Franklin’s is a restaurant, brewery, and general store all in one. Don’t miss the opportunity to check out this very unique place in Hyattsville, MD.
Every July I go back to Maryland for a couple of weeks, as my final relax/recharge/revive before the chaos of football season begins. The first few years I wore myself out, trying to see everyone and do everything. I put a quick stop to that, and have a much more relaxed visit. This year I flew from San Francisco to Stillwater on Friday afternoon, and then out to Maryland on Sunday morning. Definitely not the smartest decision, because I barely had time to unpack, do laundry, repack, and run errands. Oh well. I slept the whole way on the airplane.
My friend Lisa’s birthday was the day after I arrived. I’ve known Lisa since I worked at Maryland, when she owned Paperworks, a balloon and gift shop in College Park. She closed the store years ago, but still does balloons. Lisa is also involved in many charitable events to raise money to help fight MS. She is doing a 30-mile charity walk, and on Monday (which also happened to be her birthday) Franklin’s Restaurant & Brewery did their part by donating 20% of each check towards the fundraiser. I figured this would be an awesome way to help a friend and do the food blog at the same time.
Lisa didn’t know I was in town, so my plan was to surprise her with a picture of my food. She beat me to the punch though, as she was at Franklin’s when I arrived. It was so wonderful to see her and my other friend Jean at the same time.
Franklin’s is in Hyattsville, about 10 minutes from the U of Maryland, and on the way to Washington DC. Hyattsville has undergone a massive upgrade over the past 20 years. Back in college, we never stopped in Hyattsville; we just drove through it to get to Washington DC. A few years ago they began to revitalize the neighborhoods, adding restaurants and shops, as well as residential buildings. I really like the murals on the bridge above the Franklin’s parking lot, to help prevent graffiti.
Franklin’s is a restaurant, brewery, and general store. I think I ate there a couple of times when I worked at Maryland, but that would have been over 10 years ago. The restaurant itself is pretty large. On the main level is dining space, an open kitchen at the back, and the general store to the right as you enter. The store has absolutely anything you could want: knick knacks, toys, food, beer, wine.
Upstairs is another dining area, a full bar, and the brewery
I’m not really a big beer person, but I couldn’t visit a brewery and not try something. My mom and I both went with the Hefeweizen. It is light and refreshing, like a Blue Moon.
I really like the Franklin’s menu because they locally source their products whenever possible, and the menu changes seasonally. The lunch menu includes appetizers, soups/salads, deli sandwiches, burgers, sandwiches, main courses, pizza, and sides. Pasta dishes and more main course entrees replace the deli sandwiches when it comes to the dinner menu.
While we discussed lunch options, we ordered the deviled eggs
Food is so visual, and I have to say I was a little disappointed with the presentation. Something as simple as lettuce leaves would add a large punch of color to the plate. The eggs were delicious, and the filling is light and creamy. The pickled and cold carrots and cauliflower is a twist I didn’t expect. Pickling adds a wonderful tart bite, and made me a fan of the cauliflower.
My mom got the Holy Frijoles with cole slaw as the side
My mom had asked for no crema, but as you can see above they made an error. A runner delivered our dishes, and after a few minutes our server checked on us. As soon as she saw the burger, and before we could even say anything, she said “they made that incorrectly”. She took the burger, and had a new plate made. I did not taste the burger, but my mom said it was very good. The cole slaw is delicious. It isn’t heavy or overly creamy; instead, the dressing is light and very flavorful.
I don’t do well with large menus. I narrowed it down to 3 choices and, with the help of my server, finally decided on The Cook’s House burger. They use local dry-aged, naturally raised beef, so I couldn’t pass that up.
This burger was excellent. The meat is juicy and very flavorful, and medium as I requested. I can’t really explain it, but you can taste the difference with naturally raised meat. The sriracha mayo is delicious, adding heat without going overboard. The burger comes with double cheddar, but I did single. They use cheese sauce rather than sliced cheese, a very interesting twist. The shoestring fries are fresh and hot, and delicious.
Lisa’s hubby and kids arrived while we were eating and sat at a table near us. I heard sizzling behind me, and it was these beauties: black skillet mussels
I stopped at Lisa’s table to say hello and she offered me a taste. They smelled amazing, so of course I wasn’t going to turn that down. One word…WOW. I absolutely knew I had to go back before the end of the trip.
Kara was in town for a couple of days during my trip; the plan was to stop at Franklin’s on the way to the airport, but our plans changed. I still was on a mission, and the day before I flew back to Maryland I stopped at Franklin’s again. I ordered the mussels and fried green tomatoes
The tomatoes were excellent. The breading is very similar to what they use for onion rings. They are scorching hot, right out of the fryer, and the creole remoulade provides a great flavor burst to the tomatoes.
Yes, the fried green tomatoes were great, but the mussels were still the star of my show. And were just as good as the first time. Lisa’s husband told me the mussels are their #1 dish, and I understand why. The presentation is fabulous, and the skillet keeps the mussels screaming hot almost through to the very end. I alternated mussels with tomatoes, so neither one would get cold.
My mom heard there’s a Franklin’s opening in College Park! This is indeed true, and very exciting. It will be a fine dining restaurant, in the new hotel across the street from campus.
It’s official. I must go back here every time I’m in Maryland. Even if I don’t get anything else, I must get the mussels. So well worth it. It’s probably a good thing I’m not working at MD anymore, otherwise I would be there weekly.
For reviews of more restaurants in the College Park area, click on the photos below!