Volunteers Finish West Hyattsville Metro Mural

West Hyattsville Metro mural painting underpass

Volunteers from around the community and beyond helped paint a mural at the West Hyattsville Metro this weekend.

More than 400 people came to listen to music, do children’s activities and pitch in to finish the latest piece of public art on the Route 1 corridor on Saturday.

The paint-by-numbers mural was designed by Cory Stowers and Henry Portillo of ART B.L.O.C. DC, which designs and paints murals around the D.C. area. They will come back to put the finishing touches on the mural later.

More photos from the event can be seen online here.

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Pizzeria Paradiso to Open in Hyattsville in June

Pizzeria Paradiso Hyattsville Art Works Now pizza oven art Valerie Theberge

Pizzeria Paradiso is slated to open in Hyattsville in mid-to-late-June.

The Neopolitan-influenced pizzeria will join the nonprofit Art Works Now at its new location in the Marche Florist building on Route 1.

The 2,000-square-foot restaurant will be the fourth location for the pizza chain, which started in Dupont Circle in 1991. It will seat 60 inside and another 18 outside. The Hyattsville pizzeria will be their first in Maryland. Beer will be a focus at the restaurant as well, with 16 beers on tap.

The Hyattsville Wire talked with Pizzeria Paradiso’s Tony Hamilton about what to expect.

When are you slated to open? 

We do not have a specific date set yet, however we are anticipating opening mid-to-late-June!

What will be your hours once you are open? 

Monday to Thursday open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Our hours are subject to change, depending on the community’s response.

How did you design the interior? 

The wood-fired oven, built by Marra Forni acts as its own art installation with a mosaic flame design by local artist Valerie Theberge. We are also collaborating with Art Works Now, the Art and Humanities Council of Prince George’s County and the Gateway District artists to create art pizzas that will adorn the space.

How will this location be different from your other locations?

The design team created a space that basically says this is an art center—it looks like creativity happens here. Our menu will be the same as our other locations, but there have been some recent changes to the menu that we are very excited about!

Are you planning any special events this summer?

Our opening will be a celebration of our first location in Maryland! We will have a tap take-over featuring Maryland breweries, plus a special pizza that will utilize locally-sourced ingredients including Maryland crabs.

We are also in the process of planning a collaboration with Art Works Now and the artist behind Graft Cider’s imagery. His name is Caleb Luke Lin and his work is fantastic!

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Spotted at the Historic Hyattsville House Tour

The Historic Hyattsville House Tour was even more charming this year.

This afternoon at a house on Farragut Street on the route of the tour of historic homes, three men played folk music on the porch.

Ralph Dubayah of University Park played the hurdy-gurdy, Mark Vidor of Baltimore played the accordion and Ted Porter of Hyattsville played the bagpipes.

Organized by the Hyattsville Preservation Association, the 38th annual self-guided walking tour featured eight homes and the Arcade Building on Gallatin Street, home of the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center.

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Hyattsville’s Other Historic District

College Heights Estates Hyattsville University Park Maryland historic district homes

Thanks in part to its annual house tour, which takes place today, the Hyattsville Historic District is well-known. But there’s another historic district in the area that’s not as well-publicized: College Heights Estates.

The neighborhood north of University Park called College Heights Estates has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2012.

The area began as a farm called Smith’s Folly. Dr. William Octavius Eversfield, who had served as a field surgeon in the Civil War, inherited the land from his mother in 1878 and worked out of a one-story log building on it for decades.

Starting in 1937, his widow and children sold parts of what was then called the Eversfield Farm to a real estate developer. The bulk of the homes now considered historic were built between 1938 and 1960, north of Wells Parkway between Adelphi Road and Route 1.

Unlike the streetcar suburbs along Route 1, College Heights Estates was designed around the automobile, with garages, brick walkways leading to homes set farther back from the street and large, leafy lots—all conditions set by restrictive covenants placed on the properties. As with University Park, the roads often wind unexpectedly and dead end in order to prevent casual drivers from passing through the area.

The homes were also aimed at the higher end of the market, with large floor plans mostly in a Colonial Revival style then in vogue that featured lots of brickwork and columns inspired in part by Colonial Williamsburg, which had become a tourist attraction in the 1930s. Most of the homes in the neighborhood were designed by the developer, giving them a consistent look, but a handful of homeowners hired their own architects and went with more unconventional styles.

