Another new restaurant?

BernieP

Resident PIA
At least.

They'd be better off turning it into a fast-food place or liquor store.
I think that area is already over booked on both, Food Lion center has a liquor store and so does McKay's, doubt the LCB would issue another license.
as for fast food, you have I think both pizza hut and pappa johns, two fast food places in the McKay lot and McD's in front of Food Kitty.

Plus the building isn't configured for a drive thru - essential to fast food - and would be too big (i.e. rent)

I can think of a dozen reasons why places there fail. One is the environment, I'm talking basic HVAC. Every time I have been in there since it was a Perkins it was either hot or cold, and when I'm cold, it's outside cold.
I would also say location location location. It's in a freaking parking lot that's in a parking lot. If it had a really superior reputation it might be a destination type place. You know, a unique, quality place people want to go to regardless of the drive. None of the places that have occupied that space would qualify.
It's been the kind of place that not even Robert Irvine could save.
Don't forget, the vast majority of restaurants do fail. It's a tough business and being in Southern Maryland doesn't make it any easier.
Not like good fresh markets are close by.
One of the halllmarks of cities on the coast is access to a wide variety of fresh goods from either rail or boat.
But you have to be able to get to that market and back quickly.
If you are a Sysco retailer it's hard to differentiate yourself from the pack.
 

kom526

They call me ... Sarcasmo
I read that somewhere on Facebook among with several other "theories" and guesses. One said the owner's last restaurant was The Leonardtown Grill. I saw a post from a Robyn Brown saying they had sold the restaurant, but I don't know who "they" are.
He/they (Mike and Robyn) have owned:

Charlotte Hall House of Ribs
The River's Edge (Benedict)
Leonardtown Grille - which was purchased by the same group that owns OTP (IIRC)
Bottom of the Hill
 

Monello

Yeah, whatever
PREMO Member
People wouldn't know what to do in an authentic Italian restaurant.
First, there are no "meals" or combination platters.
You have your Insalata, Anitpasti, Pasta, Pesce, etc.
If you want to do it really Italian, you start from the top, and you share. it becomes a family style meal with lots of wine and hours of good conversation and fun.
Vrai likes to go to this Italian place when we head to northern NJ. Pasta course is family style. The salad is escarole and it's already dressed. Don't ask for ranch or the server will probably bop you in the head. No reservations. You don't get a table until your entire party is there. Cash only. No dessert menu. Wines are ordered as red or white, don't order chardonnay or merlot. Almost no parking available. Yet the place is always packed. Chicken Savoy is their featured entree. People drive for miles to get it.

Belmont Tavern menu


 

BernieP

Resident PIA
Bring on the cheap feed troughs and people will flock to them. Hence why the McChain's around here are booming and drive-thru lines are packed.

And no, they wouldn't know how to act and would complain about the price, about how long it took and the small portion size. Good food isn't cheap nor is it mass produced. I personally prefer to have an experience where you dine leisurely, enjoying the food and ambiance of the restaurant.
and some people don't understand why we have trouble recruiting and retaining highly qualified professionals.
 

MiddleGround

Well-Known Member
Isn't it the outrageous rent costs that keep the smaller establishments from surviving? The chain restaurants can afford them.
 

BernieP

Resident PIA
Vrai likes to go to this Italian place when we head to northern NJ. Pasta course is family style. The salad is escarole and it's already dressed. Don't ask for ranch or the server will probably bop you in the head. No reservations. You don't get a table until your entire party is there. Cash only. No dessert menu. Wines are ordered as red or white, don't order chardonnay or merlot. Almost no parking available. Yet the place is always packed. Chicken Savoy is their featured entree. People drive for miles to get it.

Belmont Tavern menu
In Italy restaurants aren't fancy, it's meant to be joyous occasion with friends and family. Snobbery not permitted.
The menu is the regular items, seasonal or daily aren't printed up, they just put them on a board or your server tells / shows you what is there.
Simplicity, it's not like a Greek diner even if the menu is a couple of pages. That's because the dishes are divided into appetizers, soup, salad, main dishes (pasta, beef, chicken, fish, etc).

Wine doesn't come in a bottle, it comes in a carafe and they get it in big jugs :)
Barberra is probably more common ins some areas than Chianta. We've just been sold on the basket. as being all Italians drink.

LOL at the cash only, same thing in Little Italy all over, mom and pop don't take plastic.
But the prices are good and so is the food

Best mussels ever, South Philly Bar & Grill. Right at the intersection were Gino's and Pat's are in South Philly.
The broth alone is to die for.
 

