Restaurant seeks bigger slice of pie Ex-diner applying for liquor license

January 11, 1993|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

Seeking to serve liquor with a revamped menu in a changed atmosphere, Rocky Run Restaurant hopes to slice into the dining trade of the restaurant it faces in Marley Station Mall.

"We're not trying to be a nightclub, but we lose people who want to have a beer, a glass of wine or a drink with their dinner," said Bill Solem, general manager of Rocky Run. "We lose a lot of people to Ruby Tuesday."

Ruby Tuesday is across the hallway from what used to be Stash & Stella's diner and is now Rocky Run -- although many of the signs and other trappings that characterized Stash and Stella's remain. Ruby Tuesday has a license to serve beer, wine and liquor, including on Sunday -- the same kind of liquor license Rocky Run wants.

A manager at Ruby Tuesday said the restaurant -- the only one in the mall to serve liquor -- had no comment on the prospect of competition a few steps from its door.

Mr. Solem hopes to receive a license after tomorrow's hearing before the county Board of License Commissioners. That would set the stage for changes Mr. Solem would like to complete by March -- changes that would make his business similar to chain restaurants characterized by casual dining styles, such as Bennigan's, Ruby Tuesday and TGI Friday's.

Mr. Solem said he hopes this will be a prototype for a Rocky Run chain.

He said he would like to soften the 1950s diner atmosphere that characterized Stash & Stella's to include wood, plants and privacy partitions between booths. A bar would be added. More booths would replace most of the existing counter, which may slightly boost seating capacity.

The juke box would stay, but with music going into the 1970s. A casual dining menu would feature a wider variety of foods and unusual sauces. Waiters and waitresses would wear shirts with eclectic sayings. The 45-person staff would be increased to accommodate the changes and beef up service.

Noting that Ruby Tuesday is often crowded, Mr. Solem said he expects his reworked restaurant to get at least 50 percent more business.

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