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Chili's eyes site near mall in Hagerstown

November 08, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HALFWAY - A popular chain restaurant could open near Valley Mall by the end of 2008.

Representatives from a Chili's restaurant franchise appeared before the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County on Wednesday to ask for a liquor license, indicating their intent to open one of the restaurants next to Chuck E. Cheese's on Valley Mall Road.

Paul Truskey, director of finance for Chesapeake Foods, the company that owns the franchise rights to Chili's in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, said the restaurant would be the first Chili's in Washington County.

"We're concentrated around the D.C. area," he said. "We're expanding our development."

Truskey said Chesapeake Foods would like to open the 6,000-square-foot restaurant within the next 12 months.

Each Chili's restaurant employs about 120 people, said Tony Schembri, a Chili's spokesman. He was unable to provide the average wage.

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Mike Thompson, director of the Washington County Planning Department, said he has heard rumors about Chili's coming to Halfway, but Chesapeake Foods has not submitted a site plan to his office.

In addition to a site plan, Chesapeake Foods would have to show plans to the county engineering department, he said.

Because the local permit process wouldn't take nearly as long as it does in larger cities, and the roads and utilities are already in place, Thompson said it would be feasible to finish construction within the desired time frame.

"They won't have to start from scratch," he said.

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