BY PAULA MINAERT — There will be an empty spot in Hyattsville at the end of this month: The Professional Carry Out, long beloved by many residents, will close its doors July 31.
The owners, Hyun Joong Shin and Song Hee Shin, have run the business for almost 20 years. They offer hearty breakfasts to early risers in the city, and lunches to many people who work up and down Route 1, where the restaurant is located. (The address is 5314 Baltimore Avenue.)
Blame the economy, if you will. The couple’s daughter, Sue Chan, said that the rent is being raised significantly and her parents can’t afford to pay it.
The restaurant has definitely earned a place in many people’s hearts. Former Ward 1 councilmember Doug Dudrow, for one, raves about it.
“Got the best durn home fries in town,” he said. “I always see county police, court personnel and firefighters there. The owners know how to fill up hungry people.”
Ron Rhine, owner of the Hyattsville Vacuum Cleaner store across the street, is one of them.
“I eat there almost every day and I eat good,” he said. “I may take an inch or two off my waistline [once it’s closed]. The owners are a wonderful couple, very hard-working people. I’ll miss them.”
Tony Fotos said he and his wife enjoy going there because “It’s like home. We looked forward to seeing our friends there, and if we didn’t meet friends we made them there.”
Chan said her parents had hoped to keep the business for a few more years.
“We came over from South Korea and my mother worked there as a cook before they bought it. It was the sole source of income for our family and it sent us three children to the University of Maryland. It was the American dream for them.”
But it was more than a job to them, she added.
“They built a strong bond with their customers.”
The Shins came to Dudrow’s 60th birthday party earlier this year (and brought home fries). And Rhine says that when he doesn’t go there for a day, the owners ask his employees, who’ve gone over for soda, where he is.
“When I go in for breakfast, they know what I want. If I nod my head, it’s just coffee. If I hold up one finger, it’s an egg sandwich. And they get cooking right away. They do this with a lot of people. I was hoping they’d change their minds about leaving.”
But their daughter said her parents had finally decided to close.
“It’s a hard decision for my parents,” said Chan. “It’s not the money [they’ll miss]; it’s the people. I asked my mother what she wanted to say to their customers. And she said she wants everyone to know that they really appreciate them and thanks everyone who came there.”