By: Taylor Ardrey
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – It is no secret that residents and college students of Maryland do not have a variety of options when it comes to fine dining. One must travel into D.C. to get a high-quality meal with an upscale ambiance. However, the reputation of Maryland’s lack of fine dining came to an end on Sept. 8 with Mike Franklin’s grand opening of OMG or Old Maryland Grill located in The Hotel at University of Maryland.
Mike Franklin, owner of the local favorite Franklin’s, opened Old Maryland Grill with the intentions of opening a restaurant in an area where there were limited options for visitors, college students, parents of students but most importantly, the residents. Franklin hoped The Old Maryland Grill would make a huge contribution to the community. “Local residents of northern Prince George’s County have been driving to Bethesda, D.C, National Harbor or Annapolis due to the fact that they have no hometown places to go to for this kind of quality dining,” he said.
Although the grand opening was subtle, this Maryland themed cuisine is not your ordinary restaurant. It has an oyster bar and a charming mural that tells a story of the history of Maryland. Everything besides the Heinz Ketchup is made from scratch. From the honey mustard to the mayonnaise and biscuits, everything is made in the establishment with locally-sourced ingredients.
“We’re a ‘save room for desert’ type of place,” said Franklin. With their special pastry chef, they are able to serve fresh breads and desserts made from scratch. With different entrees from juicy, tender steaks to comfort food like fried chicken, Franklin described the food as a mixture of classic and contemporary Maryland cuisine.
If you saved enough room for their dessert hostess Amanda Bellatin, recommended the turtle soup made by Pastry Chef Annie. “She makes like an ice cream sorbet with a layer of chocolate on top melted with hot caramel. It is really tasty and fun to watch,” said Bellatin.
Old Maryland Grill also offers 16 Maryland wines by the glass and historic Maryland cocktails. “A lot of places don’t offer liquor and wine from the local area so that is what makes what we do unique and makes our cocktails special,” said the bartender, Rasaq Aliu.
Franklin is depending on word of mouth and social media to spread the news of his restaurant. OMG has active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. “ We want to build organically rather than falsely through marketing,” said Franklin. He said he would rather have customers experience the food rather than listen to the hype.
From the look of things, Franklin does not need a major marketing scheme to attract customers. Local customer, Tanya Fierro said, “Their steaks are great. It was crispy and tender. It has a fancy atmosphere and a wide variety of food. If I were to rate it out of 5 I would give it 3 1/2 stars.”
“I took my girlfriend to this restaurant and it was the perfect ambiance for our first official date. I will definitely come here again in the future for the fried chicken”, said Yahnique Mathews.
With their excellent service, superb fare and quiet but delightful atmosphere, Old Maryland Grill is here to stay. It is the perfect place to come for brunch, a break between classes, a football game or even a date because OMG their steaks and seafood are so great!