RE: Baltimore/Lex Market/Camden Yards/7/28
Thu, 08/2/07 1:30 AM
I work about 1 mile from G&M. Read in a local paper that they're planning a 2 million dollar restoration/upgrade/whatever over the next 8 months or so. From hometownannapolis.com:
G&M Restaurant to get $2 million makeover : Eatery popular for crab cakes to add lounge, waiting area
By GRANT HUANG, Staff Writer
The crab cakes at G&M Restaurant in Linthicum have aged gracefully over the past three decades, but the facilities haven't.
The storefront is faded and dusty, the kitchen painfully cramped and the dining areas frequently so packed that lines form outside for up to an hour at a time.
To address these deficiencies, the restaurant began a $2 million makeover this week, which will add 2,000 square feet of space for a new lounge, bathrooms, waiting area and a larger kitchen. Other areas will be remodeled and the facade will be overhauled, said George Ieromonahos, manager and part owner.
Though contractors are already busy measuring among the throngs of lunchtime patrons, major construction and demolition won't start until late September.
"We see about 2,000 people a day," Mr. Ieromonahos said. "We don't want to inconvenience any customers."
That's why G&M is planning to stay open during the entire process, which will be completed in three phases over the next six to eight months.
The project will be funded internally, with no outside loans or investments, said Mr. Ieromonahos, who bought the business with partner John Zoulis in 1993.
"G&M has been very successful and very tightly run over the last 15 years," he said.
He praised his entire staff, many of them longtime veterans, for the restaurant's popularity.
The G&M building belonged to Michael N. Stavlas, one of the restaurant's founders, until Mr. Ieromonahos and partners acquired it in 2001.
The first phase will see the addition of the new lounge, bathrooms and waiting area, which Mr.
Ieromonahos hopes will reduce the number of customers who have to wait outside. During the second phase, the kitchen will be expanded and moved to the approximate center of the restaurant. The last phase will consist of remodeling the current lounge and banquet rooms, Mr. Ieromonahos said.
Customers welcomed news of the improvements.
"I think it's fantastic," said John Fendley, a Millersville resident who said he's been a G&M patron for 30 years. "My wife and I, we'd love to come by every time we're in the area, but you just can't get in sometimes."
Dick Lyons of Arbutus, who said he's been going to G&M as long as he can remember, agreed.
"It's going to be great," he said. "I know (the owners) have been wanting to do this for a long time."
The current G&M building has 8,000 square feet of space, with another 6,000 square feet of space in the building next door. That structure is used mainly to prepare and store food, though it also houses crab cakes for shipping around the country, Mr. Ieromonahos said.
It's a sign of the restaurant's relentless growth; though owned by G&M, the preparation building had been leased out to several businesses, including a florist's shop, a doctor's office and a mortgage company.
"We had to tell them to leave," said Mr. Ieromonahos. "We just needed more space."
Fortunately, the restaurant's faded exterior and crowded interior have done little to stem the constant flow of customers.
"People love this place," said Marty Williams, a floor manager at G&M that's been with the restaurant for 23 years. "It doesn't deter them, the building."
But, odd as it may seem, G&M's popularity might actually be hindering its growth, in the larger picture.
"Parking is the biggest issue here," Mr. Ieromonahos said. "That's the reason we don't really advertise. Why do it? To bring more people down here, where they can't find any place to park?"
He estimated about 15 parking spaces will be obstructed temporarily over the course of the renovation. Expanding the parking lot itself is still an issue under discussion with county officials, Mr. Ieromonahos said.
But even parking hassles are unlikely to stop regulars from stopping by, Mr. Lyons said.
"I've been to places that have been really run down but have great food," he said. "If you have great food, people will come out. The proof is in the business."