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Fire station housing restaurant

February 13, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

FUNKSTOWN - While the smell of food drifting from the rear of the Funkstown Fire Hall isn't unusual, it's who is doing the cooking that's attracting attention these days.

The Firehouse Grill opened Jan. 8 under the joint ownership of two couples - Larry and Robin Iseminger and Bob "Buddy" Rodgers and his wife, Kim.

"I just got tired of working for other people," said Robin Iseminger.

The couples are renting the space from the fire company. Food is served Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"We won't be open on the weekends," Robin Iseminger said.

That's because the fire company often has chicken barbecues and other food-related fundraisers on the weekends and needs to use the kitchen, which it now shares with the for-profit restaurant.

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Customers can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the tables and chairs or they can come in for take-out food. The Firehouse Grill staff also delivers, which is a popular option, especially at lunch time.

"We bought our own microwave, freezer, toaster, cash register and other equipment," Robin Iseminger said.

The restaurant and the fire company share the space and much of the other equipment.

The restaurant has turned out to have a culinary benefit to the fire company members.

"The personnel love it - they can just come downstairs to eat," Robin Iseminger said.

The Firehouse Grill extends a 10 percent discount to all fire and rescue personnel and to police officers. Once the restaurant starts to make a profit, a percentage will be donated to the fire company, Robin Iseminger said.

The menu includes sandwiches of all varieties including burgers, steamers, hot and cold subs, chicken strips, and a variety of tuna, chicken and egg salad sandwiches.

Side dishes include soups, fries, cole slaw and macaroni salad. Desserts are available along with hot and cold drinks.

Breakfast is available all day except between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. A daily lunch special costs $5.75.

Robin Iseminger said she is usually at the Grill by 7 a.m. and often stays until 8 p.m. "We're busier than I thought we'd be," she said.

"Kim works a lot of hours too," Robin Iseminger said. Melody Hill works full time while Denise Binkley works part time.

Robin's husband, Larry, works full time at the Maryland State Fire Marshal's office and is president of the Funkstown Fire Co.

Buddy Rodgers is a member of the Funkstown Town Council.

Once things settle in, plans are to do some catering, mostly on weekends.

Anyone wishing to phone in an order may call 301-714-0712. The number to fax in an order is 301-714-0713.

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