If you are driving on Indian Head Highway (Route 210) these days, you are bound to notice the landscape is changing--buildings, homes and shopping centers seem to appear overnight. But one thing hasn't changed in the last 50 years. At the Indian Head and Livingston crossroads, the B&J Carryout is still serving delicious, inexpensive breakfasts, sandwiches and ice cream seven days a week.
The B&J is hard to miss: if its purple paint doesn't get your attention, then you're sure to notice its yellow sign advertising its famous barbecue sandwiches. Barbecue is served two ways here: Dixie-style (minced pork) or Yankee-style (minced beef). We tried the Yankee-style sandwich ($3.59) with coleslaw, a hot fresh bun piled high with meaty, slightly tangy barbecue (but not overly spicy, which makes it a favorite with kids). For heartier appetites I recommend B&J's barbecue on a sub roll ($6.39).
But delicious barbecue is not all that makes the B&J special. In fact, I learned about the B&J from a friend who raved about its fried oyster sandwich ($4.99). Other seafood sandwiches include the crab cake ($4.99), fish fillet ($3.39) and the soft-shell crab ($5.99). Like any place that serves truly fresh seafood, B&J has a selection that depends on the day and the season, so call ahead to see if the oysters and soft-shell crabs are available.
With 20 different submarines to choose from, my daughter finally settled on the turkey sub ($5.49). The fresh submarine roll was stuffed with real turkey (not the pressed or processed version), lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise (she passed on the offer of grilled onions). "Everything was spread evenly" she said in praise, so there was no final bite of just roll. We also tried the steak and cheese sub ($4.69), choosing provolone cheese, grilled onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise, lettuce and hot peppers. It was filled with thinly sliced grilled steak and, just like all the other sandwiches, stuffed end to end.
I chatted for a few minutes with some kids who arrived on bikes, and my interview paid off. They told me all about the ice cream stand at B&J, which is open April to November and serves homemade delights, including coffee coolers. For this group of kids, the chocolate and vanilla swirl ($1.19 for a small) was the hands-down favorite. Other kids' favorites on the carryout menu are hot dogs ($1.49) and grilled cheese sandwiches ($1.79).
There are a few parking spaces in front and ample room in the back, making a carryout visit quick and easy. Or if you are in a real rush you can call ahead and place your order for an even quicker pick-up.
The B&J has a definite community feel to it--from the notices posted on the windows inside to the community bulletin board out back. Its nice to know that the more things change, the more some things stay the same. Here's hoping that the fresh, delicious, hot carryout food that has been served here for 50 years will be around for another 50.
B&J Carryout, 15805 Livingston Rd., Accokeek, Md.; call 301-292-5631. April to October: Monday-Friday, 5 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. November-March: closes at 8 p.m.