College Park: Live on Baltimore Avenue? Here’s what you need to know.

A row of shops, including The Frame Mender, Roti Mediterranean Grill and YoLove Frozen Yogurt, is located on Baltimore Avenue beneath The Varsity student apartment complex. Photo by Pamela Seaton.

Live on Baltimore Avenue? If you do, chances are high that you are a student at University of Maryland, which is also on the avenue, and/or are new to the area. If so, chances are also high that you live in one of three student apartment complexes on the avenue: The Varsity, University View and The Enclave. If I have guessed right so far, congratulations! You, like me, live on one of the main streets in College Park, which is filled with plenty of things to do and places to eat. Getting to know them and their specialties will be of no trouble and easy to recognize after reading this post.

Located directly beneath The Varsity and University View are a number of restaurants and small shops, making it easier for students and residents to stay close to home while having within their grasps everything they need to maintain their apartments (and stomachs). Here is a list of places you should visit if you are new to the avenue like me:

Pizza Autentica is a nice spot to visit for gourmet pizza. Dough balls and sauces are made from scratch at the shop and its other ingredients are kept fresh as well. I personally fell in love with the pepperoni pizza, but there are, of course, other pizzas to choose from, as well as strombolis, paninis, salads and gelatos. Everything is “autentica,” or made to replicate the original Italian recipes.

Shanghai Tokyo Cafe offers gourmet Asian food–including classic Japanese, Chinese and Thai specialties–and is set in a bistro setting. Meals include sushi rolls, chow mein, Pad Thai, fried rice and more and it has an Asian cuisine sushi bar. The fried rice is my personal favorite.

Customers enjoy freshly-made salads at SweetGreen. Photo by Pamela Seaton.

SweetGreen is known for making delicious and addictive salads. The ingredients are fresh and the salads are made right in front of you. I recommend the Caesar Reggiano salad with chopped romaine, roasted chicken and shaved parmigiano or the Earth Bowl salad with warm grains and arugula, roasted chicken and white cheddar.

Royal Farms is a mini-market, if you will. There are sodas and snacks you can buy, as well as frozen dinners, dairy products, household supplies and a small kitchen where you can order a quick bite of chicken fingers on-the-go or a slice of pizza. It also has a mobile app where customers can receive special offers from the store.

YoLove Frozen Yogurt offers a wide variety of yogurt flavors to choose from and allows customers to create and mix flavors and toppings. Flavors include Cake Batter (my personal favorite), Hawaiian Pineapple Sorbet and Cookies n’ Cream. It also has a warm, inviting environment, so if you are ever looking for a place to relax and take a study break while enjoying a delicious snack, this is the place to go to.

Roti Mediterranean Grill offers great Mediterranean food to the area, including pitas, cous-cous, fire-roasted meats and hummus. I have to say that I was never a fan of hummus until I visited Roti and I believe it is a great place to experience new foods and to get something different than the regular burgers and pizza offered in abundance in the area.

Many of The Frame Mender’s services are printed on the walls for customers to see. Photo by Pamela Seaton.

The Frame Mender is the only non-food related business beneath The Varsity and University View. It is a truly, truly convenient location for students and residents in need of eyeglass repair or a new pair of glasses. Since moving to College Park, I have yet to encounter a problem with my glasses, but I am so glad that I will not have to travel all of the way to Washington to get my glasses repaired. The franchise, itself, has been around for 35 years and was voted “Best in Washington” by Washingtonian magazine, which gives me comfort in knowing that my glasses will be in good hands. A WHILE-U-WAIT service is also offered, which is also a fantastic benefit because many students are constantly in a rush and need their glasses repaired as soon as possible.

Bobby’s Burger Palace offers the best burgers and meals for “calorie-conscious eaters” and is inspired by recipes from renowned chef Bobby Flay. The absolute favorite of the restaurant is the Topless Burger Salad, which allows customers to choose any burger from the menu and place it on top of greens and Balsamic dressing. My personal favorite is the Crunchburger with two slices of American cheese and potato chips. It is delicious!

ChiDogO’s has its “College Park Story” printed on the wall above its menus and beside its service station. Photo by Pamela Seaton.

ChiDogO’s offers Chicago-inspired hot dogs and meals to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The franchise was opened by a Chicago businessman and University of Maryland alum, Bob H., who realized that the area did not have a “taste of Chicago” and believed that that was a problem. There are multiple locations in the area, including one underneath of The Varsity. Favorites include the Chicago Dog made of Vienna beef in a steamed poppy seed bun with mustard, relish, onions, a pickle spear, tomatoes, peppers and a dash of celery salt (which is my personal favorite) or the Big Beef Sandwich, which has 50 percent more beef than the Mini Beef Sandwich and is made of Italian beef. Peppers and Mozzarella cheese can be added.

Looney’s Pub is THE go-to spot for drinks and a quick bite while watching the Maryland Terps play on gigantic TV screens and is located directly on the edge of The Varsity. Meal specials start at 5 p.m. and drink specials start at 9 p.m. Favorites include the Hot Crab Dip (my personal favorite) and the Chili & Cheddar Fries.

There are also a number of other restaurants and businesses on Baltimore Avenue that are not directly located underneath The Varsity and University View, including McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, 7-Eleven, College Park Car Wash, Rita’s Water Ice, Campus Dollar, #1 Liquor, Alina’s Hair Salon, Pandora’s Cube (a video game store), IKEA and more. Though it is mostly composed of restaurants, Baltimore Avenue is sure to have everything you would immediately need to carry on with your day. If not, a 5-minute bus ride on the C2 (Greenbelt Station) will drop you off at Beltway Plaza Mall, which stores include Giant, Target, Marshalls, a movie theater and numerous other food and clothing stores. A Best Buy is also located at 4710 Cherry Hill Road just off of Baltimore Avenue for all of your technology and electronic needs.

Enjoy living on Baltimore Avenue and in College Park! Read what a few residents had to say about the shops by clicking on the following link:


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