- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2002

Owners of Sam & Harry's hope to sink their teeth into the Baltimore market. The upscale steakhouse chain, with locations in Tysons Corner and the District, is eyeing the now-vacant Planet Hollywood spot at Baltimore's Inner Harbor as a possible location for its newest concept: Harry's Tap Room.
Michael Sternberg, co-owner of Sam & Harry's, says the company has signed a letter of intent with the Rouse Co., which owns the space, but a lease has not yet been signed.
The first location of the new upscale casual steakhouse concept is already scheduled to open in December in Clarendon. The 9,800-square-foot restaurant will have about 100 employees.
The Baltimore location would be the concept's second site with an estimated opening in March 2003, Mr. Sternberg says. Planet Hollywood closed its doors in September.
Harry's was actually a part of the Tysons Corner Sam & Harry's restaurant. Despite the popularity of the casual dining concept, the room was closed down to accommodate the high demand for Sam & Harry's space, Mr. Sternberg says.
Harry's will offer lunch ranging from $10 to $12 per person and dinner at around $25 per person. A taste of the menu includes filets and mussels prepared 15 different ways.
Mr. Sternberg says the company has been looking to expand into the Baltimore market but the "market for fine dining was limited."
The same is true in other large markets such as New York and Chicago where steakhouse staples such as Morton's of Chicago, the Palm and Ruth's Chris Steak House dominate. In addition, those markets usually have their own home-grown steakhouse hot spots, like Sam & Harry's here in Washington.
Competition is high and "there's a loyal following," Mr. Sternberg says. "Breaking in is tough."
Harry's Tap Room, however, fits right in between Outback Steakhouse and Morton's.
"That's not a niche anyone has filled yet," Mr. Sternberg says.

Fly away stress
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will get a feel for stress-free traveling beginning Thursday when an Annapolis massage company opens shop at Pier C.
Long waits at the airport caused by security and flight cancellations and delays are a good thing for Destination Relaxation & On-Site Massage, which will have two message therapy chairs and a cart full of massage-related body and beauty products, says Laurie Sears, president of the company.
At a cost of $15 per 10-minute increments, airline passengers waiting for their flight can get a neck, shoulder, back, head and/or arm massage. No oils are used and the massage is done right through the client's clothes.
Destination Relaxation, which usually has its 30 or so contracted massage therapists travel to offices, trade shows and health fairs, has another location at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Ms. Sears has been pursuing the opportunity to open in area airports for more than two years.
The BWI location, which has four chairs, has quadrupled in sales since opening in July 2001, Ms. Sears says.
The busiest days at BWI could bring as many as 60 clients to the chairs, depending on the duration of their massages.
Ms. Sears hopes to open a location in Washington Dulles International Airport soon.

New openings
Prince George's Plaza has added several new stores including Shaw's Jewelers, Lucaya, which carries trendy apparel for young women and teens and Technicolor Salon and Spa, which offers skin care, massage and body treatments and nail, hair and makeup services.
In addition, Lady Foot Locker, Radio Shack and Dynamic Menswear have undergone extensive store remodeling and long-time tenant Plaza Florists expanded and relocated. Prince George's Plaza, which is anchored by Hecht's and JC Penney, is 93 percent leased.
Gourmet burrito and tacos will be served up in Chevy Chase beginning June 14 when Chipotle opens another location at 4471 Willard Ave. Currently there are more than a dozen Chipotle restaurants in the Washington area.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884 or at ddemarco@washingtontimes.com. Retail & Hospitality appears every other Monday.


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