Garry’s Grill Takes A Bite Out Of The Traditional Restaurant Playbook
Since taking over Garry’s Grill in 2008, owner Eddie Conway has worked with family members and loyal employees to offer creative meal options, great customer service and an expanded catering menu.
Photo by Zach Sparks
When Eddie Conway forwent a degree in sports management and bought Garry’s Grill from then-owner Garry Anderson in 2008, he knew had a formula for success in place.
“I take care of the employees, the employees take care of the customer and the customer takes care of everyone,” Conway said. “I tell my staff that if not for the customer, nobody has a job. You may be having a bad day, but when you walk in that door, they are supporting you, so you have to take care of them.”
Conway climbed the food chain at Garry’s Grill, starting as a dishwasher before becoming a server and then a manager. When he became owner, he further embraced the family atmosphere at the hometown eatery. His sister, Tiffany Bordenski, fills in as manager; his brother-in-law, Nick Bordenski, has served as general manager for seven years; and his mom pays routine visits to the restaurant to chat with customers. Conway often roams the restaurant with his 1-year-old daughter, Lenox, and fiancée, Allison, in tow. Add committed employees like head line cook Chris Norris to that group and you have the driving force behind a beloved restaurant.
Together, the staff works tirelessly to ensure Garry’s Grill stands out among the competition by offering fresh ingredients, great customer service and creative meal options.
The menu changes every three months based on the season. Although breakfast items, sandwiches, wraps and burgers can be ordered year-round, the summer features lighter fare with a community flair. Guests can try the Berrywood salad with its mixed field greens, blueberries, strawberries, granola and crumbled feta cheese or the Shipley’s summer salad with fresh baby spinach, peaches, sliced strawberries, feta cheese, toasted almonds and bacon. Those with a larger appetite will like a 12-ounce Angus New York strip steak named after Chartwell and covered in bacon, horseradish and gorgonzola cheese.
During Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, families can take advantage of “Two for $30” dinner specials, which include an entrée, drink, salad and a dessert.
Of course, some people will stick with irresistible pumpkin muffins or sesame chicken, but Conway is always striving to offer something unique. Every six months, in partnership with Sysco, Conway goes with Bordenski to a lab and they “mess around in a kitchen for six hours,” trying various ingredients.
One such new item they added was a homemade ghost pepper sauce that they now bottle and sell. All food features fresh ingredients like tomatoes and peaches from Diehl’s Produce in Severna Park.
The catering menu has also grown under Conway’s ownership. “Everything you get here [at Garry’s Grill], you can get at your home,” he said.
Conway is loyal to his patrons, but he is also an avid supporter of the community overall. He donates money to Hospice of the Chesapeake and other nonprofits, and he participates in the Fourth of July Parade and Restaurant Week.
Conway enjoys serving people, and that shows in the way he manages. When new employees start, he shares with them a story from his days as a waiter when a customer wanted peanut butter to spread over an order of pancakes. At the time, Garry’s Grill did not carry peanut butter, so Conway sprinted across the street to High’s Dairy Store — before the space became the Froyo House — and purchased peanut butter with his own funds, and placed it on the table before the pancakes were served.
“I don’t like to make a big deal when I do those things,” Conway said. “But it’s those little things that show the customer you care.”
Garry’s Grill is located at 553A Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard in Severna Park. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 7:00am to 9:00pm and Sunday from 7:00am to 8:00pm. For more information, call 410-544-0499 or visit www.garrysgrill.com.
“There is the saying that money makes the world go round,” Conway said. “That’s not what motivates me. I like to work with all kinds of people. I love what I do. To me, it’s not work.”