Husband-wife team cooks up an eatery Eat in or carry out: Tim and Melinda Euler spent six months studying demographic surveys before deciding to launch their restaurant in Hampstead, in northern Carroll County.

January 17, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Opening a family-style restaurant with a gourmet touch made perfect sense to Tim Euler, a 1989 graduate of the Baltimore Culinary Institute.

All he needed was a business partner and a location.

He found the partner -- and married her -- and, after starting a family, Tim and Melinda Euler figured it would be ideal to raise 4-month-old Bethany in Westminster and open Timothy's Restaurant, Carryout and Catering in Hampstead, a rapidly growing town in northern Carroll County.

"I learned to love cooking helping my father in the kitchen when I was 3 or 4 years old," Mr. Euler said. "I had spent summers working in various restaurants in Ocean City and had worked my way through 2 1/2 years at Loyola College, working at various restaurants. I just always wanted to open my own place someday."

He had met Melinda in Rehoboth Beach, Del., where her family owned and operated Oscar's Cafe on the Green.

"My wife has had years of hands-on experience managing a restaurant, and, besides cooking, I've developed an interest in the marketing aspects of the business," he said.

The Eulers, both 29, opened Timothy's in November at the south end of Hampstead, across Route 30 from the entrance to the Black & Decker manufacturing complex.

They spent six months studying demographic surveys before deciding on the location, Mr. Euler said.

"We wanted to carve our own niche and be different from the other four or five restaurants in town," he said.

To that end, extensive planning went into the varied menu. The Eulers decided to offer inexpensive entrees, from meatloaf and spaghetti and meatballs ($7) to a hand-cut, 16-ounce porterhouse steak ($18).

Spinach fettuccine, chicken Oscar and shrimp, lobster and other seafood dishes were selected for gourmet appetites.

The Eulers wanted to appeal to old-guard Carroll Countians and to young suburbanites.

"And Melinda bakes all of our homemade desserts," Mr. Euler said, touting her Chocolate Decadence cake and Linzer tortes as two of the fancier offerings.

The Eulers plan to grow many of their own vegetables, spices and herbs.

"I'm very big on freshness," Mr. Euler said.

Timothy's is open for lunch anddinner, and for breakfast on weekends -- meaning Tim and Melinda often spend nearly 100 hours a week at work.

Bethany spends her days with her parents, napping in a crib set up in a rear office when not flashing an infant's alluring smile across the bright and cheery dining room.

The decor includes curtains made by Mrs. Euler, antique knickknacks, and wood and opaque glass block dividers. Linen tablecloths cover the tables.

To attract new business, Timothy's offers two-for-one entrees on Mondays and a prime rib and shrimp combination on Tuesdays.

"We do party catering, also," Mr. Euler said.

Naming the business after himself was risky, Mr. Euler said.

"I thought about not doing that for all of about five minutes," he said. "In this business, you can lose your reputation very quickly in the first couple of years, if you are not careful."

A few customers have suggested that the fare is overpriced, Mr. Euler said, but luncheon items such as a club sandwich or a "Belly Buster," a 10-ounce hamburger and french fries, cost less than $5.

"Within two years, we hope to expand, adding a bar and bistro area to complement our family-oriented dining room," he said.

Until last week's blizzard, Timothy's business was snowballing.

"The snow hurt everyone," Mr. Euler said. "You just have to move on."

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