In College Park, Prince George’s County, it appears the Hotel at the University of Maryland will finally open this month. According to their current Facebook page, they had hoped to open by the end of June this year. Earlier on, they were advertising that they’d be open in the fall of 2016. I telephoned the hotel today, and a couple days ago, but only reached a recording both times. It said they are going to open by the end of August, so obviously they missed that date, too.
The hotel is to feature two new high-end restaurants: Kapnos Taverna (click here to see the restaurant’s listing in our Food & Drink Business Directory) and Old Maryland Grill (click here to see the restaurant’s listing in our Food & Drink Business Directory). Other on-site eateries are to include Bagels ‘n Grinds, and Potomac Pizza. Calls to both of those restaurants went unanswered as well.
Old Maryland Grill
This will be the second restaurant from Mike Franklin, long-time owner of Hyattsville’s Franklins Restaurant, Brewery, & General Store. A call to that establishment finally got me a now hoped-for opening date: Friday, September 8th, 2017. I was unable to confirm the dates with the hotel. But it seems likely the hotel would open at the same time. Of course, if the two new restaurants have both interior and exterior entrances, they could open before the hotel itself.
While Franklins (that’s right, no apostrophe in the name) is a fairly casual place, the Old Maryland Grill looks like it will be a bit more upscale, at least from looking at photos on the hotel’s website and the restaurant’s Facebook page. They say they will feature local steaks and seafood. Their Facebook page bills it as “Classic and contemporary cuisine and cocktails from the Old Line State.”
At the bottom of the restaurant’s website (or the footer of the page, as it’s also known), they show a link to OpenTable, with the possibility of a reservation for September 2, 2017. But when you click on it, the reality is that OpenTable isn’t actually offering seats until Monday, September 11. That’s not a criticism, but rather just the reality of trying to have the page ready when they do open.
A section at the bottom of their home-page lists the providers of their food and drink. It’s a nice shout-out for these folks:
- Oyster/Seafood, 8 purveyors
- Vegetables, 2 purveyors
- Cheese, 3 purveyors
- Meats, 3 purveyors
- Spirits, 9 purveyors
- Wine, 12 purveyors
- Beer, 10 purveyors
This will be the second Kapnos Taverna (καπνός = smoke; ταβέρνα = tavern), the other being in Ballston (Arlington), VA. There’s also a Kapnos restaurant in Washington, DC on 14th Street, NW, and Kapnos Kouzina in Bethesda, MD. All are the creations of Chef Mike Isabella, previously chef at José Andres’ Zaytinya restaurant on 9th Street, NW in Washington, DC (one of my favorite places downtown).
When referring to Mike Isabella, I’m not sure whether Chef or Restaurateur is the appropriate title. Probably Restaurateur, given he now seems to be concentrating on developing new eateries. On his website, you can buy gift cards for nine different dining venues (excluding those at stadiums, airports, and in Richmond, VA). Given his track record, we hope his new venture in College Park at least equals his other properties.
While I’ve not seen a menu listed for Kapnos Taverna, its sister restaurants feature such classic Greek dishes as:
- Tastziki (a sauce of yogurt, dill, cucumber, and lemon; familiar to many Americans as the sauce used on a Gyro sandwich).
- Hummus (a sauce or spread of ground chickpeas, tahini, lemon, and other seasonings)
- Dolmades (grape leaves, often stuffed with rice and pine nuts)
- Spanikopita (sometimes called a spinach pie, usually made with phyllo pastry stuffed with spinach and feta cheese)
We wish the new hotel and all its restaurants the best of luck. We’ll hope to report back when they do open. Eventually we may have the opportunity to dine at these places, too, so that we can let you know what those experiences are like. ♦