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News Maryland Anne Arundel County Glen Burnie

Snyder's Willow Grove poised to return to Arundel restaurant scene

The Snyder family considers itself pretty good at "whipping restaurants back into shape."

They've done it several times in recent years when flooding caused temporary closures of the family's Snyder's Willow Grove restaurant, and they're planning to do it when they reopen late next month.

But when Snyder's Willow Grove opens this time, it won't be at the familiar Hammonds Ferry Road location in Linthicum Heights but at a new one about a mile and a half away.

"The family doesn't want to give up the restaurant business," said manager Kim Snyder, daughter of owner Vernon Snyder. "We're still alive and kicking."

She said the family signed a lease Tuesday to rent a new location for the restaurant in Burwood Plaza on Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard, and hope to open by late September. The new location is technically in Glen Burnie, but just across the street from Linthicum.

"It's very exciting," she said.

"We're delighted they're staying in the area," said Fran Schmidt, CEO of the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. The family's restaurant, he said, has been "a place people can go, they know the food is good, they know the service is good."

A storm April 30 flooded the restaurant's previous location for the fourth time in recent years. Water got into the dining rooms and first floor, and the owners announced that the facility was closed for good.

"I just can't go back in this building again," Vernon Snyder, 78, said in May. His parents, George "Bumps" and "Sis" Snyder, had opened the restaurant 77 years ago.

Since the closure, members of the community have been waiting to see what would happen to the restaurant that many frequented for a Sunday meal or family get-together, Kim Snyder said.

"People want us to come back. I think that's our biggest drive," said Snyder, who grew up in Linthicum Heights and said her whole family is from there. "We want people to come back to what they know."

"I think it says a lot that the community has been actively watching this and the rumors have been flying," Schmidt said. "You can tell the community wants Snyder's to reopen."

Vernon Snyder runs the restaurant with his wife, Helen, his brother Ellsworth, his son Vernon Jr. and Kim. Many of their 60 employees have been without work since the closure, and Kim Snyder said they hope to bring most of them back.

The restaurant is taking a space in the middle of the plaza previously occupied by another eatery. The space is about 4,500 square feet — smaller than the previous building, but the Snyders won't have to worry about flooding.

"We're going to higher ground," Snyder said.

"I think [Snyder's] will be a good addition," said Debbie O'Brien, owner of the Bright Star Child Development Center, which has been in the plaza for eight years and is next to the restaurant site

There are other dine-in restaurants in the plaza, but the space Snyder's will occupy has been vacant for at least a year, O'Brien said. When families pick up their children from the center, they often go to a restaurant in the plaza, so she thinks Snyder's presence will be a good thing.

"I think it's really going to work for us," Snyder said. "We might get more exposure to people who didn't know where we were."

The new start is exciting and a bit scary for the family, and Snyder acknowledges that the closing in April "could have been the end."

"Just continuing is a wonderful thing."

dmking@baltsun.com

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