Ruby Tuesday plans Hopkins restaurant

First: Ruby Tuesday, which has five restaurants in metropolitan Baltimore, will open its first in the city in the spring.

August 03, 1999|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Ruby Tuesday will open its first restaurant in Baltimore in the spring, becoming an anchor retailer at Hopkins Square in Charles Village, the project's developer and the Tennessee chain said yesterday.

The restaurant chain, which has 19 locations in Maryland and about 400 nationwide, will join Xando coffee-and-cocktail bar at 31st and Charles streets across from the Johns Hopkins University.

The Cordish Co. of Baltimore and the university are developing a 30,000-square-foot retail portion of the Homewood Apartments dormitory and office building in hopes of serving university students as well as neighborhood residents and employees.

Xando opened late last year, and construction is under way for a Record and Tape Traders and Tenpachi hair salon, which has another location in Dupont Circle in Washington.

The university setting will represent a return to its roots for Ruby Tuesday, which opened its first site at the University of Tennessee in 1972, said Scott Evans, regional development director for the restaurant chain in Maryville, Tenn.

"We have for quite a bit of time wanted to get into the downtown Baltimore area, and this opportunity came to us through the Cordish Co. and we jumped at it," Evans said.

The chain, which has both corporately owned and franchised restaurants, already has outlets in downtown Towson, Owings Mills Town Center, White Marsh Mall, Marley Station and Bel Air.

The Charles Village restaurant will be slightly smaller, at 4,300 square feet, than the typical 5,500-square-foot Ruby Tuesday. Unlike most mall locations, but like the Towson store, the new Ruby Tuesday will have a separate bar and a restaurant that will seat about 125. The bar and restaurant also will have outdoor patio seating.

The patio will be at street level and front on Charles Street, with the dining area, with its trademark Tiffany-style lamps and salad bar, on a separate level, a half-story up, Evans said.

The Cordish Co. in 1997 was brought in to develop the retail portion of the six-story brick Homewood Apartments.

One-hundred-nineteen student apartments are on the third to sixth floors of the building while the first and second floors contain office space. The university had wanted to attract well-known retailers to serve both students and the neighborhood.

Xando, which is a coffee house during the day and a bar at night, opened in December, with seating for more than 100 and another 50 outside. It is part of a chain based in Hartford, Conn.

Tenpachi, which will lease 1,000 square feet, will open later this month. Record and Tape Traders is slated to open a 2,500-square-foot store by mid-to-late September.

Reed Cordish, a Cordish Co. vice president, said he is working with other potential tenants to fill two more spaces. A national tenant is close to signing a lease to open a 4,300-square-foot store, leaving another 2,800 square feet to be leased.

Of the larger store, Cordish would say only that "its entire focus will be on people who live in the surrounding area."

Cordish is considering several options for the smaller space, such as a small restaurant or bar or another retail use, he said.

"We have significant interest in it and continue to talk to the community and figure out what would round out the project," Cordish said. "We're providing a gathering place for students and the community that was sorely lacking. There needed to be more restaurants and more focal points."

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