Over the next few months, the restaurant group behind soul food brunch chain Milk & Honey will open three more businesses around suburban Maryland with respective specialties in Lowcountry seafood; pancakes; and massive milkshakes, cheesecakes, and cheesesteaks.
Chef Sammy Davis, who won an episode of Chopped on Food Network, has already expanded Milk & Honey from an original location in Beltsville, Maryland, into other parts of the state along with outposts in Atlanta and D.C. The three new projects are Milk & Cheese, in Olney; Catch 22 Southern Seafood Market & Restaurant, in Upper Marlboro; and Milk & Honey Market & Pancake Factory, in Camp Springs.
Milk & Cheese is targeting an April opening at 18050 Georgia Avenue NW. It replaces a decades-old site of Thai Cuisine, which relocated to bigger digs. Partners Monique Rose and Davis first introduced the Milk & Cheese brand out of the original Milk & Honey in Beltsville, which is now closed.
“We’re going back to straight cheesesteaks and cakes, hoagies, po’ boys and over-the-top milkshakes, as well as a huge array of cheesecake selections,” Rose says.
Po’ boys will come stuffed with oyster, shrimp, or catfish. Philly cheesesteaks will be built with chicken or steak. Davis’s loaded truffle chips, smothered with smoked gouda and crab and lobster dip, will make an appearance, too.
Over-the-top shakes can be topped with a slice of cheesecake.
“Shakes are our take on Black Tap,” Davis says, referring to the cult Manhattan chain that’s expanded to Disneyland and Las Vegas. Milk & Cheese’s four core shake flavors include death by chocolate, pineapple upside down cake, strawberry, and caramel popcorn. There will also be seasonal flavors and non-dairy options.
“We call it the happy food place — hip, trendy, and built for Instagram,” Rose says.
Catch 22 Southern Seafood Market & Restaurant is expected to open in April in Upper Marlboro (7623 S. Osborne Road), breathing fresh life into a former Pizza Hut building Davis bought last fall. On his Instagram, Davis has previewed that the restaurant will showcase Gullah-Geechee food, a South Carolina cuisine rooted in the cooking enslaved people brought from West Africa. Catch 22 had a brief run in Brightwood in a couple years ago.
The Milk & Honey Market & Pancake Factory in Camp Springs is part of a newly constructed Restaurant Row development by the Branch Avenue Metro station, the last stop on the Green Line. It will open last, in mid-summer.
While the menus wildly vary at each location, each new restaurant from Rose and Davis will have a market component that reflects customers’ shifting demands during the pandemic. Each will be stocked with grab-and-go essentials and prepared meals. The seafood market will offer steamed or cook-at-home shellfish.
Davis, an alum of Nobu in New York, first opened Milk & Honey Cafe in College Park and Bowie, Maryland. He debuted his first D.C. restaurant, short-lived Catch 22, on Georgia Avenue NW in October 2018, then rebranded it as the Bar @ Milk & Honey.
The soul food chain’s current portfolio includes Milk & Honey on H Street, which replaced the three-level Smith Commons space a year ago with a new destination for breakfast, brunch, and cocktails. Davis expanded outside the DMV in 2019 with the opening of The Real Milk and Honey in Atlanta.