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Vince's Pizza Express opens in downtown Hagerstown

Roberto Gonzalez wants to help revitalize downtown

March 20, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Vince's Pizza Express ribbon- cutting ceremony Wednesday. From left, Don Munson, Mia Gonzalez, Glenda Gonzalez, Juliana Albowicz, Brien Poffenberger, David Gysberts, owner Roberto Gonzalez, and Bianca Gonzalez.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

A restaurant owner who believes there is a lot of business opportunity in downtown Hagerstown joined with local and federal officials Wednesday afternoon to formally open his latest establishment — Vince’s Pizza Express.

Guests crowded into Roberto Gonzalez’s restaurant at 66 E. Franklin St., for a 4 p.m. ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the new eatery.

Mayor David S. Gysberts read a proclamation honoring Gonzalez for his investment in downtown and Julianna Albowicz, representative for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., presented Gonzalez with a senatorial certificate.

A representative from U.S. Rep. John Delaney’s office was also at the ceremony, as well as Brien Poffenberger, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Hagerstown City Council member Donald F. Munson, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman and other city officials.

Besides pizza, Vince’s Pizza Express also offers pasta, subs, salads and Mexican dishes. The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and the food is available to eat in, carry out or to be delivered.

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Gonzalez said he has started seven restaurants over the years, some of which he has sold. Gonzalez has operated a pizza shop on Main Street in Smithsburg for 26 years, which Washington County Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham frequented.

“Our family enjoyed so many nights in your restaurant. So thank you for bringing it closer to where we live now,” she said.

The crowd then moved outside to cut a ribbon.

After the ceremony, Gonzalez said he wants to help Hagerstown revitalize its downtown. Considering that prices on some downtown buildings are “crazy low,” Gonzalez said he thinks there is a lot of opportunity to launch successful businesses downtown.

Gonzalez said he also recently moved his real estate company to downtown Hagerstown. R.G. Realty at 113 South Potomac St., specializes in marketing multi-family buildings, Gonzalez said.

Because a pizza shop had been in the East Franklin Street building before, there were already some refrigeration units and restrooms in the building, which made it easier to launch the business, said Gonzalez, who opened the restaurant about three months ago.

“It was a great opportunity,” said Gonzalez, who added that he is leasing the space.

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