BernieP

Resident PIA
Georgetown has a few places that are interesting (Italian). Look like a hole in the wall, but the owner is your host and if you look at the menu and he senses some issue, he will tell you not to worry, just tell me what you would like, we have all the ingredients, we will cook it they way you like it.

I tend to trust the chef.
 

mitzi

Well-Known Member
This time it was not the location, but the owner. He has a track record of opening a restaurant, having a good 3-5 year run then shutting it down and selling it off. Then in a couple of years he'll re open a new one and do the same thing. Since 1996 I think he has had at least 4 restaurants that he has operated in this fashion.

Now "Happy Seafood" will not last 2 years.
You're right. I know people that know him.
 

BernieP

Resident PIA
Isn't it the outrageous rent costs that keep the smaller establishments from surviving? The chain restaurants can afford them.
I'm going to say (guess) most chains own the building so rent escalation isn't an issue. But they want their outlets, whether it's a franchise or corporate, to make a profit and that includes "rent" on the buildings. Nothing is free, maybe reduced in price, but not free.

For the independents who rent, when the landlord bumps the rent that can be the straw that breaks the back.
All depends on how well they are doing. Cafe D Artist didn't stay in business for as long as it did because their rent didn't go up.
They were making money. The Chef didn't get out because he was going broke, he got out because it was time for him to retire.
The next place folded because of their operation, not a rent increase.
 

BernieP

Resident PIA
This time it was not the location, but the owner. He has a track record of opening a restaurant, having a good 3-5 year run then shutting it down and selling it off. Then in a couple of years he'll re open a new one and do the same thing. Since 1996 I think he has had at least 4 restaurants that he has operated in this fashion.

Now "Happy Seafood" will not last 2 years.
My understanding is a "Good" 3 to 5 year run is a success by restaurant industry standards.
Haven't really done the research, but I've heard a lot of big name chefs sell or close places so they can freshen things up.
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
He/they (Mike and Robyn) have owned:

Charlotte Hall House of Ribs
The River's Edge (Benedict)
Leonardtown Grille - which was purchased by the same group that owns OTP (IIRC)
Bottom of the Hill
He and his partner George were going to lease/operate the new restaurant we were planning to build in the Swann's complex back in 1996. They actually did take over operation of the outside bar and the BBQ shack in advance of that. House of Ribs was really rocking at that point in time.
 

tipsymcgee

Active Member
A friend shared their FB page. Happy Times Seafood with a location in Baltimore. https://www.facebook.com/Happytimeseafood

Mike and Robyn's MO, and it's a fine one, was taking over places that were heading out or closed up, make minimal changes to the layout and kitchen to keep costs down, and work hard to make work and get to a selling point. All their restaurants I believe were places previously in operation, no new build out and strings. We played softball at House of Ribs years ago and it was definitely hopping. Then a buyer came along.
 

kom526

They call me ... Sarcasmo
A friend shared their FB page. Happy Times Seafood with a location in Baltimore. https://www.facebook.com/Happytimeseafood

Mike and Robyn's MO, and it's a fine one, was taking over places that were heading our of closed up, make minimal changes to the layout to keep costs down, and work hard to make work and get to a selling point. All their restaurants I believe were places previously in operation, no new build out and strings. We played softball at House of Ribs years ago and it was definitely hopping. Then a buyer came along.
I don't think they ever re fitted a kitchen in any of their ventures.
 

Grumpy

Well-Known Member
A friend shared their FB page. Happy Times Seafood with a location in Baltimore. https://www.facebook.com/Happytimeseafood

Mike and Robyn's MO, and it's a fine one, was taking over places that were heading out or closed up, make minimal changes to the layout and kitchen to keep costs down, and work hard to make work and get to a selling point. All their restaurants I believe were places previously in operation, no new build out and strings. We played softball at House of Ribs years ago and it was definitely hopping. Then a buyer came along.
Weren't they involved with Rivers Edge in Benedict at one time??
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
I don't think they ever re fitted a kitchen in any of their ventures.
They were very involved in the design of the new kitchen and restaurant that we were going to build in Swanns', but they were investing a very minimal amount of their own money. George rented a limo and we all went to Suicide Bridge to meet the owners of that and thouroughly check out their amazing restaurant. We borrowed a lot of ideas from that place and ended up hiring the kitchen designer that they used.

We did have a couple awesome "Swann's employees and regulars" versus "House of Ribs employees and regulars" softball games back then too.
 

Grumpy

Well-Known Member
Yes they ran it as River's Edge before selling, and the next or following owner is where the fire occurred.
That's what I thought, ran into Robyn when the Irish(?, now a 4Eyes or eyeglass place) place opened 5 or 6 yrs ago and wondered where she ended up after that. Used to eat at River's Edge almost weekly back when she was there.
 
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