By CALEB CALHOUN
5:52 PM EDT, September 25, 2012
The Chesapeake Bay and the Shenandoah Valley are now connected in downtown Hagerstown through food.
A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony were held Tuesday for 28 South, a restaurant that opened Sept. 5 at 28 S. Potomac St., between Antietam and Washington streets. Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and other city officials attended.
The restaurant serves popular dishes related to the Chesapeake Bay and Shenandoah Valley, owner E. Jay Zuspan III said.
“With the ham we put on pizzas, we’re using Virginia ham versus a buffet ham,” Zuspan said. “We’re also using all Maryland crabs.”
With 15 employees, Zuspan said his restaurant serves contemporary American food, including artisan pizzas, burgers and fresh dinner entrees. Steak and seafood also are on the menu.
Zuspan, 28, is from the Shenandoah Valley and has worked as a chef for six years. He said he began plans to open his own restaurant in the spring.
“Having worked long hours as a chef in the industry, I said I might as well do it for myself,” Zuspan said. “Things just kind of fell into place.”
With city officials in attendance Tuesday, Bruchey issued a letter of recognition from the City of Hagerstown to Zuspan, recognizing the new business, congratulating him and thanking him for opening a business in downtown Hagerstown.
“The dynamics of downtown are changing, and I think (the restaurant) has a great chance of success,” Bruchey said. “This is my kind of food. Give me a steak with a baked potato and salad, and I could eat that five days a week.”
Zuspan said he is interested in helping draw more people downtown. Part of that might include bringing in live bands.
“Downtown is never going to change if people don’t start investing in it,” he said. “We’d like to try to get people in downtown to start bouncing around.”
Other city residents attended the ceremony Tuesday, as well as other business owners.
Paul Deputy, 52, of Hagerstown, co-owner of The Gourmet Goat at 41 N. Potomac St., said 28 South “is a unique concept, and his food is delicious.”
“It’s a new business,” Deputy said. “People should give it a chance.”
Deputy said there is no competition between The Gourmet Goat and 28 South, even though they are in the same industry and down the street from each other.
“It’s a partnership, bringing more people downtown,” he said. “It’s very important that all businesses in downtown Hagerstown help support each other.”
Hagerstown resident Doreen Riss, a director at Walker Performing Arts at 58 E. Washington St., ate lunch at 28 South on Tuesday. She said more traffic in the area will benefit both businesses.
“We’re a new local business, and we wanted to support other local businesses downtown as well,” said Riss, 44. “The ingredients seem fresh, the menu seems appetizing and it looks great.”
“Dinner and a show works well,” she said. “The restaurant is bright, open and conveniently located to our facility.”
The restaurant is leasing the property from Demcore. It is open from 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, according to its website at www.28south.net. It is closed on Mondays.
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