massive "WE ARE STILL HERE SIGN."  It think it's down to them, Kim's Hunan, and starbucks.  The "new" one is the rebuild of the lot the Amish market used to be in.  Giant, pet store, Greene Turtle, a handful of restaurants.

Ohhhhh! I didn't know they rebuilt that - that tells you how long it's been. I still can't get used to 29 *not* going in between those two shopping centers. It's every bit as bizarre as what they did with Montrose Road and Rockville Pike, which I can no longer navigate. I remember very well when that shopping center was brand, spanking new - Pepino's actually had really good white pizza.

Einsteins....I remember that was actually a Toddle House when we moved to Laurel in 2000.

And I remember the Toddle House very well, but my days in Laurel were in the late 1980s / early 1990s. Other than Pasta Plus and the barbecue place on the west side of Route 1 up by the Howard County line (the one with the soft plastic "windows" on the porch), there was nowhere to eat. Man, Gringada was nastyssimo; there was eventually a Korean-owned "barbecue" place in Beltsville around 1990 (east side of Route 1) that wasn't all that bad. I took my mom to The Brass Duck for Thanksgiving dinner one year (in the Best Western off Route 198 between Laurel and Burtonsville), and it was actually pretty good! Oh, and of course there was Tippy's Taco House which became Toucan Taco House - I was a fan. And the Red, Hot, and Blue in old-town Laurel had a pretty good chicken salad - I remember the day before I moved to NoVa, I went to a coffee shop in old-town Laurel and bought a pound of their blend which was called "Evening in Laurel." :lol: Now that I'm thinking about this, I'm pretty sure I could give a fairly thorough run-down of Laurel and Burtonsville, circa 1990. There was a Chinese restaurant on Route 1 and Contee Road owned by a gentleman named Thomas Tung (House of Peking Choice, I think). And snicker if you will, but the Ledo's Pizza there was really good - and my mom loved Bay & Surf.

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There is actually a Roy Rogers in that development in Burtonsville, too.

Bay & Surf has been razed. It had a fire years ago and closed. Eventually the property owners razed it, I think hoping they could attract someone to the site by seeing how big it was.

Gah Rham is the Korean place I have been to in Beltsville, but that was maybe 5 years ago. It was pretty decent but nothing amazing.

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There is actually a Roy Rogers in that development in Burtonsville, too.

Bay & Surf has been razed. It had a fire years ago and closed. Eventually the property owners razed it, I think hoping they could attract someone to the site by seeing how big it was.

Gah Rham is the Korean place I have been to in Beltsville, but that was maybe 5 years ago. It was pretty decent but nothing amazing.

We have a thread on Bay & Surf.

The Korean place was a BBQ joint called Kenny's.

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 Gringada was nastyssimo; 

I recall many many years ago when a certain member of this board (ahem, Toogs) asked me to join him at this "really good Mexican restaurant" in Laurel. At the time I believe I was actually exercising and more careful about how often I ate out, which only added insult to injury when I tasted the food at Gringada. Thankfully his tastes have improved since then. :P

Gringada is still in business btw.

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I recall many many years ago when a certain member of this board (ahem, Toogs) asked me to join him at this "really good Mexican restaurant" in Laurel. At the time I believe I was actually exercising and more careful about how often I ate out, which only added insult to injury when I tasted the food at Gringada. Thankfully his tastes have improved since then. :P

Gringada is still in business btw.

They actually expanded their 'protected' outdoor seating along the back/upper side several years ago. They keep on trucking.

Me? I'd go to Mango's any day, just up the way about 2 miles to the north. Far superior. And you know what? It's been too damn long.

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They actually expanded their 'protected' outdoor seating along the back/upper side several years ago. They keep on trucking.

Me? I'd go to Mango's any day, just up the way about 2 miles to the north. Far superior. And you know what? It's been too damn long.

You know, I've never made it there, which is shameful. Maybe we should have a little DR outing in Laurel. How many VA folks do you think we could get up here? ;)

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Don, do you remember Chin Tao over in the Montpelier shopping center?  Best ameri-chinese ever.  They had something called Crab Kahuku which is never on menus elsewhere and is certainly not crab rangoon.  Kind of a cross of rangoon and a thai curry puff.  They went out of business when the owner of the shady irish pub next door set their place on fire for the insurance money.  Man that place was a show too, complete with dwarves dressed as leprechauns.

