By Amy Reinink (View FULL STORY online on The Washington Post)
With shelves of craft beer sitting a few yards away from bins of rubber chickens, and with a high-quality restaurant and brewery sharing space with gag gifts such as bacon-flavored gum, Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store is a study in eclectic style. Franklins, occupying an 1880s-era structure that once was a hardware store, is the brainchild of Mike Franklin, who bought the building in the early 1990s to preserve a piece of Hyattsville history. Franklin still uses its original sliding ladders and metal nail bins, among other features. Many residents of Hyattsvilles historic district say Franklins exemplifies their communitys quirky, historic character. They credit the store with starting a wave of redevelopment along Route 1, which now boasts restaurants and stores such as Busboys and Poets, Tara Thai and Yes! Organic Market. Franklins neighbors include Arrow Bicycle and A Tangled Skein, a knitting store housed in a historic bank building.
“It always delights me to notice that our customers are black and white and old and young and just all over the place socially and economically,” said Franklin, 54, who moved to the community 23 years ago. He’s now the chairman of Hyattsville’s Community Development Corporation and has served as president of the Hyattsville Preservation Association. “You don’t come to this place, or Hyattsville in general, to see one kind of person.”