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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Vigilante’s Clever Sidewalk Advertising


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Cafe Azul Adds Outdoor Art


Cafe Azul added some outdoor art to its Arts District space.

The Venezuelan restaurant along Route 1 brought in Baltimore street artist Michael William Kirby to add three new paintings to its exterior.

Previously, the space had signs up advertising the Arts District.

Another piece by Kirby, called “Fashion,” was installed on the side of the old Professional Coffee Shop building just down the street last year.

Both works of art were done through the Hyattsville Community Development Corp.’s Biz-Art Match-Up program, which pairs local businesses with artists.

Kirby is a good pick, managing to straddle the difficult line between acceptable and edgy. The works have character but aren’t too far out there for public art.

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Home Improvement for Kids


Here’s an unlikely place to take your kids for fun: Home Depot.

But like other stores in the national chain, the Hyattsville Home Depot offers a free monthly program for kids to learn how to use tools while putting together a small project.

At a recent session, most of the kids were young girls, while the project was a birdhouse kit (pictured above) designed to look like the house from “The Wizard of Oz.”

The kids hammered small nails into pre-cut pieces of wood, then added stickers and paint, all under the direction of two younger helpers and a friendly staffer.

The program is offered on the first Saturday of each month. Kids get to keep an orange apron and the project that they made.

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