Friday, September 02, 2011

Bowie Restaurant Project: (14) Noodles & Company

For an explanation of the Bowie Restaurant Project, look here.

For a collection of all the Bowie Restaurant Project entries, look here.

Quiznos, 15477 Excelsior Dr

Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 9/2/2011
Total Foursquare Check-ins: 2
Pre-Foursquare Visits: No
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars

It's a Noodles & Company. It's a chain of stores that pulled off the clever trick of getting you to pay restaurant prices for the one type of food -- pasta -- that almost anyone can make at home. Fortunately, it does it well, so if you don't feel like whipping up some mushroom stroganoff in your kitchen, or you're looking for mac & cheese that is a cut above the kind that comes in a box, this is your go-to place.

I think it gets 2 1/2 stars based on comparison to Five Guys, which also got pegged at that rating. It's a chain that's a cut above fast food. We used to visit the College Park location all the time. The Bowie one is newer, and the facilities look a little bit nicer, but otherwise there's little difference other than a wider age range in the clientele.

Like Five Guys, Noodles & Company is located in the Bowie Town Center mall. I was considering docking it points for the annoying distance I had to walk from the car. Then I timed it at two minutes and felt lazy. Then I realized that the problem is not the distance, but the layout of the mall.

The Bowie Town Center mall was originally approved in the 1970s as an indoor mall. Twenty years later, when the project started to move forward, indoor malls were out of fashion. To go along with the "town center" concept, the developers included parking in front of the stores -- but not enough parking for most of the customers, just enough to give a "main street feel." The problem is that most people park farther away, and then have to intersect with the cars looking for close-in parking. I had to cross three "streets" on my 2-minute walk. In retrospect, I could have cut that to two, but I would have had to cross an additional crosswalk in my car to get there.

So, no demerits to Noodles & Company for the parking, but a continued beef with the mall for having a dumb layout.

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