Thor Smith on Opening Buddy Lou’s in Hancock

At first, when Thor Smith and his wife moved to the Hancock area, they figured they would do antiques and maybe sell some sandwiches on the side.

“Then things started rolling and the food side started taking over the antique side,” Smith told This Week in Morgan County with Russell Mokhiber. “We are both foodies. We love good food.”

The food side turned out to be the now popular Buddy Lou’s Restaurant in Hancock, Maryland.

Did he ever guess in coming out this way from the Washington/Baltimore area that he would open a restaurant?

“No, no, no,” Smith says. “A friend of mine had run a chain of ten restaurants in the DC Baltimore area called Austin Grills. I knew that you had to be nuts to want to go into the restaurant business. And it’s hard to do a restaurant in a small market.”

What percentage of Buddy Lou’s business is coming off the main highways — US 68 and 70?

“It’s hard to say,” Smith says. “It’s going to be more the weekend travellers — maybe 20 percent or 25 percent.”

Buddy Lou’s sits right on the C&O Canal. And bikers are a big part of Buddy Lou’s traffic during the warm weather.

“During the summer that C&O biking traffic could be another 20 percent to 25 percent,” Smith says.

And Smith estimates that a large percentage of his customer base is based in Berkeley Springs and Morgan County — maybe as high as 40 percent.

Where did the name Buddy Lou’s come from?

“The dogs we have now are Buddy and Lucy,” Smith says. “So, it’s a combination of our pets’ names — Buddy and Lucy — Buddy Lou’s: Eats Drink and Antiques.”


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