For the past five decades, Supano’s has been luring patrons inside with a satisfying blend of music and meat. Whether by Frank Sinatra impersonators, jazz musicians, or a karaoke singer who just stubbed her toe, live tunes supplement the sounds of knives slicing into 20-ounce new york strip steaks and forks sliding into chunks of meaty lasagna. Supano's look is just as classic as its menu. Nestled in an aged brick building with a cobblestone façade, the restaurant emits an old-world vibe complete with warm lighting and photos of famous singers.
Below Supano's Steakhouse is Supano Zone. The underground sports bar fits the mold of a dream man-cave, with LED TVs that show all college games and pro-sports events. A shuffleboard table, dartboards, and a pool table welcome co-ed competition, which onlookers can cheer on while slurping down beers. The bar has long been a cherished place for hosting celebrations: after Baltimore hosted the first Grand Prix, the pro drivers lounged at Supano's and even left behind some memorabilia that is still on display.
At Stella Restaurant, head chef Ray Niederhausen uses the techniques he honed at Stratford University's School of Culinary Arts to showcase a menu built around the use of fresh fish and local, seasonal ingredients. Seafood is the house specialty, making an appearance in everything from a signature lobster guacamole to a spinach-and-artichoke dip made richer with crab, and all fish arrives fresh each day and is never frozen or allowed to watch TV. While his grills sear savory lines into swordfish steaks or grouper fillets, Chef Ray is hard at work satisfying the meat-eating masses by braising tender lamb shanks or hand cutting steaks from slabs of certified Angus beef. To pair with their chef's culinary creations, owners George and Stratton Liapis have curated a collection of wines from around the world, and tastefully showcase many of the colorful empty bottles in elegant and whimsical wall sconces. Guests enjoy the artful plating of each selection in the streamlined waiting room, where silvery schools of painted fish dance by the light of hanging globe lamps and the sounds of the rapping wait staff.
The chefs at each Copper Canyon Grill, a mid-Atlantic favorite, craft their regional American dishes from scratch every day. Their kitchens fill with flames and savory aromas as they roast meats and vegetables over hardwood fires, making customers happy, but leaving behind bare earth at local basketball arenas.
The kitchen yields hearty servings of grilled prime rib and filet mignon, ahi tuna and Atlantic salmon, and Delmarva-style crab dip and Eastern Shore jumbo lump crab cakes. It also tempts with a signature rotisserie chicken and jalapeño- and serrano-pepper cornbread baked in an iron skillet.
When chef Jim Wilder put out an ad seeking a front-of-house and catering manager for his restaurant, he had no idea that he'd also find a soul mate. A pastry chef by trade, Karen seemed the perfect business partner, and two years later she became his life partner as well.
Together, the Wilders opened The Wild Orchid Café in 1995 in a homey, cottage-like space. Their recipes and shared cooking style favored locally sourced produce and protein, long before "farm to table" became a foodie catchphrase. In 2010, the restaurant outgrew its original home, and the Wilders pulled up stakes to move to a larger, more modern headquarters with stone columns, generous windows, and lofty ceilings, plus an outdoor patio guarded by blossoming trees.
"We have always cooked like that," says Karen of the pair's propensity for seasonal fare. On any given day, Jim, as executive chef, can be found inspecting the newest produce and meat offerings at local farms.
Jim and Karen work together on recipe writing, and though the menu changes according to what's in season, a few hard-and-fast staples remain. Grilled oysters burst with flavor when smothered in bacon and beurre blanc. Sweet wine, bacon, and grapes enhance sautéed chicken livers, and grilled bison sates appetites with much leaner bites than beef from cows or beefcake calendars.
Private dining rooms accommodate large groups, and one comes with a stone fireplace to warm up hands before they dig in.
The Thai cuisine at Cha Ya Asian Bistro is accented by creative sushi rolls. Playful flourishes characterize the bistro’s dining room, from retro sci-fi hanging lamps to mod chairs that encircle the bar and tables along the curved wall of windows. The colors, both in the décor and sushi, compliment the culinary traditions of Thailand, which emphasizes spices in a range of brilliant reds, greens, and yellows. Patrons settle down near a sun-drenched yellow wall, sampling those flavors in curries, bowls of lemongrass seafood or chicken, and crispy duck. The sushi chefs show off their artistic inclinations in rolls packed with or broiled salmon or other maki folded into the shape of a heart like a poet’s tax returns.
With plates of curried lamb and pad-thai noodles, the menu isn't the only place where fusion is found at Asian Fusion College Park—the eatery itself is one part restaurant, one part lounge, and one part banquet hall. The restaurant tempts taste buds with a mix of fast-food dishes made from Chinese, Thai, and Indian recipes, including pineapple fried rice, black-pepper calamari, and paneer cheese in a brown sauce. At Varsity Lounge, another culture is thrown into the melting pot in the form of American staples, such as wings and new york strip steaks. After devouring these bites, guests can listen to live music, belt out karaoke, giggle through a comedy show, or shoot billiards. Private events, such as weddings and preschool reunions, unfold in the ballroom, and an Indian catering menu dishes out handi goat masala and vegetable jalfraize.