Earlier this week, Barbara Collurafici and Lisa Honick, owners of The Gourmet Girls eatery/catering business in Owings Mills, announced their plans to open a second location in the former Gourmet Again space at 3713 Old Court Rd. in Pikesville.
Jmore recently caught up with Honick, an executive chef, to talk about what is tentatively going to be called The Gourmet Girls Too.
Jmore: So many local businesses, including Gourmet Again, have closed their doors recently. Why open a new location now?
Honick: That’s a good question. We’re trying to bring back homemade food and personal service to the area.
It’s important to say that we’re not bringing back Gourmet Again. We’re not going to be a market. Plenty of other places do that. What we want to do is to create a gathering place. We’re keeping it simple.
You and Barbara both have a long history with Gourmet Again.
Yes, I started as a sales associate at the prepared food counter at what was then called the Gourmet Shop 35 years ago. Barbara ran the department. We became good friends. Sometimes when someone called in sick, I would fill in and do some cooking. Eventually, I dropped out of school and went to culinary school and got training.
When the Gourmet Shop closed, we moved to Eddie’s [of Roland Park] and I learned more. After a few years, we decided to open our own place. We found out that Mo’s Seafood was going out of business, and it was in the same spot as the Gourmet Shop had been. Barb’s son said we should call it Gourmet Again. It was beshert!
I get emotional when I talk about it, especially because Barbara and I have been cooking for people in the neighborhood, in the community, for years. Barbara has been doing it even longer than I have — for 45 years. She was with the Gourmet Shop when it was still on Fallstaff Road. For a little place, it has a lot of history.
What will it be like to return to that particular space?
Exciting! We’re coming full circle. It’s the same customers, too. When Gourmet Again closed in May, Barb and I were crying. We were competitors, but there’s room for everyone.
After it closed, some of their customers started coming up [to The Gourmet Girls in Owings Mills]. Now, we’re going to create that space in Pikesville. I think the community will be happy.
How will Gourmet Girls Too differ from the original Gourmet Girls?
It will be a souped-up version. Because we know the community and we know the clientele, we’ll have more of the things they want.
Soup, for instance. We sell soup at the first location, but in Pikeville we’ll sell quarts. The Owings Mills store’s customers are mostly commuters. They work nearby. We’ll have baked items that aren’t available in other bakeries in town. We have a baker who makes savory and sweet pies, even tikka masala pie. She used to sell it at farmer’s markets.
And we’ll have the best salad bar in town. Our salad bar at the first store is the best. This will have to be even better! I’ll be bringing in the best people. We’ll also be catering shivas and holidays. Anyone we bring in will have to be familiar with the [Jewish] holidays.
Like the Owings Mills store, we’ll have plenty of seating, around 75 seats. And we’ll have a private room to rent out for catered events. Already, some people have called asking to rent it out. Yesterday, the phone was ringing off the hook.
When do you expect to open?
We’re hoping to open in late April or early May, maybe sooner. We’re very excited. We know what the neighborhood wants.