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Don, do you remember Chin Tao over in the Montpelier shopping center?  Best ameri-chinese ever.  They had something called Crab Kahuku which is never on menus elsewhere and is certainly not crab rangoon.  Kind of a cross of rangoon and a thai curry puff.  They went out of business when the owner of the shady irish pub next door set their place on fire for the insurance money.  Man that place was a show too, complete with dwarves dressed as leprechauns.

Is this the shopping center at the base of Muirkirk Road, at the intersection of Muirkirk and Route 197? If so, then you know the route I took on this run (from Montpelier Hills, down Muirkirk, to Route 197, and back). When I was living there, I frequented the TCBY fairly often, and I have a vague recollection of a small Chinese restaurant going in there, but I don't remember if it was named Chin Tao (Green Island). Was it a small, carry-out kind of place?

Believe it or not, there used to be an entrance from Muirkirk to the B-W Parkway, which they eliminated in late 1989.

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Don, do you remember Chin Tao over in the Montpelier shopping center?  Best ameri-chinese ever.  They had something called Crab Kahuku which is never on menus elsewhere and is certainly not crab rangoon.  Kind of a cross of rangoon and a thai curry puff.  They went out of business when the owner of the shady irish pub next door set their place on fire for the insurance money.  Man that place was a show too, complete with dwarves dressed as leprechauns.

That shopping center is kind of an armpit. The only redeeming quality is that there are gas stations there and a Rite Aid. I think they opened up a Dunkin Donuts in the old bank slot by now.

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Is this the shopping center at the base of Muirkirk Road, at the intersection of Muirkirk and Route 197? If so, then you know the route I took on this run (from Montpelier Hills, down Muirkirk, to Route 197, and back). When I was living there, I frequented the TCBY fairly often, and I have a vague recollection of a small Chinese restaurant going in there, but I don't remember if it was named Chin Tao (Green Island). Was it a small, carry-out kind of place?

Believe it or not, there used to be an entrance from Muirkirk to the B-W Parkway, which they eliminated in late 1989.

That's the one.  It was small, but they had a few tables.  They didn't do delivery until near their end, so it was mostly carryout.

I don't remember the Muirkirk entrance to the parkway but I wasn't driving in 1989.

---

Kabu (Toogs)

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Wapo overview of Beltsville.  Some new places for me to try, especially Manilla mart.

"Why Beltsville is the D.C. Area's Best Cheap Eats Destination" by Tim Carman on washingtonpost.com

Same for me. Need to drag myself into Swahili Village instead of driving past every time, and El Quetzal sounds interesting. I would argue that Seoulia and even Gah Rham (no thread?) deserve mention ahead of Myoung Dong for Korean, although I may need to give the "new" items that Tim referred to in the article a try.

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Same for me. Need to drag myself into Swahili Village instead of driving past every time, and El Quetzal sounds interesting. I would argue that Seoulia and even Gah Rham (no thread?) deserve mention ahead of Myoung Dong for Korean, although I may need to give the "new" items that Tim referred to in the article a try.

MD is good at some things, I just think their lunch specials are lame.  The melting rock cauldron soups are good.

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6 minutes ago, Pool Boy said:

Correct. Several years ago I am sure, someone acquired the land and buildings at the intersection of Route 1 and Rt 198 right in the heart of Laurel. There were a few things there - Mango's (in a tiny, tiny space), a check cashing place, a former Kenny Rogers Roasters that had been converted in to an Irene's (of Wheaton fame) and then this hideous, horrible, ugly, falling apart 3 or 4 story 'office' building (it had boards up in several windows, the AC was provided by random window mounted units, and was in a general state of disrepair -- I often wondered if anyone still went in to the building and worked there and always thought no, that is not possible...).

Anyway, someone must have bought everything up, did not renew any of the leases as they came up, tore everything down and put a super huge Walgreens on the sight (a significant improvement). Aside from that parcel being redeveloped in to something new and useful, Mango's landed in the old India Gate space at the intersection of Route 1 and Cherry Lane (YAY!). Irene's ended up near the Home Depot at Route 1 and Route 197 (I think it replaced an Asian Buffet place). The check cashing place disappeared (yay!), and that horrible ugly building was gone gone gone. As a side note, while it was too bad India Gate disappeared, the coming of Curry Leaf just down the road was a beacon of light (and that place is in my regular carryout rotation).

Mango's did a refresh of the India Gate space and really expanded the seating. A lot of the same people who were at the old location migrated to the new location and they expanded staff to manage the additional demand. I am really glad they are doing well.

Whoa ... that intersection is shaped like a "pound sign" (#), with a patch of land in the middle separating both divided roads, and Pasta Plus was in there. Is *this* the piece of land you're referring to?

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