Hot pot, rolled ice cream and more: New restaurants at UMD and in College Park
Several new restaurants opened in College Park over the summer.
By Shreeya Agarwal, Sahana Jayaraman, Rosa Pyo and Angela Mecca
Several new eateries are popping up on the University of Maryland’s campus and around College Park. Here’s what you missed during a busy summer.
After months of construction, the LaTAO Hot Pot Restaurant finally opened its doors under the Enclave on Aug. 19.
LaTAO — which serves all-you-can-eat sushi and Chinese cuisine — is the first business to fill the apartment building’s first floor leasing space. The new late-night restaurant specializes in Sichuan “hot pot,” a communal-style experience in which customers order various ingredients to cook in a large boiling pot of broth.
Options at LaTAO range from raw vegetables, such as enoki mushroom and spinach, to thinly sliced meats, such as pork belly and beef. Customers can also add an all-you-can-eat sushi deal in addition to hot pot for just $3 extra.
The 6,300-square foot space also encompasses a karaoke room and a sauce station that includes almost 20 different options.
Emily Gee, a senior information systems and operations management and business analytics major, was excited to have the restaurant so close to campus. LaTAO is the only hot pot speciality restaurant located in College Park.
“There’s a lot of good options, and it’s pretty reasonably priced,” said Gee. “It’s cheaper than Urban Hotpot in Rockville.”
LaTAO has free parking behind the Enclave building.
The newest addition to Stamp Student Union’s food court drew sprawling lines during the lunch hour for days after its official grand opening last week.
More than 20 customers waited for their Mexican food fix from the new Qdoba Mexican Grill, which opened on Aug. 26, replacing Taco Bell.
“I like Qdoba better than Taco Bell, and I think it has better options,” said Ayana Akli, a freshman civil engineering major. “I like the Mexican style, and I also like that you can see the food — you can see them cooking it right there.”
The new restaurant accepts both Terrapin Express and Dining Dollars.
Omar Tarabishi, a staff member in the Arabic and Persian studies department, was “kinda bummed” at first that Taco Bell was closing.
“It’s been such a historic part of Stamp. It’s been here since my undergrad, since I started the position here. But Qdoba’s a good replacement,” he said.
Qdoba’s menu includes burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, nachos and more, which Lori Dominick, the general manager for Dining Services in Stamp, says makes it diverse in choices and dietary preferences. Burrito bowls there start at $7.49.
Tarabishi said the newly opened Qdoba might pull some business from another fast-casual Mexican chain — Chipotle Mexican Grill, located on Route 1.
“I mean, [Qdoba includes] free guac, free queso on top of your burrito bowl. It’s a little bit of a cheaper price for that, so I think it’s fantastic,” Tarabishi said.
520 Ice Cream and Teas
520 Ice Cream and Teas will open its fifth location in College Park.
The new ice cream and tea store — which will offer stir-fried ice cream, also known as rolled ice cream — will be located below the Domain apartment complex, next to Jumbo Jumbo and Subway.
Workers mix an assortment of milk and toppings of the customer’s choice onto a frozen steel plate, chilling the mixture to create ice cream. The store also offers classic milk teas, fruit teas, green milk teas and special drinks served in lightbulbs.
The store is part of the increase in Asian cuisine in the College Park area, along with The Spot Mini and Kung Fu Tea.
Although its website advertises a July 2019 opening, there have been no updates so far on the opening date.
The Spot Mini
The Spot Mini — a smaller version of Rockville-based Asian and Polynesian food hall The Spot — is open for business in College Park.
Located right across from Dunkin’ Donuts in the Terrapin Row apartment complex, The Spot Mini features three of the five food vendors housed at the original Spot: Poki DC, a poke bowl restaurant based in the District; Gong Cha, a tea vendor influenced by Chinese culture; and Akira, a ramen restaurant and informal Japanese Pub.
The Spot Mini officially opened its doors June 1. Managers Felix Lee and Emily Lee say business is better now that school has opened.
In one corner of the restaurant, a blank TV sits in front of some seating. Felix Lee said customers are welcome to hook their gaming consoles up to it.
Yankai Xu, a sophomore enrolled in letters and sciences, said it was his second time visiting The Spot Mini. He enjoys Gong Cha’s tea — and the “average” price point at which its offered, he said.
Though he hasn’t tried the tea, senior computer science major Jerry Yang says he likes the sushi rolls Poki DC offers, especially because it’s cheaper than other sushi locations in College Park.
“There was another place in College Park that charged $15 for three sushi rolls,” Yang said. “This one charges $12, so it’s better.”
Both Emily Lee and Felix Lee hope the variety of food and drinks The Spot Mini offers will attract a large student following.