Rudys' 2900 wants liquor laws changed so it can close for lunch

January 26, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

The owners of Rudys' 2900 in Finksburg have asked local lawmakers to change Carroll liquor laws to allow the restaurant to close for lunch, a meal that has not been profitable.

The elegant restaurant on Route 140 near Route 91 never has done a brisk lunch business, co-owner Rudolph Speckamp said.

But the establishment, popular with residents throughout the Baltimore area, does well at dinner time. Rudys' has the third-highest gross sales of Carroll restaurants with liquor licenses, said liquor board Administrator J. Ronald Lau.

Liquor board records show Rudys' gross sales in 1992, the most recent year for which numbers are available, were about $1 million. Eighty-one percent of that amount came from food sales.

Legislation drafted by County Attorney Charles W. Thompson Jr. would create a new liquor license for Rudys' and other restaurants that want to serve only one evening meal at least six days a week.

Current law says restaurants with Class B liquor licenses must serve two meals a day during the week and one meal a day on weekends.

Restaurants with the new liquor license, which would be called Class BR, would not be allowed to serve alcohol to people who are not dining and would not be allowed to sell alcohol for carry out.

Del. Richard N. Dixon, a District 5A Democrat, said he will work for the change during the current General Assembly session. He said it's important that legislators help Rudys' because of the restaurant's economic impact on Carroll. Rudys' draws many out-of-county customers, he said.

Changes in county laws must be approved by the General Assembly.

This is the second time Rudys' owners have asked to change county liquor law, Mr. Lau said. In 1988-89, then state Sen. Raymond E. Beck Sr., a District 5 Republican, and Mr. Dixon worked to change the law so that Rudys' did not have to serve two meals a day on weekends.

Mr. Speckamp said he and co-owner Rudolf Paul were among seven or eight restaurant owners requesting the change then.

Rudys', open since 1983, does not serve lunch on Saturdays, Mr. Speckamp said. The restaurant opens at 4 p.m. Sundays.

The sluggish economy has forced him to look closely at what meals are most profitable, he said.

"The lunch trade is being supported by businesses, and there are very few businesses in the area," Mr. Speckamp said.

Dinner accounts for about 90 percent of Rudys' business, he said.

If the change is approved, Mr. Speckamp said, Rudys' might close for lunch during the summer when business at noon is the slowest.

Liquor board Chairman Russell Mayer said the three-member board agreed to support the new liquor license. The board does not intend to impose a restriction on the number of restaurants that may obtain the new license, he said.

"I hope no one gets the idea that this is going to be a cabaret. It's just a restaurant," Mr. Mayer said.

Mr. Lau said he does not expect many restaurants to apply for the new license because most restaurants have a good lunch trade. The new license would cost $2,000 a year -- $500 more than the current restaurant license, he said.

Restaurants with the new license would have to have at least 50 seats and their buildings would have to be valued by tax assessors at $50,000 or more.

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