Over the years, the area has been popular with University of Maryland professors and administrators, including several of the college’s presidents (including its current one, Wallace Loh). It’s also seen an influx of families with younger kids in recent years as the original homeowners have moved away.

With only 200 homes, the neighborhood doesn’t turn over that frequently. Currently only one home—the Tudor Revival pictured above—is for sale.

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Vigilante Offers Coffee Grounds for Your Garden

Vigilante Coffee grounds garden compostIf you like Vigilante’s coffee, you can get some to go—for your garden.

Like many coffee shops, the Hyattsville hangout offers its used grounds for free to customers who want to use it in their gardens or compost piles. (Starbucks also has a similar long-running program called Grounds for Your Garden.)

Two white containers on the side of the building contain the grounds, while a nearby container has a scoop and paper bags to take them home.

The containers are from Compost Cab, a D.C. company that offers pickup service for families and businesses that want to reduce waste.

The composting is a new initiative from Vigilante, which announced it earlier this month. Some of the grounds end up at ECO City Farms in Edmonston.

Coffee grounds are considered “green material”—things like food scraps and manure that add nitrogen to a compost pile. (A good compost pile will also have a mix of “brown material” like leaves and newspapers.)

Some people also put grounds directly in garden soil, to help aerate the soil, improve drainage and attract beneficial earthworms. And still others sprinkle them around plants to deter slugs, who reportedly don’t like the caffeine in them.

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West Hyattsville Metro to Get New Mural

West Hyattsville Metro Mural

The West Hyattsville Metro is getting a new mural, and you can help.

On Saturday, May 20, two professional muralists will lead the public in a paint-by-numbers exercise to complete a mural on both sides of an underpass at the Metro station.

Cory Stowers and Henry Portillo of ART B.L.O.C. DC, which designs and paints murals around the D.C. area, will be on hand to lead the public in painting with brushes and cans of spray paint.

For Stowers, the mural will bring things full circle. A Hyattsville native, he got his start in art spray-painting graffiti in the area—including this very same underpass—as part of a local hip hop-influenced group called the Double Down Kings.

The mural, which features arrows, stars and telephone poles in a psychedelic design, was chosen by a jury of local artists from more than 28 submissions. It is the first piece of public art at the station, which opened in 1993.

Approved after a two-year process, the mural is part of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Art in Transit program, which has put a lot of art at stations on the Green Line, including Georgia Avenue-Petworth, Columbia Heights and U Street.

To join the mural-painting crew, head to the West Hyattsville Metro on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Mount Rainier’s PanTones Steel Band will perform, Brentwood’s Artist & Craftsman Supply will offer related children’s activities and two D.C. food trucks will be at the site as well. Parking is free.

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Vote for the ‘Best of Route 1’ in Our Reader Poll

Best of Route 1 Hyattsville Wire Reader Survey Poll

Who makes the best coffee? Where’s the best playground? What’s the best place to go to yoga, listen to live music or eat Sunday brunch? For five years, we’ve been giving you tips on the best things to do along the Route 1 corridor. Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think is the best of the best.

The Hyattsville Wire is excited to launch the first ever Best of Route 1, a reader survey that will help determine the best places to eat, play and everything else in between along the Route 1 corridor.

Picks must be in Route 1 communities such as Mount Rainier, Brentwood, Bladensburg, Edmonston, Hyattsville, University Park, Riverdale Park, College Park, Berwyn Heights, Calvert Hills, Greenbelt or Beltsville.

And you can answer as many or as few questions as you like, but only one entry per person. To stop ballot-stuffing, we require an email address to take the survey, but we will not share your address with anyone or use it for any marketing purposes.

If you have some comments on why you chose a particular person, restaurant or shop, feel free to add them in your choice. We may quote some entries without using your name or email so that other readers can understand what made something the best.

One entrant will be randomly chosen to win a $25 gift certificate to a Route 1 business.

Submit your entry by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, to qualify. Winners will be announced in July on the Hyattsville Wire.

Click here to fill out the reader survey.

Thanks for reading the Hyattsville Wire and may the best of what Route 1 has to offer win!

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Why Pollo Campero Chose Hyattsville

Pollo Campero Hyattsville Guatemalan chicken University Town Center

Guatemalan chicken chain Pollo Campero opened a restaurant in Hyattsville earlier this year as part of a major effort to expand in the United States.

The Dallas-based chain, which also operates in several Central American countries, is considered the world’s largest Latin chicken restaurant chain, but it’s poised to break out in the U.S. market thanks to changing national demographics.

