In Annapolis, United States Naval Academy students flocked to Iron Rooster. Local football and baseball teams embraced the restaurant’s Baltimore-area locations. Now, Iron Rooster founder and managing partner Kyle Algaze hopes his all-day breakfast menu will be met with the same affection in College Park.
Iron Rooster’s College Park location soft-opened at the end of 2023 and fully opened in late January on the first floor of The Hotel on Route 1. The all-day breakfast restaurant, which offers service from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, has quickly become a popular location for college students, city residents and out-of-town visitors.
“We tried to take breakfast food and kind of turn it into something else and I think that that’s resonated with a lot of people,” Algaze said.
The menu includes traditional breakfast food like pancakes, eggs and bacon, but Algaze said he is determined to take what people know about breakfast and make it better. Non-traditional items like breakfast nachos, waffle churros and the iconic “RoosTarts” are also featured.
There are around 50 employees at the College Park location, Algaze said, but he is planning to hire 25 to 50 more as the restaurant settles.
He added that he wants his restaurant to become a “cornerstone of the community.”
Originally from South Florida, Algaze — who had worked in restaurants as a teenager — said he never pictured himself staying in the restaurant business after getting a job in transportation and logistics in Maryland. But after taking an unexpected job running a location of The Breakfast Shoppe, he was drawn back to the industry, he said.
“I had an idea that I wanted to really be a part of the fabric of a community,” Algaze said. “Restaurants were kind of my calling.”
He opened his own restaurant, the first Iron Rooster location, in Annapolis in 2014. Algaze decided on an all-day breakfast menu because he views breakfast as an “underserved” meal.
Soon, the nearby Naval Academy embraced the restaurant as a part of their community, Algaze said. He eventually opened two locations in Baltimore, where the brand took hold among Baltimore Orioles and Ravens fans and athletes.
Sunday morning brunchers said they are excited about the new restaurant spot in College Park.
One diner, freshman kinesiology major Caitlyn Cromwell, said she has gone to the Annapolis location before and would come back to the College Park location.
“I feel like we have a lot of small bagel places or just normal dinner restaurants. This is a really good option for breakfast and it’s pretty affordable for college students,” Cromwell said.
Iron Rooster prices range from around $12 to $17 per average meal.
In College Park, Algaze wants to replicate the close-knit community other Iron Rooster locations have fostered. The city has the makings of a big city but the feeling and experience of a small town, he said.
“This reminds me a lot of what Annapolis has to offer,” Algaze said. “College Park has that sense of belonging and sense of community and it’s growing.”
Part of the restaurant’s community appeal owes to Iron Rooster’s involvement in charity work, which the restaurant chain has already started in College Park.
The chain is the breakfast partner for University of Maryland athletics and Algaze said the restaurant is working with the women’s lacrosse and basketball teams.
“It’s not enough to just open a business in a community. You’ve really got to become a fabric of that area,” Algaze said.
In addition to serving this university’s sports teams, Iron Rooster is promising to draw sports fans.
Deven McGraw, an alum of this university who ate at Iron Rooster while she was in town for a sorority reunion, said she is often in College Park for football and basketball games and is excited for a new food option.
“Iron Rooster being here is terrific. I thought the food was very good, a really great selection,” McGraw said. “They came and checked on us and asked us how we were doing, so they’re running a really good operation.”
Moving forward, Algaze and his staff are focused on making personal connections with diners.
If a plate of pancakes can make someone’s day even a little brighter, Algaze said, Iron Rooster has done its job.
“Take care of the people that we work with, take care of the people that come to us, take care of the community — everything that we do is kind of built around those,” Algaze said.