The return of Ron's

July 09, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

HAGERSTOWN - The Duffer, the Golfer, fresh-roasted turkey and the Reuben with homemade dressing are coming back.

Friends Monty Jones and Michael Guessford expect to reopen the former Ron's Deli at 29 N. Burhans Blvd. as Always Ron's by the end of July.

The two are bringing back many of the popular sandwiches from when the restaurant was Ron's Deli, operated by Ron Stansbury, they said. Some of the waitresses who worked at Ron's for a long time also are returning.

"The word is out. People are excited," Guessford said. "Ron's is a part of downtown history."

So much so that the pair ended up changing the name of their venture from The Whistlestop to Always Ron's because everyone kept referring to it as Ron's.


The name incorporates Jones' business, Always Catering, which will move from Williamsport to operate out of the North Burhans Boulevard restaurant. That means the Meals on Wheels operation Jones helps with will operate out of the restaurant, too.

Jones said his other business, Byer's River City Market, will remain in Williamsport.

Stansbury, a former golf pro, opened Ron's in 1976. Before that, the business was Gallo's Tavern.

The deli became a popular eatery frequented by teachers, golfers, police officers and professionals, Guessford and Jones said.

The deli changed owners in 1988 and again in 2002 when it turned into the Old Pharmacy Caf & Soda Fountain, but that operation didn't last long.

"We just want to bring it back to Ron's Deli, the original Ron's," said Jones, 40.

Stansbury dropped off recipes for his original salads and sandwiches, such as the Duffer, Guessford and Jones said.

The Duffer consists of one-third of a pound of sirloin with cheese, topped with fried onions and Stansbury's wife's 999 dressing - similar to Thousand Island dressing - and served on grilled rye bread.

"I'm giving them the blessing. I'm excited for them," Stansbury said in a telephone interview Thursday from out of town.

Stansbury said the homemade fare should do well in Hagerstown and that Jones is a great cook.

Everything should taste the same as it did in the past since they have the recipes and know where to get the corned beef, Stansbury said.

Guessford and Jones will add some new items such as the Full Monty, an open-faced roasted pulled pork sandwich made from pigs roasted whole on site, Jones said.

In addition to the sandwiches and the sports atmosphere, Jones said he remembers the clientele and the clean atmosphere of Ron's.

"We hope to recapture that atmosphere and add to it with the high-quality food at an affordable price," Jones said.

Sandwiches will cost $3 to $7 and dinner entrees, from fried chicken to filet mignon, will cost $7 to $17, Jones said.

Jones, who has helped start numerous restaurants in the area, will operate the kitchen and catering business.

Guessford, 39, who until recently was activities director at Williamsport Retirement Village and Broadmore Assisted Living in Hagerstown, will oversee the dining room and bar.

The friends say they, along with fellow Williamsport resident and Byer's Stop 'n Go owner Mike Byers, bought the restaurant for $500,000 in June. They expect to invest $75,000 to $100,000 in renovating the restaurant and upgrading equipment.

Ron's, which used to have low lighting and dark paneling inside, will have a brighter look. Windows will be installed in the front wall, the interior decor will be oak and there will be new, brighter lighting.

The partners will reopen the patio and are creating a lobby area so customers don't have to stand near the bar to wait for someone to seat them.

The restaurant will be decorated with the partners' Hagerstown memorabilia, such as Great Hagerstown Fair ribbons, pictures and yearbooks.

The partners are considering having live music on holidays or special occasions.

The business is already taking bookings for the banquet hall. People may call 301-797-7887 to schedule bookings.

Once it opens, the restaurant's hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Monday through Saturday.

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