You're probably familiar with the "Golden Rule." But how about the "power of the pumpkin muffin?"
Both are guiding principles at The Grill at Quarterfield Station, a comfy neighborhood eatery that looks to be popular with the locals in Glen Burnie, judging by the wait on a rainy weekday night.
What's nice is you're treated like a local, even if you're not related to anyone pictured in the old black-and-white photos of early Glen Burnie that line the walls.
That would be the Golden Rule. And if you happen to mention you're a first timer? They'll give you a four-pack of pumpkin muffins to take home.
"We're very demanding about paying attention and doing the extra thing," said owner Bill Chalmers. "That's our marketing plan – do those acts of kindness and people will talk about you."
The Grill opened in 2002 originally as a second location of Severna Park restaurant staple Garry's Grill. Hence the pumpkin muffins – and the spiced iced tea, signature items at several area restaurants originally founded by Garry Anderson, including Main Ingredient in Annapolis, Woodfire in Severna Park, the former Capers in Cape St. Claire now known as the Broadneck Grill.
If you haven't been in since the late Governor William Donald Schaefer was the State Comptroller and a regular customer, you haven't seen the spiffy interior re-do that reflects the era when Glen Burnie was a stop on the Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad line. (If you pass the red caboose in the parking lot, you'll have to make a U-turn.)
The vintage photographs are great conversation starters. So, too, is the replica grain silo that hangs over the hostess station, a reminder that farms, not strip malls, once covered this area.
I had about 25 minutes to study the scene before a table opened up on the Thursday evening before Memorial Day. The place was packed. Some folks were getting an early start to the holiday weekend, no doubt, but Thursdays are generally popular because all bottles of wine are half-price. Our gang of four enjoyed a crisp Montevina Pinot Grigio for $13.
Besides daily specials, there's a "two for $30" entrees special on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is crab night, and Sunday is steak night. If you're gluten-free, ask for the GF menu, or call in advance for other accommodations.
To start off, we shared the Mediterranean flatbread appetizer of prosciutto, spinach, tomatoes, banana peppers, and cheeses on a sundried tomato pesto base ($9.95). With a small slice for each and the courtesy basket of crusty rolls and tender cornbread with whipped honey butter, we were happy campers until our dinner orders arrived.
My husband, Dave, opted for a bowl of Maryland crab soup ($5.99), which was perfectly hot in both temperature and spiciness and loaded with veggies, while I and my future son-in-law John (first time in print!) enjoyed our salads, which were well appointed, cold and crisp.
It never fails, when I'm out with family, someone orders nachos, which to me are the very definition of a hot mess. It was Dave this time, and the Grill's ($10.99) looked more thoughtfully prepared than some, topped with their vegetarian chili and displaying a variety of beans and chips. The nacho aficionados among us thought the dish needed more cheese, however.
Elder daughter Emily chose steak quesadillas ($10.99). I got a sample and agreed the steak was tender and well-seasoned, the sautéed onions and peppers were ample, and the salsa had the right jalapeno kick. Guacamole is a personal thing: Emily and I both like ours spicier and more garlicky than the Grill's version.
My future son-in-law John went for comfort food in the form of the Grill's "new" pecan crusted pork tenderloin ($18.99). The meat was moist and flavorful and topped with a delightful plum-apricot sauce. With cooked-just-right green beans and garlic mashed potatoes, he was happy from start to finish.
I opted for one of the night's specials: brandy chicken ($18.95) with those same tasty sides. The chicken was done perfectly and topped with a delicious brandy peppercorn sauce studded with bits of bacon, portabella mushrooms and shallots. I could have licked the plate; instead, I scraped every drop into my doggy bag to enjoy half the dish the next day.
The consensus was to share one item from the bountiful dessert case. We opted for peanut butter pie ($5.50), which our server said was the only dessert made in-house. Good choice! The mousse filling was chock full of peanutty goodness and drizzled with dark chocolate in a graham cracker crust, just like mom would make.
The waiter forgot my decaf, but it was just as well. It had been a full evening. Four dinners, a shared appetizer, bottle of wine and dessert, and two doggy bags for lunch the next day for $100 – not bad. Oh, and since it was our first visit, free muffins for breakfast.
I've always tried to abide by the Golden Rule. But now, I believe in the power of the pumpkin muffin, too.
The Grill at Quarterfield Station
WHERE: 7704 D Quarterfield Road, Glen Burnie
HOURS: Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Vincent DePasquale
BREAKFAST: $3.75 to $13.99
LUNCH: $8.50 to $14.50
DINNER: soup, salad, sandwiches $3.99 to $18.99; entrees $13.99 to $23.99
RESERVATIONS: Recommended for parties of six or more
CREDIT CARDS: All major cards