New restaurant chain to offer video of patrons

MARYLAND WATCH

October 28, 1995

The head of Black Entertainment Television plans to launch a chain of entertainment-themed restaurants in Prince George's County.

BET Soundstage, a 360-seat restaurant featuring American cuisine, is scheduled to open next fall in Largo, said Robert L. Johnson.

It will become the anchor establishment in a "restaurant park" being developed by the Rouse Co. at Landover and Lottsford roads, just north of USAir Arena, he said.

Video cameras in the restaurant will put diners on screen, if they want, and allow for more interactive dining. When BET Soundstages open elsewhere, diners in different restaurants will be able to talk to each other, Mr. Johnson said.

Mr. Johnson said he will target markets in suburbs and small cities where the black middle class lacks adequate venues for dining, entertainment and spending disposable income.

"When people come out to Prince George's County, they're looking for better schools, better homes, better quality of life," he said at a news conference Thursday in Upper Marlboro. "We thought we would take our entertainment to where the market is."

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