Wine Bar Slash Coffeehouse Coming in 2016

Photo of wine glass by Flickr user @hlkljgk

Photo of wine glass by Flickr user @hlkljgk

College Park will soon get an independent wine bar-slash-coffeehouse from a longtime local business owner.

The as-yet-unnamed drink spot will be located at 7131 Baltimore Ave., currently home to College Park Auto Parts, according to the Washington Business Journal:

They plan to offer a menu of locally-sourced food including cheese and charcuterie, small plates, sandwiches and more. The pair want the space to serve as coffeehouse, craft beer and wine bar and arts venue, with arts events and music performances in the evenings.

The two-story restaurant comes from Tony Akaras, owner of Plato’s Diner, which is kitty-cornered from the location, and business partner Mona Patel.

It comes as the Route 1 corridor continues to develop, with a Whole Foods coming to Riverdale Park just south of there and new housing across the street for University of Maryland students.

The restaurant is scheduled to open in early 2016.

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Hyatt House Hotel Joins Cafritz Project

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

The Riverdale Park Station will not only include Prince George’s County’s first Whole Foods Market, but a Hyatt House hotel as well, complete with a swimming pool and green roof, according to a recent announcement by Calvin Cafritz Enterprises. The 120-room project is slated to open in mid- to late-2017.

The Hyatt House will be located just behind Whole Foods and will have an extended-stay option.

Construction of the 36,000-square-foot Whole Foods is well underway and is scheduled to be completed later this year or early 2016. A groundbreaking event for the store was held last month.

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TargetExpress Coming to College Park

Photo by Flickr user jeepersmedia

Photo by Flickr user jeepersmedia

TargetExpress is coming to College Park.

The new “urban-format” store will be located on the first floor of the student housing building on the site of the old Maryland Book Exchange on Route 1 and College Avenue, according to the Washington Business Journal:

TargetExpress stores skew toward grocery offerings, with food, household items, health and beauty products. The College Park TargetExpress could follow the model of the first-ever TargetExpress, which is also located near a large university — the University of Minnesota — and carries a fair amount of school supplies.

The College Park location is smaller than many of the stores that Target has announced thus far, most of which range from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet. TargetExpress is a fraction of the size of a big-box Target, which averages about 135,000 square feet.

The store will have most of your day-to-day needs, such as shampoo, pencils and bananas, but not some of the other bigger items typically sold at Target like bicycles and toys.

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New Chainsaw Art in University Park


Chainsaw artist Don Becker is working on another sculpture in University Park.

A tree stump along the town’s popular Wells Run park is slowly becoming a yellow-crowned night heron, a crab-eating migratory bird described as “more solitary and often more secretive” than other herons by the Audubon Field Guide.

The sculpture is just a stone’s throw from the Kermit the Frog sculpture that Becker also carved.


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Nando’s is Coming to College Park

nandosNando’s Peri-Peri is coming to College Park.

According to a recent write-up in the Washington Business Journal, College Park’s Ratsie’s pizza parlor is scheduled to close this September after serving University of Maryland students for 25 years.

Nando’s, a restaurant chain originally started in South Africa in 1987 with several locations throughout the D.C. metro area, has plans to take over the space at 7400 Baltimore Ave.

This will make a fantastic addition to the growing restaurant scene in Hyattsville and the surrounding area.


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Franklins Expanding to College Park

IMG_2186A new four-star hotel in College Park will feature a restaurant from Mike Franklin, owner of Franklins in downtown Hyattsville.

The $115 million hotel development is being built by Southern Management, but the real mastermind is the University of Maryland, which hopes that a conference center and another big project along Route 1 will help the college boost its image.

Like many of the other recent projects in College Park’s main strip, the hotel will feature some ground floor businesses designed to promote walkability.

Along with the restaurant, the hotel project will also feature an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, the chain’s first in Prince George’s County; Potomac Pizza; which has locations in Potomac, Rockville and Chevy Chase; and Bagels ‘n Grinds, which currently has one location in Anne Arundel, according to the Washington Post.

