The Original Ledo Restaurant is a Maryland institution. Open since 1955, and still run by the Marcos family, you won’t leave hungry or disappointed.
Last month I was in Maryland, visiting my family. I go back every July, as a final relax/recharge/rewind before the craziness of football season hits. During this visit I went to Greensboro NC to do a 2-day food tour with Kara, and the final meal of our food tour was breakfast at Smith Street Diner.
When I arrived at my parents’ house that evening, I found out they had no cable, phone OR internet, due to a big storm the previous night. Not a good homecoming. But when my mom suggested we go to Ledo Restaurant for dinner, that made it better.
Ledo’s opened in 1955 in Adelphi MD, in a strip mall about a 5-minute drive from the University of Maryland. The restaurant was founded by the Marcos family. Ledo Pizza began to franchise in 1979, and now has over 100 locations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina and Florida. The original restaurant is still run by the Marcos family. I’ve never eaten at any of the other locations, but locals say that the original is the best.
Ledo’s had 2 entrances; one into the main dining room, and the other into the carryout area/bar. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve eaten Ledo’s. I only ate in the main dining room once or twice; the rest of time we got carryout. I went into the bar a couple of times, and always regretted it. You could literally see the smoke hanging in the air, and within minutes you would smell like cigarette smoke the rest of the day. The carryout area was attached to the bar by an open doorway, but thankfully the smoke didn’t carry over.
When I worked at Maryland, Joe, one of our great donors, brought Ledo’s to the office for the football staff one day the week of a home game. We won the game that Saturday, and Coach Friedgen decided it was because of the pizza. For the next 3 years, Joe brought pizza every week in football season. You would think it was Christmas, with how excited the coaches got about weekly pizza.
In 2010, Ledo’s moved to its current location, a few blocks from campus and in the heart of downtown College Park. They moved into a brand new space, on the ground floor of a parking garage. The entrance to the bar is at the corner, the restaurant entrance is at the other end of the building, and inside there is only a partial wall separation between the two. The street side of the building has floor-to-ceiling windows, providing lots of natural light. When you enter the restaurant, there is a cash register and small carryout waiting area. The dining room is long and relatively narrow, with a combination of tables and booths.
Every trip to Maryland, we get Ledo’s…it’s kind of a tradition. I’ve only eaten inside the new location one other time, and my pictures were not good. So this visit was the perfect opportunity to improve.
The Ledo’s menu is quite large, featuring appetizers, soup, salad, pizza, calzones, burgers/subs/sandwiches, and entrees. Quite honestly, for a long time I didn’t even know they had anything other than pizza. I have tried a couple of other items on the menu, but I always end up back at pizza.
We started with Frank’s Crispy Calamari
The calamari was scorching hot and perfectly cooked. I love that they add bell peppers to the calamari. The peppers have a really nice char, and add a great texture to the dish. The sauce is delicious and very flavorful. My mom doesn’t do calamari, so that just means more for my dad and me.
All Ledo’s pizzas are available in small, medium and large. There are 8 specialty pizzas, or you can create your own. The dough is homemade, and there are 26 toppings to choose from. The small pizzas are basically personal pizzas, and are round; the medium and large pizzas are square.
My parents got the medium veggie lovers pizza
I’m not a fan of olives, but this pizza is very good and it’s one of their favorites on the menu. They always get the medium so they have leftovers.
I don’t think I’ve ever tried one of the specialty pizzas. For a long time I went very simple, with just pepperoni. Then after the years of Joe bringing a variety of pizzas to the office I branched out, and added other toppings. For a while I always did pre-cooked bacon, but a couple of times the bacon was over-cooked, and therefore hard to eat. The last time we ate at the restaurant I learned they created a garlic sauce for the Pizza Bianco. The first time I tried a garlic sauce was at Hideaway Pizza in Stillwater, and fell in love. So now I get the garlic sauce whenever I can. I went with garlic sauce, spinach, green peppers, onion, and pepperoni.
I love the pepperoni at Ledo’s. It is thick cut, and they are generous with the portion. I am such a fan of the garlic sauce, because it adds a completely different flavor to the pizza. Without an appetizer, I can dominate the whole small pizza. Since we had the calamari, I ate half of the pizza and took the rest home. I don’t normally do leftovers because we ate them all the time when I was a kid. However, pizza is an exception, and Ledo’s pizza reheats beautifully
One of these days I should probably check out one of the other locations, just to see. But the original is closest to my parents’ house, and so the most convenient. What I know for sure is that Ledo’s will always be on my to-do list when I visit Maryland.
For reviews of more restaurants in College Park, click on the photos below!