By Julia Lerner
For The Diamondback
On Feb. 4, C.B. Chinese Grill opened its doors in College Park, the latest Chinese restaurant in a city filled with Asian food options.
Sitting squarely between Lotsa Pizza and 7-Eleven on Knox Road, the modest eatery boasts “homemade, local food” reminiscent of owner Hua Wang’s hometown in Shenyang, China, she said.
“Chinese-American food and Chinese food are different,” Wang said. “Our food is special — I’ve eaten this food since my childhood and I want to share it with the community here.”
Similar to the ever-popular Chipotle and Cava, visitors select a meal base, then add sauce, proteins, and side dishes. Options include shredded pork, sautéed lamb, braised beef, smoky Sichuan pepper chicken or grilled beef sausage in a rice bowl or a chun bing, a traditional Chinese pancake.
Meals at the restaurant are similarly-priced to other local fast-casual joints. The cheapest item on the menu, the $9.50 smoky Sichuan pepper chicken or the grilled beef sausage, are just $2.25 cheaper than the priciest, the $11.75 sautéed lamb.
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“College Park has more modern fares,” Wang said, referencing fast food restaurants in the area. “Our food is traditional Chinese, and everything is prepared here, fresh.”
Wang is no stranger to the College Park food scene. Her other restaurant, Northwest Chinese Food, opened on Baltimore Avenue in 2016, and is still the number 1 rated Chinese restaurant in College Park on Yelp.
While Northwest Chinese Food is a more traditional, sit-down dining experience, C.B. Chinese Grill aims to be the fast-casual Chinese food College Park was lacking.
Despite the success of Northwest Chinese Food, C.B. Chinese Grill has not seen a significant amount of visitors yet, Wang said.
“We just opened five days ago, so we have not seen too many students,” Wang said.
But she added that she hopes that the location of the restaurant will help with business.
“We are so close to campus, so students will see us here and know we are here,” she said.
Because College Park has more than 20 Asian restaurants, junior Lillian Wessel, an environmental science and policy and Spanish major, is not interested in trying C.B. Chinese Grill.
“Personally, I feel like a lot of restaurants here are the same cuisine,” said Wessel. “I would like to see something new.”
Wessel, who is vegan, added that she thinks the restaurant does little to address dietary concerns and limitations — and said she wished the restaurant had tofu or other plant-based options.
But Jack Schiavo, a senior computer science major, disagreed. “I love fast Chinese food, and I like all of the new restaurants that have been opening on Route 1,” he said. “We have everything now: Cava, Wings, Vietnamese, Chinese, Greek… I’m interested in trying it.”
Andrew Chalfant, a junior computer science major, echoed Schiavo.
“I’m always excited when there is a new restaurant to try, unless it’s pizza,” he said with a laugh. “There is so much pizza on Route 1. I just had no idea it was opening.”
Following the success of Northwest Chinese, Wang is optimistic that College Park residents will enjoy her new restaurant.
“I like to cook, and I love food,” said Wang. “I just want to introduce my home’s food to people here.”