By Taylor Swaak
For university students looking for new, exciting places to eat off the campus, word of yet another pizza place and sports bar and grill may not seem particularly enticing. Yet two new additions to Route 1 are accumulating quite the buzz.
Blaze Pizza – a chain from Pasadena, Calif., that replaced Lime Fresh Mexican Grill – just opened its 35th restaurant in College Park on Oct. 16, according to general manager Chris Handlon.
New Route 1 Restaurants Attract StudentsWant to spice up your dining options? Learn about Kangnam Korean BBQ or Blaze Pizza.
While Blaze may not deliver or keep its doors open past 1 a.m. on weekends, it compensates with a unique concept: Personal, made-to-order pizzas that have been a huge success so far in College Park.
“Right now, class is in session, so of course we’re going to get more students in,” Handlon said. “The price point and the fact that you can build it right in front of you, students like it.”
Each build-it-yourself pizza, which costs $7.65, offers an unlimited amount of toppings, including fresh meats, cheeses, vegetables and sauces for no extra cost, except for vegan cheese and gluten-free crust.
Service is also quick – it only takes three minutes for the pizzas to cook in the oven, Handlon said. He added that the goal is for each customer’s total wait time to be five minutes.
Molly McCoy, a sophomore enrolled in letters and sciences, took full advantage of the various toppings, piling on so many that the layer of cheese underneath was barely visible.
“Pretty much everything they have to offer is on my pizza right now,” McCoy said.
Ana Caceres, a sophomore enrolled in letters and sciences, also appreciated the aesthetics of the restaurant, which boasts Maryland pride but is still distinctly separate from the university.
“Everything is just Maryland, Terps, Testudo everywhere,” Caceres said. “But with all the colors and the vibe – it also feels like we’re away, in more of an urban place.”
While Blaze can give students an urban feel, Kangnam BBQ – which replaced Seven Seas – takes it one step further, offering customers a chance to enjoy genuine Korean cuisine while watching sports on numerous flat screen televisions.
Kangnam BBQ Sports Bar and Grill – a Korean restaurant unique to College Park – opened its doors about three weeks ago, and had its grand opening on Oct. 23.
“Mostly we’ve had people coming here looking for football, but we can put on whatever anyone wants to watch,” said Jonathan Smalley, the assistant manager. “We have a big mix of students who just come here late at night because we’re open late to get a bite to eat.”
Smalley said current customer favorites are the beef, pork and chicken bul go gees, all barbeque dishes.
Senior physical science major Aaron Rosansky is a fan of Kangnam.
“I was pretty satisfied with the experience,” Rosansky said. “The food was excellent. I haven’t had a huge variety when it comes to Korean food–I’ve had [it at] maybe five restaurants–and [Kangnam] was up there.”