How MilkBoy Came to College Park

MilkBoy ArtHouse, MilkBoy College Park, College Park music, College Park restaurants

Photo by Geoff Sheil

The University of Maryland has set its sights on making College Park a great college town. MilkBoy ArtHouse, which opens Tuesday, is a crucial part of that effort.

A cafe, bar and live music venue on Route 1 at the former site of the Barking Dog bar, MilkBoy will offer made-from-scratch food like shrimp tacos, cocktails and beer and wine, along with live acts playing everything from indie rock to jazz and spoken word.

The College Park location is a project of the university’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and MilkBoy, a privately run venue in Philadelphia.

The Hyattsville Wire recently caught up with Martin Wollesen, executive director of The Clarice, and the folks behind MilkBoy. Here’s what they told us about how it came about.

Wollesen, who came to College Park in 2013, previously built a similar restaurant, bar and performance space called The Loft at the University of California, San Diego.

“I am interested in the various ways people participate and create in the performing arts, and I wanted to partner to create an informal performance space in our community that extended our offerings at The Clarice,” he said.

At the same time, the owners of MilkBoy had just done a collaboration with a Philadelphia-based group called U3 Advisors, a real estate and economic development firm which suggested they get in touch with the university. Both sides saw the opportunity.

“UMD is one of the biggest schools in the country, with a great arts community, but there’s nothing quite like us,” the owners of MilkBoy said in an email. “We’ve always wanted to operate in a college town.”

While new student housing, chains like Nando’s and TargetExpress and a $115 million hotel and conference center under construction, College Park is being redeveloped, but it’s the smaller projects like MilkBoy that will help make a difference.

Great college towns like Chapel Hill or Olympia have thriving local music scenes and funky restaurants. MilkBoy will help fill in both of those gaps in College Park.

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