College Park’s dining scene will soon get even more diverse.
Six restaurants have signed leases for ground-floor space in the Terrapin Row apartment complex on the southern edge of the University of Maryland Campus adding to the town’s growing mix of interesting fast-casual spots.
They include SeoulSpice, which takes a Chipotle approach to Korean street fare and has locations in NoMa and Friendship Heights; Poki District, which takes a Chipotle approach to the Hawaiian poke trend and has a location in Penn Quarter; Gong Cha, a Taiwanese bubble-tea place with locations in New York and Texas; and Cheers Cut, a casual Taiwanese restaurant with a handful of locations on the East Coast.
Wings Over, which serves chicken wings, will also have a location.
The restaurants reflect the growing number of international students at the University of Maryland today — some 6,000 students from 129 countries in 2016 — as well as the most popular countries of origin. China tops the list, with 2,000 students in 2016, followed by India, with 1,000; then South Korea, Taiwan and Iran, with a few hundred.
That has spurred College Park to have a more interesting dining scene, if one that leans a little heavily in the fast-casual direction. Japanese restaurants like Kiyoko and Hanami; Chinese/Taiwanese restaurants like Northwest Chinese, Ivy Noodles and Ten Ren; Kung Fu bubble tea; Aroy Thai; Vietnamese restaurants Pho Thom and Pho D’Lite; Indian restaurant Krazi Kebob and South African chicken chain Nando’s.
Most of these places are good for a late-night bite or even a casual date on a Saturday afternoon (several were runners-up in our Best of Route 1 readers poll), but the new restaurants at Terrapin Row will be a welcome addition.