#179 - Franklin's Restaurant & Brewery, Hyattsville MD

Every summer I come back to Maryland for a couple of weeks. I do it in late July, as my final relax/recharge/revive before the chaos of football season begins. The first couple years, I tried to see everyone and do everything. And by the time I got back to Stillwater I was so drained, I needed a couple days to recover from vacation. Dumb move. Now I'm much more laid back. This year I flew back from San Francisco 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 their fundraiser. I figured this would be an awesome way to help a friend and do the food blog at the same time.

I had planned to surprise Lisa by sending her a picture of my food while we were there, but she beat me to the punch by being there when I arrived. It was so wonderful to see her and my other friend Jean at the same time.

Franklin's is a very cool, eclectic place. It's a brewery, a restaurant, and a general store. It's located in Hyattsville, not far from the U of Maryland, practically across the street from DeMatha HS, and on the way to DC. The whole Hyattsville area has undergone a massive upgrade over the past 20 years. Back in college, we just drove through Hyattsville to get to DC. We never stopped there for anything. A few years ago they began to revitalize the neighborhoods, adding restaurants and shops. The Franklin's parking lot is partially under a bridge, and there are a couple of really cool murals painted on them.

Pretty sure we ate here a couple of times when I worked at Maryland, but that was about 10 years ago. The restaurant itself is pretty big, with seating both upstairs and downstairs.

The general store has absolutely anything you could want, including beer & wine.  I wanted to take more pictures, but they were looking at me kinda funny for whipping the camera out so I decided to just stick with these few.

I'm not really a big beer person, but I figured I couldn't go to a brewery without trying something. My mom and I both went with the Hefeweizen.  It was light and refreshing, like a Blue Moon.

While we discussed lunch options, we ordered the deviled eggs

The eggs were delicious, and the filling was light and creamy. My mom isn't a big fan of deviled eggs so she only ate one, leaving me with the other 3. I definitely did not complain. The carrots and cauliflower were served cold and pickled. I've never seen cauliflower as a garnish/side, but it was delicious.  And I don't even like cauliflower. I will say that it didn't add  much color to the plate. But they were there to be eaten.

My mom got the Holy Frijoles with cole slaw as the side

House-made black bean patty with oats, onion, roasted garlic, cumin, coriander, and flax seed.
Topped with avocado, queso fresco, crema, pickled jalapenos, lettuce & tomato
She had asked for no crema, but as you can see above they made an error. Our dishes were delivered by a runner. After a few minutes our server came by to check on us. As soon as she saw the burger, and before we could even say anything, she said "they made that incorrectly", and told my mom she would have them re-make it. Shortly afterwards, the correct burger arrived. My mom said it was very good. I tasted the cole slaw and really liked it. Not very creamy or heavy. Just good, fresh cole slaw.

I finally decided on The Cook's House burger. Our server raved about the burgers, and it's dry-aged, naturally raised beef in Maryland. So I went with it

Sriracha mayonnaise, dill pickle chips, double cheddar, bacon, red onion
This burger was so good. The meat had a ton of flavor and was really juicy and cooked to medium as I requested. The sriracha mayo was awesome. I should have asked for more for my fries, but I forgot.  I really didn't need double cheddar that it comes with, so I just did single. I couldn't tell the difference, but I'm sure my arteries were thanking me. The fries were fresh and hot.

Lisa's hubby and kids arrived while we were eating and were actually seated right near us. As we were finishing our meal I heard something sizzling being delivered to her table, and it was these beauties: black skillet mussels

They smelled so amazing.  When getting ready to leave I stopped at her table to say hello, and she offered me a taste. 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. I planned to take Kara on our way to the airport Thursday, but plans changed and I couldn't.

Saturday morning I had an appointment near the restaurant, and I was determined to get my mussels. I just stuck with water this time, and ordered the mussels and the fried green tomatoes

These were awesome. It's the kind of breading that they would use for onion rings, so that made me happy. They were super hot, right out of the fryer, and the creole remoulade provided a great flavor burst to the tomatoes. 

With olive oil, kosher salt, and melted butter to dip
Of course, the mussels were the star of my show. And were just as good as the last time. Lisa's husband had told me this was their #1 dish, and that is no surprise at all. They come to the table screaming hot, and stay hot almost through to the very end. Had I only been eating the mussels they would have all been super hot. But I was alternating with the tomatoes. I devoured every single one, of course dipped in butter. 

My mom had heard that there's a Franklin's opening in College Park! I looked, and they are indeed opening one. This one will be a fine dining establishment in the huge hotel they're building right 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.

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