Monthly archive - June 2013

The Common Gastropub Opens at the Marriott Inn and Conference Center

There is nothing common about The Common, the dynamic new academia-inspired gastropub that is the centerpiece of the reinvented Marriott Hotels Greatroom at the Marriott Inn and Conference Center, University of Maryland University College.

Great minds gather under the College Park hotel’s famed cupola for a dining experience that turns the notion of a traditional English public house on its ear and pays homage to local and seasonal produce with contemporary American cuisine. On June 5, 2013, more than 500 people celebrated the grand opening of The Common restaurant and pub and got a first look at an expansive hotel renovation that includes public spaces, event facilities and guest rooms.

“The Common offers the university and College Park communities an attractive place to meet, exchange ideas, do business and relax over signature cocktails and shareable plates,” says Mike McCarthy, general manager, Marriott Inn and Conference Center.

The new College Park restaurant and pub boasts sophisticated style and delicious substance, thanks to a design by architectural firm HKS of Dallas and a menu by a seasoned culinary expert, Executive Chef Diego Fernandez. Charming nailhead-trim details and striped and checked fabrics in navy and cream mix with modern drum-shaped lights, counter-height banquettes, steel-topped communal tables and leather-clad club chairs. The 120-seat restaurant and pub is an open, airy space filled with light from an inviting courtyard. Guests can dine under the stars, work on their laptops with complimentary WiFi throughout the Marriott Hotels Greatroom or watch a game with friends. Complimentary lunchtime shuttle service to university offices and free parking make dining at The Common even more attractive.

Guests can order hearty entrees, salads, sandwiches and snacks, split shareable plates or grab a Starbucks latte or pastry to go. Fernandez conceived a menu that embraces the spirit of a traditional English public house with satisfying offerings such as fish and chips, ploughman’s platter, grilled cheese sliders with tomato fondue and house-made meatloaf. Indulgent comfort food includes warm apple and walnut cobbler, brownie trifle and butterscotch pudding.

Handcrafted cocktails are a product of creative mixology and a nod to Maryland roots. Refreshing options include the Catoctin Creek sour made with locally distilled rye, the cherry blossom and Terrapin tea. A selection of domestic and imported wines and regional craft beers complete the pub menu.

The Common had its beginnings in August 2012, when the Marriott Inn and Conference Center launched a multi-faceted renovation.

The Washington Post Names Pupuseria La Familiar As A Great Place for Cheap Eats

In the June 21st edition of the Washington Post, food reporter Tim Carman shares his fondness for local Salvadoran restaurant Pupuseria La Familiar in “The $20 Diner” feature. Located in the Campus Village Shopping Center since late 2006, the restaurant is operated by four sisters paying homage to their upbringing in El Salvador. Carman recounts the numerous items sampled during his visit including hand-made pupusas prepared with either corn or rice flour, with the latter being his recommendation. Other favorites mentioned by Carman are the papitas locas (frieds topped with mayonnaise, ketchup, and Central American cheese) and the plato tipico (two eggs, salsa, refried beans, fried plantains, homemade cheese).


Hollywood Farmers Market Opens Near REI and MOM’s

Having opened on June 1st, the Hollywood Farmers Market is finding its place among the City’s numerous markets. What makes this market unique is the fact it was organized by residents seeking to bring local produce and a community gathering place to North College Park. The market is open every Saturday through November from 8:00am to Noon in the Hollywood Shopping Center next to REI.

Currently the market features over a dozen vendors including fresh produce, baked goods, meat, free-range eggs, plants, jewelry, teas, and crafts. Throughout the year special events such as face-painting and live music will accompany the regular vendors.

Outdoor Concerts Make Their Way Downtown This Summer

Looking for something fun to do in town this Summer? Well look no further as the City of College Park and the Downtown College Park Management Authority launch a free summer concert series in July. Beginning Saturday, July 6th, outdoor concerts will be held each Saturday of the month in South Gate Park (see map in the pictures).  As for the details and schedule:


  • Saturdays in July from 6:00pm to 8:00pm


  • South Gate Park (on Route 1 between Lehigh Road and Regents Drive)


  • FREE parking is available in the Downtown parking garage all day on Saturday. It is a short walk from there to South Gate Park.
  • Paid parking is available directly next to the concert venue as well.


Concert Schedule

  • July 6th – Harp 46
    • An acoustic music trio blending distinct styles from around the world using a combination of instruments (harp, bass, drums, and strings). The trio met in the music program at the University of Maryland.
  • July 13th – Longtooth
    • A group of friends performing an eclectic mix of rock n roll, blues, and soul filled songs from the 60s to today. Covers include U2, The Pretenders, The Doors, Coldplay, and Radiohead so there’s something for everyone.
  • July 20th – Levi Stephens 
    • A D.C.-native melding R&B with a variety of genres from soul to rock to gospel.  Levi released his first studio album, This Way, in 2010 and regularly plays shows in the region, as well as in New York and Nashville.
  • July 27th – Cold Hard Cash
    • As the name implies, the band is a tribute to the legendary Johnny Cash. Featuring spot-on recreations of classic tunes, the band is sure to make for a fun night out.
    • The concert will be followed by an outdoor movie held at Chapel Field on the University of Maryland Campus, which will begin at sundown.

Alcohol is prohibited at the concerts.