A food truck called A Place to Walk To just went the brick-and-mortar route, bringing its customers around Prince George’s County a fixed location for its chicken and waffles, jerk wings, shrimp and grits, mac and cheese, and grilled cheeseburgers.
Owner Matthew Samuels opened his 50-seat restaurant a few weeks ago in Hyattsville’s University Town Center (6451 America Boulevard) under the new Highline Apartments.
The former Division 1 basketball player at Chicago State University says he always planned to pivot in a culinary direction once his hoop dreams were finished. Since 2016, he’s amassed a local following for his food truck.
“Our hard-hitting items go all day,” Samuels says. “So if someone wanted to come in at 7 a.m. for shrimp and grits or chicken and waffles, they can.”
Technically, customers can get a shrimp-and-grits fix as early as 6 a.m. — and they are, Samuels reports. The restaurant opens weekdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s closed Tuesdays.
The space used to be a Five Guys burger shop, so the conversion was relatively quick. Staff members at A Place to Walk To walk its food to sit-down customers after they order at a counter. Carryout is an option, too.
Having a whole kitchen enabled Samuels to introduce more options for breakfast (served until 10:30 a.m.). That includes French toast and pancake platters. Come lunchtime, burgers and chicken sandwiches become available.
Samuels, a College Park resident who spent time at Eleanor Roosevelt High in Greenbelt, is keeping his food truck parked for now. Expect a grand reopening of the roving venture once the restaurant gains its footing.
He hopes to expand the brand when the time is right. He ultimately wants to follow the path of Portillo’s, a Chicago-style hot dog chain he used to frequent while playing ball.
“It’s a guy who opened a hot dog stand 60 years ago, borrowing $1,000 from his mom,” he says. The empire sold to Berkshire Partners in 2014 for $1 billion.
For now, Samuels is holding onto his government job downtown.
“Being busy gives me structure,” he says.