A good day for pancakes

A good day for pancakes (Courtesy Pete's Grille, Facebook / February 13, 2014)

Here's a whole new twist on takeout: A restaurant owner who picks up customers at their homes, serves them a meal and takes them back home again.

Dave Stahl, the owner of Pete's Grille in Better Waverly, is not one to let a little snow -- or even a foot of it -- get in his way.

He started the trek from his Timonium home to the restaurant at 4 a.m. in his Subaru Outback and picked up a few snowbound employees on the way. 

That's when the idea occurred to him -- Why not pick up customers too?

Stahl posted the offer on the restaurant's Facebook page and wound up picking up a few dozen customers, most in groups of two or three.  He offered rides to people living within about eight blocks of the restaurant. 

"We were really busy today," he said.  "Our phone must have rung 100 times in the first hour, with people just checking to see if we were open."

Customers ordered omelettes and pancakes and "lots and lots of coffee," Stahl said. 

The restaurant offered free coffee to road crews, police and firefighters and anyone else "out there working for us," he said. 

The majority of people who took up Stahl on the ride were Johns Hopkins students who live in nearby Charles Village, he said.  Classes were canceled for the day, so students had plenty of time for a leisurely brunch.

"We're hoping Hopkins calls it off tomorrow, too, so they'll all be back again," he said.