Blaze Pizza’s grand opening Thursday means the pizza market in College Park has been officially oversaturated. With Slices, known for its unique toppings, Pizza Kingdom, which distinguishes itself with large slice size, and Ratsie’s, mainly great because of its proximity to a majority of the Route 1 bars, many object to Blaze’s arrival, even though the business is providing customization for the tried-and-true dish.
Though many pizza restaurants are popping up, College Park eateries aren’t meeting some cravings. It’s hard to predict which restaurants will become mainstays in the area, as many unique restaurants have failed to catch on with students and visitors to this university, resulting in sudden closures.
Below are five restaurant types College Park needs within walking distance to the campus, and why they are likely to thrive.
A dim sum restaurant would flourish on Route 1 for a variety of reasons. As much as I love sushi, I know there are too many sushi places around and quite a few other Asian restaurants that offer the same few menu items. It’s easy to get tired of lo mein, General Tso’s chicken, teriyaki dishes and, yes, even spicy tuna rolls.
Dim sum is a series of small dishes served a la carte. You can choose to grab a basket of steamed buns, dumplings, potstickers, roasted meats or dessert tarts. A dim sum restaurant would be perfect in College Park not only for its novelty, but also for its style. The choices of small dishes in a casual environment would be perfect for a cash-strapped college student who wants to have a nice meal.
I just ranted about pizza overload on Route 1, and now I’m advocating an Italian restaurant. As someone whose white blood cells might as well be made of minced garlic, I know there is more to Italian food than pizza.
Whenever my family comes to visit me in College Park, they always lament that there isn’t a real Italian place nearby. While Ledo is the closest to the real thing, it feels like an American restaurant with an Italian twist (it also carries wings and subs). Noodles & Company’s “Mediterranean” pastas don’t cut it. Olive Garden doesn’t even count.
What we need is a real family-style Italian place — food that’s exquisitely tasty with a sense of comfort and hominess.
It is a universal truth that college students eat ramen, but few of them eat the real thing. Instant noodles are good for a quick fix when studying, but honest-to-goodness ramen is a filling meal. Loaded with vegetables and a variety of proteins such as pork and egg, the noodles are served in a hearty broth that cures even the most rabid of hungers.
Locals have already proven they love pho, as evidenced by the two pho restaurants nearby. A good ramen bar might be just the thing to bring a balanced and relatively fast meal to busy College Park residents.
Though there’s Spice 6’s modern take on Indian food in Hyattsville and the little-known Food Factory across from the Varsity, there really is no go-to Indian place around the campus, which is a travesty. There are few types of cuisine as rich or flavorful as Indian food, and its dishes appeal to every kind of palate.
Some might hesitate to try Indian at first, as the dishes are sauce-like and colorful, but going to an Indian restaurant can be a fun group activity to share multiple entrees.
There are only a few places to go near the campus for your starchy needs. Bagel Place has the breakfast bread market cornered, and discount day-old bread from Jimmy John’s is the closest to fresh you can get on Route 1. If you want a good pastry, your options are even more limited — perhaps only to what’s behind the counter at Starbucks.
A bakery would waft the heavenly smell of fresh rolls and pastries onto Route 1, and there’s nothing like making a pit stop for fresh baked goods to really break away from the stresses of school.