Category Archives: Frostburg

Mile 11 – Princess Restaurant, Frostburg, Md.

The Princess Restaurant in Frostburg, Md.

Tucked neatly into the row of shops, bars and restaurants that line Main Street in Frostburg is the Princess Restaurant, one of the city’s oldest continually-operating dining establishments. In 1939, George Pappas, Sr., opened the Princess as a confectionery and luncheonette, and by the 1940s, the business evolved into the restaurant that it is today. The restaurant has been in continuous ownership of three generations of the Pappas family. Keep in mind that this restaurant has existed before, during and after the construction of the interstates, and until I-68 was built late in the 20th Century, the Princess Restaurant was on the main highway.

The plaque at "Truman's Booth."

The inside of the restaurant arguably looks and feels like a diner from the 1950s or 60s. Small booths line one wall of the main room, while a bar-type set-up occupies the other side. A more modern dining room also exists next to the older one. At each booth, a old-style jukebox is at the end of each table. Although most have “out of order” signs, it appears that some may still work. And, an additional novelty of the Princess is a booth in which former President Harry Truman and his wife, Bess, dined on Fathers Day 1953.

As for the food, the Princess is exceptional, quite possibly due to over 70 years of refinement. The restaurant has breakfast, lunch and dinner items. The list of 40-plus different types of sandwiches alone out-preforms many chain restaurants. For dinner, patrons can choose from a wide selection, from steak to pasta dishes to seafood to chicken.

"Broiled Cod Loin with Crab Meat," Princess Restaurant.

I ordered the broiled cod with crab meat, plated with fries and corn. In case the name doesn’t make it evident, my dinner was just a cod filet surrounded by seasoned crab meat and covered in butter and garlic and then broiled. The entire dinner was cooked perfectly and thorough. I also liked the portion size at the Princess. In my opinion, a lot of the larger chain restaurants tend to serve huge portions (with a higher price tag!), but at the Princess, massive portions seem to not be the case, which I think is great. In no way was I left hungry or wanting to eat later, but I also didn’t have the “I ate too much that I can’t move” feeling.

Being from Allegany County, I almost feel ashamed saying that this was the first time I had ever been to the Princess. And after having visited, I think I’ve been missing out on great, more-than-reasonably-priced food! On a larger note, my visit also reminded me of the point of this blog – to find places like the Princess that remain independent and unique along U.S. 40. Like I said, this was the first time I had been to the Princess, but I also remember the dozens of times I have eaten at chain restaurants in Allegany County, all the while missing out on good, local food.

The interior of the Princess Restaurant.

The Princess Restaurant is located at 12 W. Main St., Frostburg. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Sunday. Phone: 301-689-1680; Fax: 301-689-9029. Take-out is available.

Princess Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Mile 11 – Frostburg, Md.

Main Street in Frostburg, Md.

Welcome to coal country. After a steep ascent up the Allegheny Front, the National Road reaches the small city of Frostburg. Frostburg was built for two primary interests: travel along the National Road, and coal. at various points in the late 1800s and early 1900s, several local railroads, including, but not limited to, the Georges Creek Railroad, the Cumberland and Pennsylvania and the Western Maryland all ran through or near Frostburg, ferrying coal from the mines around Frostburg and the Georges Creek communities to Cumberland and subsequent transportation methods to larger cities.

Today, evidence of Frostburg’s past is found throughout the small city of about 9,000 people per the 2010 Census. Main Street, which is also ALT U.S.-40 (the National Road) runs straight through town, and Frostburg’s older, multi-story buildings line this street.

Right off Main Street near the center city area is the appropriately-named Depot Street, which winds down a short hill to the former Western Maryland Railroad depot. This is the western terminus of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, which makes round trips from Cumberland to Frostburg, and lets travelers spend a few hours in Frostburg before returning to Cumberland. Also, the Great Allegheny Passage trail passes by the depot on its journey from Cumberland to Pittsburgh, Pa. The trail follows the WMSR to Frostburg, and then continues on the empty bed of the Western Maryland Railroad into Pennsylvania.

Although much of the accessible coal has already been taken from the hills and mountains around Frostburg, some mines still remain on the outskirts of town (one is visible from I-68 and another is visible from MD-638). For an additional history roadtrip featuring Western Maryland’s coal heritage, drive MD-36 from Cumberland, through Mount Savage and Frostburg, and then south through the Georges Creek Valley to Westernport, Md.

The historic Failinger's Hotel Gunter, 11 W. Main St.

Nevertheless, Frostburg is one of the few areas in Allegany County that grew significantly from the 2000 to 2010 Census, arguably due to the presence of Frostburg State University – the only state university in Western Maryland, having a history dating back to 1898, although it wasn’t called a “college” in any form until 1935. FSU’s presence in town has a significant effect on Main Street, which boasts a host of bars and restaurants, most of which are open late. Other businesses, including a local bookstore and a few clothing boutiques also line Main Street – some geared toward college students, some open to everyone.

It is important to note that when traveling in the winter months, if snow or ice is in the forecast, use caution, especially when traveling east to west! Because Frostburg (and subsequently, Garrett County) is at an elevation of just over 2,000 feet, it has weather that is significantly different than Cumberland, which has an elevation of about 630 feet. This means that in the winter, Frostburg may be experiencing snow when it is only raining in Cumberland or LaVale, which tends to surprise non-local drivers.