Bel Air residents will have another food option when an International House of Pancakes opens in Bel Air Plaza along Route 1 at the site most recently occupied by Marlin & Ray's.
A building permit was issued by the Bel Air Department of Public Works on Nov. 5 to "National Restaurants," said Chrissy Maullany, building permits clerk. Maullany said she didn't have any further information and did not know if any opening date has been set.
IHOP is set to move into a building, which was originally a Ruby Tuesday restaurant, one of the first chain-type restaurants to open in Bel Air. Ruby Tuesday closed and in October 2012, the town issued a building permit for Marlin & Ray's Seafood Restaurant, a subsidiary of Ruby Tuesday, Maullany said.
"The Marlin & Ray's went out of business a few months after they opened," Maullany said. "They were open less than a year."
Last January, in a second-quarter fiscal report, Ruby Tuesday Inc. announced the immediate closing of its 13 Marlin & Ray's restaurants spread throughout Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Bel Air site has been vacant since.
Bel Air Plaza is managed by Timonium based Hill Management Services, Inc. A company representative said via telephone Wednesday that the IHOP is expected to open in May.
Trish Heidenreich, director of economic development for the Town of Bel Air, said she does not believe the location of the stand-alone building has affected its turnover rate.
"It's definitely a really good location for a restaurant because there is a lot of traffic," Heidenreich said.
Other restaurants in Bel Air Plaza include Zen 16 Sushi Cafe and Deano's Pizza. The plaza also has a McDonald's. Taco Bell and Chili's are right across Route 1 in Bel Air Town Center.
Heidenreich said while location is a "very strong aspect of a businesses success," the success or failure of a restaurant depends on its corporate business structure.
"There's so many other factors that go into creating a successful business: price, quality, lightening, staff and management," she said. "If you have a friendly staff and people enjoy the atmosphere, they will keep coming back. All those elements have to meet to get return clientele."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun