Pizza and wings with a side of nostalgia
By Fritz Hahn
Friday, December 7, 2012
Bars and restaurants seeking to show hometown pride might put a local beer on tap or brag about how they source their meat and vegetables from nearby farms. But there’s a simpler way to provide an undeniable sense of place: Post the local high schools’ colors on your wall.
At Maggie’s, a four-month-old Bethesda bar and restaurant formerly known as the Wing Hub, you’ll find dozens of schools’ sports uniforms, including DeMatha and Good Counsel football jerseys, a Walt Whitman lacrosse pinny and a Holton-Arms field hockey shirt.
Owner Jeff Trilling wanted to create “a comfortable place” for locals, he says. A big high school sports fan, he played football at Gonzaga in the ’80s and later co-hosted a high school sports show on HomeGameSports.com.
Maggie’s achieves Trilling’s goal by virtue of its hometown vibe and his lifetime of experience in the restaurant biz. From 1964 to 1979, his father owned a Tenleytown pizzeria called Maggie’s, which catered to neighborhood kids as well as Redskins players. Trilling grew up bussing tables, cleaning the bar and helping out until his father sold the place. (It closed in 1998.)
Earlier this year, Trilling bought out his partners in the Wing Hub, where the menu consisted of wings, chicken tenders, fries and rave-worthy sauce choices, and he added a pizza oven and a flat-top grill. He renamed it for his father’s restaurant, hoping to capture the spirit and the customers who fondly remember the old spot. Flat-screen televisions, now 20 in all, and the sports jerseys complement an expanded menu with cheesesteaks, subs and what Trilling says is his dad’s New York-style pizza recipe.
Local sporting events get priority on the televisions in the brightly lit, one-room restaurant, especially the Redskins or Maryland and Georgetown basketball. Want to settle in for a game? Don’t miss the all-you-can-eat-and-drink special of unlimited wings, pizza and beer for three hours (the length of a football game) for $35. You probably won’t need the deal if you’re stopping in for Monday Night Football: Those nights, you’ll find half-price pizza and $2 beers from 5 p.m. to close. The weekday happy hour, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m., has $2 domestic drafts and 75-cent wings or chicken tenders.
No matter when you go, the draft beers come in clear plastic cups instead of glasses, so the place can feel like a college bar on a busy night. But the wings are great. The hot ones are spicy without being chemical-like, and the bartender is quick to warn people about the face-melting “Reckless” and “Dangerous” spice choices.
A respite from the chain bars and restaurants nearby, Maggie’s is equally appealing to guys at the bar talking about college basketball over wings and Yuengling and a dad and two sons eating wings and chicken tenders in a booth. Eat local, drink local and maybe run into a friend from high school. Sounds like a plan.