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An Underserved Md. Town Right Outside of D.C. Gets In on the Food Hall Craze

Savor at Studio 3807 sets up on the Rhode Island Avenue corridor in Brentwood

Barbecue shrimp and fried grits from the Uncaged Chefs vendor.
The Uncaged Chefs vendor serves dishes like barbecue shrimp and fried grits.
The Uncaged Chefs [official]

A new woman- and minority-owned food hall billing itself as the first of its kind in Prince George’s County, Maryland, is celebrating its grand opening today in Brentwood, a tiny town on the Rhode Island Avenue corridor between D.C. and Hyattsville.

Dining space at Savor at Studio 3807
Dining space at Savor at Studio 3807
Savor [official]

Savor at Studio 3807 (3809 Rhode Island Avenue) started welcoming customers a week ago, and a marketing representative for the market says all its vendors are up-and-running.

Savor, which claims to be only the second black-owned food hall in the United States, comes from April N. Richardson, a business lawyer who has grown the D.C. Sweet Potato Cake bakery. Richardson told the Hyattsville Wire that she started a food hall when she was rejected from several others. The Savor food hall, located in the Studio 3807 apartments on Rhode Island Avenue, is partnered with developer Peter Siegel.

The market aims to be an incubator for local chefs and to serve a Brentwood community that has been designated a food desert in the past. The latest data, from 2015, in the USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas shows that Brentwood is not in fact a food desert — likely because there’s a Shopper’s grocery store on Bladensburg Road in Colmar Manor — but the area is still defined as part of a low-income tract.

The opening line-up at Savor includes:

  • The Uncaged Chefs: A “no rules” soul food brunch kitchen from chef Damian Brown, a Vidalia and Blue Duck Tavern alum who struck out on his own to create over-the-top dishes like Cajun crab fries topped with crab cakes or fried lobster with Hennessy and Teddy Graham French toast
  • Little Miner Taco: A taqueria serving made-to-order guacamole, ceviche, and grilled whole fish with adobo that comes from Joe’s Steak and Seafood alum Mackenzie Kitburi, who’s partnered with Kathy Voss and VossFood.
  • VossFood: A “plant-based food apothecary” (i.e. vegan) vendor that caters to the clean-eating crowd with items like grain bowls and tofu poke.
  • D.C. Sweet Potato Cake: A bakery selling sweet potato cakes with pecan cream cheese frosting. Savor owner April N. Richardson oversees the brand, which has won contracts with Starbucks, Safeway, Wegmans, Nordstrom, and QVC.
  • LuvPlates Soul & Grill: A food truck taking over food hall space with soul food and Caribbean-influenced dishes like ribs, jerk wings, crab cakes, and mac and cheese.
  • Relish Market: A farmers market with urban farms in neighboring Mount Rainier selling fresh produce, seasonings, hot sauces, and condiments.
  • Community Cocktail: A cocktail bar with wine and a house Savor pilsner.
  • Redemption Roasters: A new coffee roaster aiming to employ “returning citizens,” or people who have been incarcerated.

Getting a food hall is a new development for a dining area on the rise. Mount Rainier is awaiting the arrival of Pennyroyal Station, a comfort food spot from the former Bar Pilar owners. College Park recently welcomed an outpost of D.C. favorite Taqueria Habanero. Riverdale. Denizens Brewing Co. expanded from Silver Spring to open a 12,000-square-foot brewery and taproom in Riverdale Park in May.

Food halls have already reached full-fledged craze status elsewhere in Maryland and Virginia. In Montgomery County, Rockville has dueling food halls in the Spot and Pike Kitchen, and Northern Virginia’s the Block is set to open in North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose complex. In Rosslyn, three food halls are landing in a three-block radius.

Savor at Studio 3807 opens at 6:30 a.m. for breakfast, serves food until 10 p.m., and serves drinks until midnight