Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Storm Water Dining: The Next Way For Howard County To Puts Its Stamp On The Dining Scene

The pond behind Mango Grove
With a new year, I'd like to open a new chapter in suburban eating.  I want Howard County to put its stamp on dining and claim the title for "Great Meals Eaten While Overlooking A Storm Water Pond."

"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.
Where else can you recommend "storm water dining?"  Where else can you enjoy a meal while overlooking a man-made pond?  We have seen an egret hunting in the pond near our house.  Are there any restaurant overlooks that offer wildlife?

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.


Amy Petrik said...

How about Qdoba off of 175? I think there's a storm water pond visible from the back booths.

Jim S. said...

There are no natural lakes in Howard County so aren't all lake-view dining restaurants in Howard County technically storm-water view dining.

Anonymous said...

Ell Hidalgo's patio sort of overlooks the storm pond behind Giant.

sherringham said...

JIm S--There are no natural lakes in all of Maryland actually. Agree completely that all lake-front dining is really just once-a-meadow, now-a-pond dining.

HowChow said...

LOL. Jim & Sherri -- That just goes to show the true artistry of our indigenous dining trend. It takes a tough man to make dinner over a former meadow-turned-pond. It's all in the sight lines.

Adam P. said...

Not quite "storm water pond" dining, but I've always been tempted to go to the Ledo Pizza down on route 216 in Fulton, simply because the view out from the front booths at the expansive farm across the street looks amazing!

Christie said...

I'd like to see more creative dining options - rooftops, side yards, backyards - all with pretty lights and landscaping. Last summer in Chicago, I ate outside a Corner Bakery that used nice planters to separate the diners from the sidewalk traffic. Lots of places get creative - why can't we?