Friday, September 28, 2018

Hagerstown Maryland – A Depot and “Dolce” for Dinner

In August, Laurie and I embarked upon a 3 week road trip…the longest trip we’ve ever been on.  Our primary focus was New England but we had destinations to explore along the road both going to and coming from those 6 Northeastern states. 

While we avoid the Interstates when practical, we far prefer the side roads and secondary highways.  However, for our first couple of days, with the distance to be covered in a bearable time, utilizing the Eisenhower Interstate System was a necessity.

Our first overnight stay was at a Hampton Inn right off the Interstate in Hagerstown Maryland.  I had a restaurant picked out for dinner so we put the address in the GPS system…and then along the route I had to do a U-turn!

This handsome former railroad depot is located at 50 North Burhans Boulevard near downtown Hagerstown.  This 2-story structure was built in 1913 by the Western Maryland Railroad.  It replaced an earlier 1-story frame depot.

The Western Maryland Railroad was formed 1852 but the railroad didn’t reach Hagerstown until 1872.  The tracks west from Hagerstown to Cumberland Maryland weren’t completed until 1906.  Through mergers, the railroad finally became part of the Chessie System (CSX).  Passenger service to Hagerstown ended in the late 1950s. 

The tracks are long gone and this building sat abandoned for a number of years.  However, in the early 1980’s, it was sold to the City of Hagerstown.  It was then renovated and it became the home of the Hagerstown Police Department.  I’m happy to see that the building was preserved and that it’s been put to a worthy use…

It was early evening in the downtown area of Hagerstown and traffic was light.  It is a nice looking section of town.  Hagerstown is the County Seat for Washington County Maryland and the city proper has a population of about 41,000. 

The city is home to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and Washington County (including Hagerstown) has 102 listings in the National Register of Historic Places!  Of these 102 listings, 16 are Historic Districts with multiple structures.  We managed to visit 2 of those Historic Districts at the end of our summer adventure as we headed back south…but those visits will be covered in a much later blog posting.

This was our dining destination…Dolce Pizza Gourmet and Eastern European Restaurant.  We had dined here before…back in the summer of 2011…on our way to visit upper New York State.  Reviews by diners on TripAdvisor and Yelp have continued to be favorable, so our hopes were positive.

The dining room is quite small but cozy.  We noticed that the tables and chairs matched this time, unlike on our previous business.  When we ate here 7 years ago, we were the only customers when we arrived and we had a chance to chat with the owner…her name is Julia. 

Dolce is a family affair.  Julia, (the owner and the chef), is originally from Moldova, a former Soviet state and now a tiny Eastern European country (population about 2.5 million) sandwiched in between Romania and Ukraine.  Her family assists in operating the restaurant.

This chalk board gives new customers a hint or two about the restaurant.  First of all, pricing is pretty reasonable.  Secondly, you don’t see stuffed cabbage on too many menus! (Note the little Moldovan flag at the right of the photo)

I had the Stuffed Cabbage when we visited Dolce back in 2011…and I really liked it.  Laurie ordered the Moldovan Chicken on that occasion and she thought that it was excellent.  While the menu at Dolce leans heavily on Italian food, other different or interesting options are available.

Is Dolce a local family operation?  Does Julia’s former homeland fit into the equation?  You bet!  Note the wall full of articles and awards about the restaurant and Julia.  

There also is a colorful clock from Romania, a picture of family heraldry and then there is that plaque.  It commemorates perhaps the greatest Moldovan leader, Prince Stephen the Great, who ruled from 1457 – 1504.  During his reign he was successful in fighting both the Hungarian and Polish Kingdoms as well as the Ottoman Empire. 

What about the traditional dolls?  Julia’s handsome and engaging sons were working during our visit and Julia’s very cute granddaughter had to have something to play with while her daddy worked didn’t she?! 

As you can see, we opted for the Italian portion of the menu on this occasion.  We had a large pepperoni, ham and sausage pizza for dinner.  It was definitely well above average with quality ingredients although the crust was a little thicker than we prefer.  We did enjoy our meal!  There was a lot of pizza take out business during our visit...

Then out came the fried dough with powdered sugar!  It’s served with all of the meals and it’s yummy!  We (really I) managed to go through a couple plates of these goodies…

For the second time in 8 years, we were glad that we stopped at the Dolce Pizza Gourmet and Eastern European Restaurant.  It was a nice start for our summer adventure.  This restaurant is located at 792 Frederick Street in Hagerstown Maryland.  Phone: 301-745-6300.  

You can check out my post from our 2011 visit by clicking on the following:  Dolce is also on Facebook at:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Dear Dave, What a nice little place. The pizza looks real good and who could resist the fried dough! Have a great weekend to you and Laurie. Catherine

  2. David, waht amazing are all yours travel David and always the pictures are wonderful! sounds wonderful!

  3. … if it cones to pizza I always opt for pizza without the crust and if it cones to hamburger I always opt for the without the bun .. Love , cat

  4. Good use for the R depot. I've been by Hagerstown many times on I-81 and I-70 but don't recall ever stopping.