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New owner transforms Log Cabin Inn

September 15, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - Jim Joy believes he has two of the toughest jobs in the world - custom home builder and restaurateur. But he said he is enjoying both despite their high customer-service demands.

The owner of the Log Cabin Inn since July 2004, Joy immediately threw himself into renovating both the building and its reputation. The steakhouse bar and grill reopened last November as a rustic and comfortable, but elegant, family restaurant.

"I took on one of the roughest places around and transformed it," Joy said.

The restaurant boasts a large dining room, a new smaller dining room with a fireplace, a bar area and an enclosed patio where entertainment acts sometimes perform.

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It all started last year when Joy, the owner of Prestigious Homes since 1994, dropped in to the Log Cabin Inn for a beer.

"It was still rough then, but it was a good building," Joy said.

With no restaurant experience, Joy talked to the previous owner and decided to buy the business. Built in 1938, the Log Cabin Inn was moved to its present location on Md. 615 when Interstate 70 came through the area in 1959.

"Back when it was built, it was a restaurant and inn with some little cabins around it," Joy said.

Originally, Joy's plan was to have a bar and hamburger place, but after the remodeling was done, it seemed to be more casually upscale, he said. The menu includes prime rib, steaks, fresh seafood, sandwiches, salads and appetizers. There also are desserts and many kinds of beverages.

While Joy is sole owner, his mother, Lois Joy, is the chief cook.

"Home cooking is her specialty, but she has also been a waitress all her life," Joy said.

His daughter, Stevie Marie Joy, 17, helps out and waits tables.

Jim Fear is the manager of the restaurant. He, too, has a construction background, which comes in handy when repairs are needed. There are two additional cooks and a number of waitresses, bringing the number of employees to 15.

"All the dining rooms are nonsmoking," Joy said.

There is a children's menu, which adds to the family atmosphere, he said.

When the doors opened at the new Log Cabin Inn 10 months ago, Joy said he noticed guys would come in alone for a beer to see if it was going to be the kind of place they would want to take their wives or girlfriends.

"The people of Hancock have been wonderful," Joy said. "I've heard nothing but good comments so far."

There are accommodations for private parties of 35 to 38 people. Groups even are inquiring about dinner meetings, Joy said.

"Weekends are starting to get very busy now that fall is coming," Joy said.

To reach the restaurant, take Exit 5 off Interstate 70 and go left on Md. 615 for one mile.

The restaurant's hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays from 3 to 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from noon to midnight, and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. It is closed Mondays.

For information or reservations, call 301-678-5670.

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