With 73 stores mostly in California, Texas and New York, Pollo Campero set out to open 14 more this year, including one in Silver Spring. (Other D.C. area locations: Takoma Park, Laurel, Falls Church and Alexandria.)

But Hyattsville makes particular sense. About one-third of the city’s population is Hispanic, according to the 2010 Census, with the majority listing a family origin in Central American countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, where Pollo Campero already is popular.

Pollo Campero (the name means “rural chicken”) focuses on grilled and fried chicken that’s been marinated served with dipping sauces and plantains or yucca fries. Fresh fruit drinks like tamarindo and guava outsell Pepsi, and dulce de leche empanadas and flan are on the dessert menu.

The area has also proven to be popular with international chains. BonChon, a South Korean fried chicken chain, is also in University Town Center, while Nando’s, a South African chicken chain, is in College Park. El Comalito, a Salvadoran restaurant along Baltimore Avenue in Riverdale Park, is always packed.

For a family-owned chain that’s looking to attract new customers, those are all good clues that Hyattsville is safe enough to attract its base but also adventurous enough to bring in new folks.

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Brentwood Apartment Construction Underway

A Brentwood apartment project will transform a section of Route 1.

Construction is underway at Studio 3807, located kitty-cornered from the volunteer fire department on Rhode Island Avenue, with apartments slated to be available to rent in spring of 2018.

The mixed-use building is part of a $36 million development funded in part by the city and the state. It will include 147 apartments, 6,322 square feet of retail space and 3,000 square feet of artist studios.

A second phase, called Artisan at 4100, will include 84 more apartments and 5,000 more square feet of retail. It is scheduled to open in late 2018.

The Brentwood apartments include some interesting touches. The buildings will have solar panels on the roof that will reduce energy consumption by almost 80 percent, and will be built to LEED Gold Standards, the second-highest rating for energy efficiency.

Brentwood apartment Studio 3807 Landex Development Maryland Gateway Arts District

Brentwood apartment project Studio 3807 rendering courtesy of Landex Development

The buildings’ interiors will also feature work commissioned from local artists that will rotate on a regular basis, as well as free WiFi throughout the building and electric car charging stations in the garage.

Overall, the development so far seems like a good example of the kind of big-scale effort that can be done along Route 1, similar to Arts District Hyattsville, Riverdale Park Station and the upcoming project in College Park.

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Hyattsville Wire Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Hyattsville Wire fifth anniversary celebration Route 1 news

This month, the Hyattsville Wire celebrates its fifth anniversary.

In May of 2012, we started this website because we felt communities along Route 1 weren’t being covered well, especially online, where coverage tended to focus on politics and crime. We wanted to change that.

Our mission in starting the Hyattsville Wire was to highlight the arts, architecturehistory and development of communities like Hyattsville, University Park, Riverdale Park and College Park, as well as Mount Rainier and Brentwood.

And things have definitely changed over the years. One of our early pieces was a call for a local coffee shop that pretty much described what Vigilante Coffee would become. Another was an argument for Hyattsville to join Capital Bikeshare, which will happen next year.

Along the way, we’ve interviewed everyone from crime author George Pelecanos to Jim Henson biographer Brian Jay Jones, to noted poet Kay Lindsey and duct tape artist Rachel Aughenbaugh, to Busboys & Poets founder Andy Shallal.

We’ve told you that the Firehouse Lofts were being developed, Art Works Now was moving to Hyattsville and BonChon was coming to University Town Center, among other things. We’ve explained mysterious wheatpaste art, tipped you off about secret menu items and even mapped out Sears homes in Hyattsville’s Historic District.

As we hoped, we’ve also spurred better coverage about the area, with our posts leading to stories in D.C. area news outlets, inspiring other websites to crop up and keeping existing news sites on their toes. We’ve added more than 3,000 fans on social media and picked up 10,000 page views last month alone.

And just recently, we’ve added new features including an events calendar that you can post your own events for free, more regular news coverage and a redesigned website, with some behind-the-scenes plugins to help the site run smoother. We also redesigned our mobile version to be more user-friendly, allowing you to easily read and share our news while you’re on the go.

If you’ve enjoyed the Hyattsville Wire, consider becoming one of our advertisers, or just show your appreciation with a small donation to help defray the costs of running this site, including web design and hosting and the general upkeep of the site at our GoFundMe page.

Thank you for reading and sharing our stories. Keep sending us your story ideas!

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