The Old Towne Inn is a historic restaurant in Prince George’s County, MD. In the centuries of slavery, The Old Town Inn was only a few blocks away from a known slave auction block that still sits behind an old house down the street. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the restaurant was a segregated establishment and blacks were only allowed through the back door. Even well into the 1970’s, there were stories of discrimination and racist conversation among its ‘elite’ white customers.
Now, The Old Towne Inn is a center of the Prince George’s community. Prince George’s county became one of the most affluent black communities in America. The Old Towne Inn is now owned by Donnell Long, a black man. The restaurant sits next door to the county courthouse and is host to judges, lawyers and representatives. Long has given the historic place a facelift, complete with Tiffany chandeliers and wine-colored leather seating.
Like his establishment, Donnell Long has his own significant story. He and his brother were found in an abandoned car as children and were raised in the foster care system. When he was old enough, Long attended the Washington Culinary Arts School. Among one of his places of employment was the Cheesecake Factory. Persuaded by a friend to take over the Old Town Inn’s lease, Long transformed the former “Judges Chambers” into what is now one of the most respected and frequented restaurants in the city. He also gives back to the system that raised him into the man he is today. Long partnered with the local foster care foundation to host holiday dinners for foster kids.