The building plans also call for a rooftop lounge overlooking campus.


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More High-End Apartments for Hyattsville

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 10.30.01 PMMore high-end apartments are planned within walking distance of the Prince George’s Plaza Metro station.

Located on the former Kiplinger Editors Press site near the Home Depot on East West Highway, the five-story apartment building would feature 352 apartments ranging from studios to a handful of three-bedroom units.

Tentatively titled The Edition, the complex is being developed by Fore Property Co., a real estate company with offices in Washington, D.C.; Las Vegas and Houston.

The development would join similar upscale apartments built in recent years within the critical half-mile of the Metro station, including Mosaic at MetroPost Park and 3350 at Alterra.

A proposal given to the City Council gives a $73 million price tag and includes the usual amenities: a parking garage, a clubhouse with a yoga studio and exercise room, and an interior courtyard with a pool.

Another section of the development would also include a number of single-family townhomes similar to the ones in the Arts District, while a third section is set aside for future retail use.


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Whole Foods Begins to Take Shape

IMG_2503The developers bringing a Whole Foods to Riverdale Park are getting ready to start work on more commercial buildings next door.

Set to open later this year, the grocery store is taking shape. According to developers, another building will be started in the next month or two, while the necessary, if not glamorous, work continues on things like water lines and a railroad crossing.

Other retail buildings will be started within the next six months, as well as a traffic signal at the intersection of Route 1 and Van Buren Street, the main entrance to the development.

With a parking lot planned for just west of the Whole Foods building, customers should be able to easily get in to go food shopping even as construction continues on the rest of the development.

The opening of the Whole Foods will bring new attention to the area. As we saw with the Busboys and Poets in the Arts District, a landmark tenant can help build buzz even if the rest of the development is still months or years away from being finished.


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Classical Vigilante

Excelsa QuartetVigilante Coffee hasn’t just upgraded the quality of Hyattsville’s coffee — it’s also made it a little better for music.

On recent Fridays, the coffee shop and roastery in the historic downtown has hosted the Excelsa Quartet, a group of four University of Maryland students who are practicing for an upcoming music competition in Austria.

The classical music sets, which typically last from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., have proven popular with the hipsters and stay-at-home parents who frequent Vigilante on weekdays.

As a happy accident, the high ceilings of the former Model T dealership have great acoustics for live classical music.

The Hyattsville Wire loves this addition to the local entertainment scene and can’t wait to see what else Vigilante comes up with.

Editor’s Note: The Hyattsville Wire was on a brief hiatus, but we look forward to returning to a more regular publishing schedule.



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Hyattsville’s New BonChon Now Open

photoOver the weekend the Hyattsville Wire tried out the new BonChon Korean fried chicken restaurant at University Town Center, which had its grand opening last week.

While we didn’t have time to try their signature fried chicken dish (about a 30-minute wait), we did sample some of the other items on their menu and think it’s a worthy addition to Hyattsville’s growing food scene.

The interior is stylish and trendy with a full bar and TVs for watching the game. The menu has some dishes which are accessible to people who aren’t familiar with Korean cuisine, such as the chicken katsu, a Panko-breaded cutlet with a spicy sweet sauce, as well as french fries and coleslaw.

But there are also several  harder-to-find dishes for those who are such as Tteokbokki, a traditional rice and fish cake dish.

The major difference for people who have been to traditional Korean restaurants is that you don’t automatically get the typical side dishes like kimchi and daikon radish, although you can order them separately.

In a lot of ways, BonChon is less a traditional Korean eatery and more of a South Korean fried chicken restaurant.

Although BonChon doesn’t deliver, you can takeout and their signature chicken dish might be the perfect thing to order in advance so you don’t have to wait the average 30 minutes it takes to make it.

Hyattsville is BonChon’s fourth location in the D.C. Metro area joining Rockville, Md., and Arlington and Centreville, Va.

And for those of you who are curious, “BonChon” in Korean means “my hometown.”

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