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Outback Steakhouse opens for business in Hagerstown

September 24, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

The Outback Steakhouse opened Monday night to an expected crowd of about 750 to 1,000 customers, proprietor John Staub said.

Staub said so far the community has been supportive of the new restaurant, one of a half-dozen steakhouses in town.

"I've never seen anything quite like it," he said.

Staub said the restaurant was preparing for the large crowd on opening night with three days of mock service, which ran restaurant employees through practice rounds of serving free food to family, friends and restaurant suppliers.

The restaurant was overstaffed both in the service area and in the kitchen on opening night, he said.

Staub said 23 servers and waitstaff were on hand Monday, each covering one to two table sections, and 18 to 36 cooks and kitchen staff were working in the back of the house, at least twice as many as on a normal night.

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"Besides prepping and getting ready, it's business as usual," he said.

He said the Hagerstown restaurant is the 19th Outback to open in Maryland and the third to open in the Tri-State area. Other Outback restaurants are in Frederick, Md., and Martinsburg, W.Va.

The restaurant has 111 employees, he said.

Outback will have seating for more than 200 people, a bar area, a call-ahead service to check on waiting time and a take-away curbside service, he said.

Staub said the company decided to build a restaurant in Hagerstown based on demographics, population and population growth in Hagerstown and surrounding areas.

The restaurant is at 240 Railway Lane next to the Holiday Inn Express near Valley Mall in Hagerstown.

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