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New Year, New Start: Bonnie's at the Red Byrd opens "Over the Hill" January 3!

New Year, New Start
Bonnie's at the Red Byrd opens "Over the Hill" January 3!
By Jennifer LB Leese

Shortly after the Red Byrd closed, after 53 years, Bonnie Hawker, bought it. On January 3, 2011, Bonnie's at the Red Byrd will have its grand opening! The restaurant is located at 19409 Shepherdstown Pike in Keedysville. With Bonnie's Country Kitchen in Lovettsville, Bonnie has 24 years experience in the restaurant business.
She's always loved the Keedysville area and enjoys the area's Civil War history. "When I was a kid, we used to come here and eat," Bonnie said. "This restaurant is just like the one I have in Lovettsville, except for it's bigger. Everything about the Red Byrd mirrors my restaurant there from the recycle bins in the back to the store beside us. There's just something about the place," she said. "I think I can make it what it was years ago. That's what I tried to do at my other place."
Bonnie is looking for old menus and calendars of the original Red Byrd so she can hang them in the hallway. If you have any of these items or know where she can locate them, please let her know.
From reading posts on the Red Byrd's Facebook page, Bonnie realizes that residents are attached to the restaurant. She can appreciate that. The restaurant is being renamed - but only slightly. It will go from Red Byrd Restaurant to Bonnie's at the Red Byrd. "I want the restaurant to be the Red Byrd - as it always has been," Bonnie stated. "I have a reputation too," she added, "but I want for everyone to be comfortable with my restaurant. I don't want to take anything away from the old Red Byrd. I want it to be like it was then. I want it to be that. I want it to be busy like that, I want the atmosphere to be like that, I want it to be clean like that - I want it all."
Not many changes have been made. Except for the added wording to the name, a fresh coat of paint, and tablecloths on the tables, and recipes from Bonnie's Country Kitchen, it's basically the same. "I don't want it too different," Bonnie said.
Bonnie does most of the cooking for both restaurants. "I will be bringing recipes from my menu, and much of the old menu will remain the same. I'll listen to what the people want as well. I have fresh items on my menu. So everything will be fresh every day." A few of the well-known dishes she'll be bringing this way include her crab cakes, fresh chicken and hamburgers, my homemade soups, and pork barbecue. She'll be keeping the Red Byrd's slippery pot pie night, roast pork and sauerkraut night, meatloaf and fried chicken nights and more.
Over time Bonnie plans to bring back the special deal nights - 'Kids-Eat-Free Night', 'All-You-Can-Eat nights', 'Steak Night', 'Seafood Night', etc. "Cause they did a lot of that," she said. "I want it to run smoothly. I want to make sure that when it opens, it opens right."
"A lot of the old employees will be working here as well. Beth will be back...Gloria's back...several of them are coming back. This is like home to most of them," Bonnie said. "It's in their blood."
"I want the opening to be big for everyone," Bonnie said. The Red Byrd has much history and is known as a destination spot. "I've had people pull in the parking lot since its been closed, coming from Baltimore, saying that they ride up here about four or five times a year and always come to the Red Byrd to eat. I've had people come to my other restaurant and they'll introduce themselves as Red Byrd customers. It's amazing."
Bonnie's at the Red Byrd will be offering catering and room rentals for parties and special occasions.
On an ending note, Bonnie wants our readers and Red Byrd customers to know that the Red Byrd is always going to be the Red Byrd. "I don't want to take that away from here. I don't want them to feel that I'm coming in here and changing everything, cause that's the last thing I want to do," she said. Bonnie wants people to be just as comfortable with her as they were for the other owners in the past. "I want the old time feel here. I want it to be a place where they can come meet their friends and feel at home."
Bonnie also wants let everyone know that she does a lot of work with the community. "I will do as much as I can for the community here as well."
Look for coupons to Bonnie's at the Red Byrd in the Picket News.
For more information call Bonnie at 301-432-5822. Be sure to find them on Facebook as well.

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