- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 6, 2004

A Midwest restaurant is coming to the Washington and Baltimore market. Redrock Canyon Grill has three locations slated for the area: one in Centreville, which will open next week, and two in Gaithersburg and Silver Spring opening later in the year.

Plans call for at least 10 restaurants in the area, with two to three locations opening each year, said Mike Sipes, chief operating officer of Columbia, Md.-based Blue Ridge Restaurant Group, which manages the restaurants.

Redrock Canyon serves American food with a bold, spicy flavor. The menu includes wood-fired rotisserie chicken, wood-grilled beef tenderloin, stuffed poblano and millionaire’s shrimp.

Redrock Canyon has two locations, in Wichita, Kan., and Oklahoma City. The 7,000-square-foot restaurant, which includes an exhibition kitchen, has 240 seats, an outside patio and about 100 employees.

No beach blues

Ocean City had about a 23 percent increase in visitors during Memorial Day weekend, compared with the same rainy weekend last year. Officials said they had 242,286 persons at the beach resort over the weekend.

“We’re off to a good start,” said Donna Abbott, a spokeswoman for the Ocean City Department of Tourism. “If Mother Nature pulls through for us, we anticipate a fantastic summer.”

Last year, Ocean City, which is about a three-hour trip from Washington, was hit hard with a soggy spring and a rainy Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to the summer season.

Looking for winners

Choice Hotels International is giving away two grand prize trips to Athens for the 2004 Summer Olympics as part of its “Wake Up a Winner” promotion. The Silver Spring hotel franchiser kicks off the sweepstakes today.

Visitors to the company’s Web site, choicehotels.com, can enter a drawing to win a trip for two to Athens, Rome and London, complete with airfare, hotel accommodations and $10,000 spending money. The two Athens trips, worth $30,000 each, will be awarded on July 15.

Choice also is giving away two trips to national park sites, which will include airfare, hotel stay and $5,000 spending money. That drawing will take place Sept. 15.

In addition, guests at any of the eight Choice Hotel brands will get “scratch and win” cards with prizes ranging from 1 million Delta SkyMiles and 100,000 Choice Privileges points to discounts off future stays and digital cameras. The game cards will be distributed through Aug. 29.

Retail rummage

• Online sales jumped to $114 billion last year, a 51 percent increase from 2002, says a study by Shop.org and Forrester Research.

• Harley-Davidson of Maryland has relocated and expanded in Elkridge. The franchise has moved from a 10,000-square-foot shop to a 30,000-square-foot building that houses a showroom, accessory store, repair shop and training facility.

• Lowe’s will anchor the Riverton Commons Shopping Center in Front Royal, Va. The 160,000-square-foot home improvement store is expected to open in late 2005. Asadoorian Retail Solutions in the District represented Lowe’s in the transaction.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884.Retail & Hospitality runs every other week.

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