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Matthew’s 1600: Catonsville’s homestyle dining experience

A local restaurant review

Matthew’s 1600 is a great option for students who want a place to go out with friends or a date. The prices, menu and atmosphere make for a great experience, especially during the holiday season.

Resembling a classic-style home with a wrap around porch and shuttered windows, Matthew’s 1600 Restaurant & Bar looks more like someone’s house than a restaurant. Stepping inside reveals an area comprised of two distinct rooms. One with a more casual, two leveled space surrounded by a relatively large bar, and a more elegant and formal room, closed off dining area with tablecloths and candles.

A larger “party” room sits below, where many receptions, parties and group events are held. The overall atmosphere of the place is warm and inviting, with its blonde wood, impressive sized bar and numerous booths.

One of the main reasons why people love coming to this restaurant is the casual atmosphere. Even though many formal events occur here on a regular basis, it still appears to be a family-friendly place. The menu is never unfavorable, featuring unfamiliar dishes at fairly reasonable prices.

Martha Joans, a frequent guest of the restaurant, said, “The prices here are great and they offer several happy hour appetizers as well as their regular menu.”

Owners Al and Lori Parson, along with their three sons, Russell, Matthew and Daniel, have been in this business since 2003. The sign outside the restaurant is always announcing its next event and buffet. Holidays are one of their prime times.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, employees are setting up for another buffet style event to celebrate the holiday weekend. Like most buffets, the assortment of cooking is presented on long tables around the main floor of the restaurant. Guests line up, plate in hand, eager to take as much food as possible, some even returning for seconds and thirds.

For those families who either dislike cooking or are looking for a break from hosting yet another holiday event, Matthew’s 1600 is a great alternative. Not only does the restaurant give off a family-friendly vibe, but it also includes classic holiday meals.

This year’s menu will include three main entrees: a turkey breast, prime rib and glazed ham. Along with this, there will be steamed shrimp, cranberry glazed meatballs, mashed potatoes, corn pudding and, of course, the traditional Thanksgiving dessert: pumpkin pie.

When its not the holiday season, and during regular hours, Matthew’s 1600 is known for their Baltimore-style crab dip served with a huge soft pretzel and topped with cheddar and jack cheese. Their prices are relatively reasonable, especially for college students, with full, classic meals just under $15. One of the customers, Lindsey Michaels, said, “Matthew’s 1600 is a great restaurant! I will definitely be coming back for the crab dip.”

With its friendly service, reasonable prices, fresh food and close proximity to campus, Matthew’s 1600 is a great option for a night out with friends or a date. It’s a way to dine out with a bit of ambiance without breaking the bank.