With Lidl’s Opening, Options for Groceries in Greater College Park Keep Growing
The number of places to get groceries near the University of Maryland campus rose again this summer, and the number of places to get a lightweight sleeping bag, LED disco ball and a $6.99 pound of filet mignon on sale also skyrocketed, to one.
Lidl, the fast-growing German discount supermarket chain known for its quirky variety of non-food items, opened in June on the corner of Baltimore Avenue and Berwyn Road, the third grocery outlet to open on Baltimore Avenue in just four years. Judging by the lines last week for the cash register and the traffic jams in the parking lot, it may already be the most popular choice for students.
Lidl is just the latest addition to Greater College Park, a $2 billion public-private investment along the Baltimore Avenue corridor, with the goal of making the community a top 20 college town and enticing place to work, play and live.
“Creating additional fresh, healthy food options that are walkable for the campus and the community has been a priority of ours,” said Ken Ulman, the university's chief strategy officer for economic development, “and it's really exciting to see additional options on Baltimore Avenue coming to fruition.”
From the Whole Foods Market in Riverdale Park Station to farmers markets on campus and in downtown College Park, fresh groceries are now accessible from virtually any point along the corridor.
“It sends a message to folks who are looking to move to College Park,” Ulman said, “that we’re a place that understands the amenities necessary to be a great place to live.”
Lidl | 8601 Baltimore Ave., College Park
The College Park store is the third of seven locations Lidl plans to open in Maryland by next year, and is a part of the company’s nationwide expansion. Lidl, whose competitors include Aldi and Trader Joe’s, keeps prices low in part by selling mostly private-label food items.
The 36,000-square-foot store in College Park has six wide aisles stocked with fresh produce and meats, in addition to non-food items. The fragrant croissants prepared at the bakery helped vault Lidl to No. 3 on Food & Wine Magazine’s list of best supermarkets in the U.S.
MOM’s Organic Market | 9801 Rhode Island Ave., College Park
What started as an organic food delivery service out of UMD alum Scott Nash’s station wagon has expanded to a chain with locations in four states and the District of Columbia. MOM’s moved to a bigger store at the Hollywood Shopping Center last year, which features the Naked Lunch restaurant with all-organic meals, as well as a Witch’s Brew café. If you want a break from shopping, find its pinball parlor with over two dozen machines from Nash’s collection.
Whole Foods Market | 6621-B Baltimore Ave., Riverdale Park
The first Whole Foods in Prince George’s County opened with much fanfare two years ago in Riverdale Park Station. In addition to the store’s signature natural and organic products, the 40,000-square-foot store has a large takeout area where dozens flock during lunch hour.
Target Express | 7501 Baltimore Ave., College Park
Though the mini-Target is only about 15 percent the size of a regular store, its limited food selection has most of the basics: fresh fruit and vegetables, pre-packaged produce, a sizeable frozen aisle and some meat and poultry, along with toiletries, paper products and student-friendly home goods. Located at the corner of Baltimore Avenue and Regents Drive and under Landmark apartments, Target Express is the closest major store to the campus’ center.
Mega Farmers Market | 2400 University Blvd. E., Hyattsville
The Latin music blasting over the speakers signals you’ve entered a place with a different flavor. The closest of several international markets that line University Boulevard west of campus, Mega Farmers boasts a huge variety of fresh produce you won’t find in American chains including four varieties of bananas, two kinds of plantains, dozens of choices of rice and beans, plus other Latin, Caribbean, Indian and African products. The store is a destination for international UMD students, but manager Mingo Arrega said his doors are wide open to others who want to try something new. Enticements include free home delivery for orders over $60, and six limes for $1.
The Farmers Market at Maryland | 2900 Campus Drive, Tawes Plaza Garden
Open 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Wednesdays from April to November
Organized by UMD Dining Services, the weekly farmers market in front of Tawes Hall and the Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building hosts local vendors selling fresh produce, dairy and baked goods. The farmers market debuted in 2011 to give students easy access to fresh food and encourage them to cook healthy meals. Under the Dining Services tent, you’ll find a stack of recipes using organic ingredients for sale at the market. For a list of other farmers markets around the county, including one in downtown College Park, click here.
This story, originally published in June, has been updated.