Anything decent around Greenbelt metro station? [DC]

We are heading to DC later this week and meeting up with my BIL and his family on Sunday. They live in Marriottsville so they are not too keen on coming all the way into DC so B, Spring Onion (aged 9), and I are taking the metro to the closest terminal to my BIL, which is Greenbelt. A cursory search makes me think that the area around the station is a food desert. Are there any gems that I’m not seeing? I saw Board and Brew in College Park which I’m sure is not Hungry Onion level food, but I know Spring Onion would enjoy it. Has anyone been? Is it decent enough (although BIL, who is a die-hard Italophile, may not be convinced to go)?

Museum visits and mealtimes clashed on our visit last year. We’ll try to do better this year (and no matter what, I’ll report back).


It’s a food desert.

Instead of Greenbelt, consider Wheaton or Silver Spring on the Red line. Lots of choices there, and probably no more time to get to from Marriottsville.

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It depends how you define “the area around the station” as well as what your posse will find acceptable.

Swahili Village is a mecca for Kenyan food. They are successful enough that they opened a swank version in DC. I was first clued into this spot by folks form the Kenyan Embassy, and they provided the food when the Smithsonian featured Kenya in their Folklife Festival. Here is my report:

"Finally took the opportunity to visit this PG County outpost for Kenyan cuisine that I’ve heard so much about. The place was hoppin’ of a Sunday afternoon, packed with a lively crowd having a good time.

This is surely one of the most impressive African places in the DC area. The quality of what’s on the plate was sky high. We shared the “goat wet fry” and two sides: ugali and sukuma wiki. The ugali came out as a steaming hot galette of corn mash, like what you’d expect of fufu. The sukuma wiki are vibrant, brightly green collards that had been lightly sauteed with onion.

The wet fry (that’s the name on the menu) is pungent goat meat falling off the bone that was sauteed with onions and peppers. We also asked for some spicy sauce which was finely chopped hot peppers served in a small plastic cup. Quite spicy but not incendiary. Went well on the starchy ugali.

We also shared an appetizer of bhajia, which came out as fat, breaded potato chips with some spices added. Nice stuff.

This is a straight-up Chowhound delight, and the very full parking lot attests to its food."

There are some serious pupuserias nearby including one, Familiar, that has expanded. Myoung Dong is well know for their kalguksu, and Quetzal has some exciting choices for Guatemalan food. There is a display case with some interesting snacks (antojitos) that are not on the menu.

One of the top restaurants in the DC metro area is in College Park: Northwest Chinese Food. I think anyone could like the food here. The Oil Seared Knife Cut Noodles w tomato and egg is a delight, as are the black vinegar peanuts, cumin lamb on homemade bread, and the red oil sesame dumplings. Nothing is all that spicy here. This is excellent food by any definition, and I have been to NW CHina.


I went through the same search process as you in December when I was meeting a friend who works in Greenbelt for dinner. I came up with Jodeem African Cuisine. It’s Nigerian, I like West African food, my friend is originally from the Ivory Coast, and it had a good Yelp rating (4.4). So, it seemed like a good bet.

It was a major disappointment. I got the beef suya (one of my favorite dishes elsewhere) and a goat head stew. The suya was timidly spiced and very overcooked and chewy; the goat head stew was skin-on (i.e., face on) and the sauce was goopy and unappealing. I kept the leftovers, untouched, for more than a week before giving up and discarding (rare for me).

As Steve says, Swahili Village would be a good choice, though I think the downtown branch is far superior (and way more expensive). It’s about 10 minutes from Greenbelt Metro by car. Northwest Chinese Food (about 15 minutes by car) would also be an excellent choice. To my memory neither Swahili Village nor Northwest Chinese Food would be the kind of place where you could comfortably linger over a meal, they’re more in-and-out kind of places.

If a 10-15 minute drive works for you, I’d give very serious consideration to 2Fifty Texas Barbecue in Riverdale Park (13 minutes away, according to Google Maps). It’s by far the best barbecue place in the DC area and has a strong national reputation. Daniel Vaughn of Texas Monthly recently visited and called the Texas Trinity tray there (brisket, spareribs, and sausage) “impressive”; the Washingtonian, a local magazine, recently ranked 2Fifty at #22 on its listing of the 100 best restaurants in the DC area. Their sides are innovative (the owners are Salvadoran). I’ve eaten there 8-10 times – most recently, today – and it’s been excellent to outstanding every time. Today, they were trying out a new dish, tamales made with brisket, which was really good. I have 2Fifty ranked in my personal Top 25 of barbecue places in the country. It doesn’t look like it’s set up for a lingering meal, but I have once eaten a very leisurely meal there with no problem.

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