Fire postpones opening of Glen Burnie restaurant

September 02, 1992|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

A fire last month will cause a one-week delay in the planned opening of an enormous seafood restaurant and market in Glen Burnie.

Mo's Fisherman's Seafood Factory is set to open the week of Sept. 20, at the site of the former LA's Restaurant and Bar on Ritchie Highway, about a fifth of a mile north of Eighth Avenue.

Mo Manocheh, who built a career in seafood in the Baltimore area since 1971, has put about $1.3 million into the high-visibility location between a Sizzler and Dunkin' Donuts.

The Aug. 21 fire caused about $25,000 in damage to the building's roof and facade and knocked out an air-conditioning unit, said Lt. Robert H. Kornmann of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. John Heymann, 33, of Catonsville, was treated for first-degree burns and smoke inhalation at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The fire began when the contractor slipped while tarring the roof during remodeling, knocking over a torch that ignited the roof, Lieutenant Kornmann said. The fire was extinguished in less than 30 minutes.

"It was one section of the roof. It was a lot of water," said Mr. Manocheh. "I got lucky."

He said he brought in additional crews to minimize the delay in opening the restaurant, which he had hoped to launch around Sept. 15.

The approximately 12,000 square-foot restaurant will provide seating for about 300 and a private room with seating for 75 to 100. About 1,000 square feet at the rear -- facing Crain Highway -- will be devoted to a fish and seafood market. The carryout menu will feature steamed crabs.

"I'm going to have everything in seafood, like the other restaurants I have -- but bigger," said Mr. Manocheh. He owns two restaurants, the Fisherman's Wharf in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and the Fisherman's Exchange in Towson; the Joppa Seafood Market, a fish market and carryout in Towson; and the Joppa Quality Seafood Market, a wholesale fish and seafood market in Jessup.

He said he is now hiring approximately 75 managers, cooks, bakers, waiters and others to staff Mo's, which he plans to keep open seven days a week.

The menu's main dishes will be largely fresh seafood and steaks. The restaurant will feature an oyster bar, a select-your-own lobster tank, and a fresh juice and dessert bar, Mr. Manocheh said. The smaller dining room will be available for private parties.

Mr. Manocheh said he plans to keep dinner prices below $15 -- lower than at the Fisherman's Wharf.

Renovations, which Mr. Manocheh estimated will run between $350,000 and $400,000, include a white brick exterior and large windows. Interior walls are being painted light aqua above a pale wood wainscoting.

Last November, Mr. Manocheh bought what was then a 9,400 square-foot restaurant for $965,000 at public auction after the former owner, Glen Burnie Realty Inc., defaulted on its loan. The property was leased to two brothers who established LA's.

Decorated with palm trees and neon, LA's had opened in December 1990 and became such an overnight success that young people lined up outside to dance.

But LA's 10-year lease did not transfer with the property, and it closed about two months ago.

Mr. Manocheh said he plans to work steadily at the Glen Burnie restaurant for six months to ensure that the seafood "factory" runs smoothly. He hopes to open another restaurant in Bel Air.

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