Originally published – 2/18/2015

Estimated read time 4 min read

My DC envy has just eased a bit. Famous Dave’s Bar B Que & Blues has come to Largo.

If I can’t have a cup of coffee at Starbucks at the Boulevard, I can at least be consoled with some barbecue ribs in an elegant interior of industrial design. Corrugated metal wall panels, a flat screen TV at every viewing angle, and black brick back splash at the bar, including the four flat screens to enjoy a game while you drink and chat.

Large images of blues men playing their instruments have a “down home on the farm” flavor. No matter how “urban” Prince Georgians like to think of themselves, the photographs are appropriate to the county’s agricultural history.

Walking in, the first thing I appreciated was the floor to ceiling windows. I never came to this building when the occupant was the “Sidelines” restaurant, so the structure is all new to me. From the inside, I can imagine sitting at one of the bar-height chairs and tables on a spring or summer day, enjoying a great meal and watching shoppers walk by.

There is a balcony level for private parties fully equipped with its own flat screen TV, bar and, if I remember correctly, restrooms. More importantly, it was delightful to see so many young folks on staff. I really liked that part the best.

The addition of Famous Dave’s to the Boulevard, in my view, is a welcome sign that all is not “lost, dead, or depressing” at the shopping center. I just never bought the idea that a land mass in direct line towards the U.S. Capitol was unwanted. I still believe that Largo Town Center Station and its surrounding community is an attractive alternative to the high priced lifestyle of Washington, D.C.

A look down the road seems promising. All things will change, I believe, when the construction of the new regional hospital begins. The construction of Tapestry at Largo Station Apartments is moving along nicely changing the feel of the corner of Arena Drive and Lottsford Road.

One day, as I stood on the corner of Lottsford and Arena, I contemplated what the future residents of Tapestry will be able to walk to.

Metro’s Blue and Silver Line across the street.

Largo Town Center Shopping Center one block to the left (or right depending on your exit).

Restaurants and movies across the street at the Boulevard.

A short two minute drive towards Route 202 and a selection of restaurants that includes Ruby Tuesday’s and the Outback Steakhouse.

Fedex Field is in viewing distance down Arena Drive, a twenty minute walk or five minute drive.

Commuters can easily access major road networks from Routes 202 (Landover Road) and 214 (Central Avenue), to I95 for points north and south. Route 301 is a ten or 12 minute drive away going up 202 to Upper Marlboro.

A metro rail ride averages 20 minutes to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Reading county planning documents, going forward, new residential construction will be building for density – more people, more customers, more businesses, more jobs. I certainly hope that is the case.

I wrap all of these thoughts up in the opening of Famous Dave’s in Largo because I believe the Largo area is an opportunity that has been waiting a long time to happen.

Years ago, some one flooded this community with vast acreages of residential developments with no thought to what happens if one’s car breaks down and you do not have sufficient transportation. They built a “regional” sports complex assuming that every resident would (or could) drive to the recreation center. They made shopping centers for some a walk of a mile or more, stolen grocery carts attest to that. With no available land space, few churches could settle in.

The transit-oriented development around the Largo Town Center Metro is a great effort in correcting that travesty of community design. I’ll take the redevelopment of the Boulevard at the Capital Center as a move in the right direction. I welcome Famous Dave’s and I certainly hope this effort extends to the rest of the community. Come right on down Harry Truman Drive and place some recreation and retail within our midst, I notice there is a large vacant lot available on the other side of Largo Drive West and on Harry Truman. How about it?

In the mean time, I’ll just keep taking photographs of new construction and reading planning reports over coffee.

Welcome to the neighborhood Famous Dave’s. Now, who is that moving in next door you?

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