Mike Franklin was one of the first to see the potential of downtown Hyattsville amid the clutter of car dealerships, fast-food joints and laundromats.
His Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store (complete with penny candy, children’s books and toys) has been a fixture on Route 1 for more than two decades. Almost single-handedly, Franklin created an oasis of civility in a landscape where for years neither fine dining nor fun dining was easy to find.
Lately, though, as townhouses have sprung up, others have joined him near his block south of the University of Maryland: Busboys & Poets, Elevation Burger, Chipotle, a hair salon and a pet food store. That, along with a longstanding effort by Prince George’s County officials and artists to expand the Gateway Arts District with affordable housing and studio space, and Mike Franklin looks nothing if not prescient.
Now, he hopes to make the region sit up and pay attention to his creative community.