Easy come, easy go: CP restaurants struggle to stay in business

Photo from .limefreshmexicangrill.com
Photo from limefreshmexicangrill.com

Businesses come and go in every town. But with the high rent prices and lack of parking on Route 1, College Park businesses are finding it hard to cater to anyone besides college students. This, in addition to students’ high expectations for cheap services, makes staying afloat difficult.

Consequentially, many students were surprised to learn that Lime, a popular restaurant on Route 1, had permanently closed its doors. With its cheap prices and quality Mexican offerings, students were very affectionate towards the restaurant. You could buy a taco and two margaritas for just $7.00, says senior biochemistry major, Stephanie Zalesak, who spent many summer nights at Lime.

“I really liked their prices and the food was great,” Zalesak gushed.

Although Lime’s management declined to comment when asked about the restaurant’s short-lived stint on Route 1, Ruby Tuesday, Lime’s parent company, posted large net losses in their first fiscal quarter report on October 9, 2013, indicating a much broader issue than the business at College Park’s Lime location. According to the 2008 U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately a quarter of new establishments close after the first year of business, with about 12% more businesses closing the next year. Other unfortunate victims of College Park’s competitive economy include California Tortilla, Panda, and Santa Fe Cafe.

Roti, a Mediterranean grill that was located under the Varsity, closed after less than one year of business. Junior accounting major Jordan Ferguson said that he “never went there, but didn’t hear good things about their food.”

Other than the type of food restaurants have to offer students, price is another important factor when deciding where to eat. “Bobby’s Burger Palace has the best burgers in College Park, but I only go there when my parents come to visit. I can’t afford a $7.00 burger without sides or a drink,” says Ferguson.

At the start of the school year, several new businesses opened, the most talked about being Terrapin Turf: Santa Fe’s predecessor. The opening night began and ended with a line that wound down Knox Road, indicating that the new bar was promising.

Senior environmental science major Pat Barrett was thrilled with Terrapin Turf, saying that “the ambiance was great, the bar was very accessible, and the prices were comparable to Cornerstone’s or Bentley’s.”

Although many businesses find it a difficult to become well known, there are many businesses that have succeeded in becoming a staple of the University of Maryland college life. Perhaps Terrapin Turf will become one of those staples.

Cornerstone Grill and Loft is a popular restaurant and bar on Route 1, has been serving drinks and food to college students since 1997. “I always say serve how you’d want to be served,” says Christopher Wood, Cornerstone’s bar manager as advice to the new bar.

In the end, College Park is a great town to open a business in – especially if the business is serving up great food for reasonable prices. After all, how else are college students going to gain the freshman 15?


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