|The pond behind Mango Grove|
"Storm Water Dining" was a category coined by the immeasurable Wordbones about two years ago. In his memory, I hope that you'll reach beyond the county's classic "parking lot cafe" options to recommend restaurants that offer the most-beautiful, completely-man-made scenery around.
Others may scoff. They may claim food tastes better overlooking the Pacific or with idyllic wooded views. But we have what we have: Commercial developments where someone graded down the land and dug out a pond so that the neighbors don't flood.
Be proud. Eat outdoors. Enjoy the view. I started off thinking that I'd find a dozen "storm water dining" locales, but I came up with only a handful. There must be more, but these are my nominations:
- Eggspectations in Ellicott City. This was Wordbones' inspiration. They have outdoor seating, which seems like a plus, and the developer did truly create a water feature where many people would have just dug a hole in the ground. Great for breakfast.
- Mango Grove in Columbia. You get a picture window over the pond, not outdoor seating. But you also get a terrific Indian restaurant with options than run from northern Indian curries to southern Indian vegetarian to Chinese-Indian fusions. These folks renovated that space and clearly paid attention to the view. I don't think any of the other restaurants in that row have rear windows at all.
- The Indian restaurant -- now maybe called Ananda -- coming to Fulton. This new restaurant in Maple Lawn may take the cake. The storm water pond is small, but Ananda (which people had been calling the Polo Club previously) has dug in dozens of bushes and trees. And they installed enormous garage doors on their side room so that diners will have views and fresh air in good weather -- but toasty protection when it gets cold.
Of course, you should check out the parking lot cafe posts if you want to see the 2009 and 2010 posts that inspired this addition. And if you didn't know Wordbones, you can see my post from last fall about how much I miss Dennis Lane and his Tales of Two Cities blog.