For Randallstown residents the long wait for a promise to be fulfilled is finally over.
Some new Ruby Tuesday team members, a mostly minority staff of 95, gather in front of bar lounge area.
That promise, made nearly twenty years ago, by then County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger, was for a new, full-scale, national chain family restaurant along the seven mile stretch of Liberty Road.
Ruby Tuesdays Restaurant, located at 8731 Liberty Road (near Brenbrook and Liberty), opened its doors, Oct. 20, to a nearly packed restaurant, without one single advertisement, coupon or flyer ever being circulated.
According to General Manager David Thomas, “The demographics of the Randallstown area are such that our studies showed there was no need for those kinds on enticements or incentives at this point.” So they relied on word of mouth.
Indeed, first time customers Shain and David were witnessed sending out Facebook messages encouraging friends to patronize the new establishment.
The brightly lit 235 seat restaurant is sure to attract plenty of customers, hungry for the convenience and close, safe, family atmosphere.
Ruby Tuesday has hired 95 mostly young, local residents as team members, many of whom are new to the service industry and still require training.
The restaurant includes a sports bar with multiple television screens, a large lounge area decorated with several comfortable burgundy leather sofas, and upbeat, upscale music.
Such an opening would barely be news anywhere but Randallstown, which can legitimately claim to have some of the highest income and most well educated residents in Baltimore County
Randallstown is also an area known to have some of the most politically astute and active African- American voters in the State.
Nevertheless, this is big news in Randallstown. To understand why, one must know the lengthy history behind getting just one national franchise dine-in restaurant to locate there.
Nearly two decades ago amid clamor that Baltimore County government was not doing enough to attract businesses and other investors to Randallstown in the hope of raising the quality of life for its residents, Baltimore County developed a multiphase revitalization plan that called for the establishment of a community hub around the Intersection of Liberty Road and Old Court Road.
Discussions included the creation of more recreational options for youth, a major streetscape project, the attraction of two to three major retail operations to anchor three dying strip malls located near the Old Court intersection.
This would bring added services, provide a more upscale appearance to those shopping areas and provide jobs.
Most important and disturbing to many Randallstown residents was that they had to leave Randallstown for a dine-in experience with their families that other County residents take for granted, because there was not one Outback, TGIF Fridays, Applebees, or Ruby Tuesday or similar chain located anywhere along the seven mile stretch of Liberty Road.
A charrette was convened of some of Randallstown most prestigious and outspoken citizens. It met for months at Northwest Hospital discussing the revitalization of Randallstown’s hub.
An excited Randallstown then waited for the improvements to occur, but delays occurred instead with few answers provided about why.
Some of the delays occurred because of environment reasons that came to light only after a dry cleaners was closed and below ground contamination was found.
Then came confrontations with then-Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger over the use of imminent domain.
After clamoring for years about being neglected and the quality of life, some Randallstown residents did an about face on portions of the revitalization by opposing use of eminent domain to acquire Liberty Road properties that were mostly failing or under-utilized businesses at market prices.
Protests were organized and very vocal confrontations occurred with County officials in Randallstown and in Towson about forced takeovers.
Eventually the squabbles ended, and Randallstown first witnessed the building of a Community Center and YMCA pool in 2009, followed by a Home Depot, the arrival of a massive 24 hour Super Walmart, that brought hundreds of jobs, and now Ruby Tuesday.
New employee Everett Smith, who is not new to the service industry said, “I am really excited and delighted to have a chance to do work I enjoy close to home. I love the atmosphere here already, and I know people in this area are really going to support this place!”