Introducing M STREET GRILLE

  • Gaining Real Impactful Life Lessons through Experience & Education

    Wednesday, March 8, 2017

    UMES hospitality-tourism management students will soon have a new option in getting hands-on experience when an existing restaurant getting a new look re-opens in Princess Anne this spring. 

    M STREET GRILLE is a collaborative venture between the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, its foundation, a UMES alumnus and the owner of the Princess Anne University Village shopping center on U.S. Route 13. 

    Brandon Phillips, a 1998 graduate and owner of the Atlantic Stand on Ocean City's iconic Boardwalk, is joining forces with his alma mater to expand his hospitality-restaurant business into Somerset County. 

    “This university has meant a lot to me,” said Phillips, who grew up in Salisbury and played baseball for the Hawks. It was his desire to give back to that program that led to this new relationship with UMES.

    “I was looking for a way to show my appreciation,” he said, “and when I learned (hospitality) students had an assignment to design and market a plan for a restaurant, I wanted to see if it might be possible to make it a reality.” 

    M STREET GRILLE will be in the location that originally opened as the Get'N Grounded coffee shop, and will utilize some of that business' furniture. 

    University leaders describe the partnership with Phillips as “a learning laboratory that cultivates, encourages and promotes entrepreneurism among UMES students interested in pursuing careers in the hospitality industry.” 

    Students will have an opportunity to earn extra income as employees while working alongside and observing professionals who will manage the venue for Phillips. 

    “As chairman of UMES' Hospitality and Tourism Management program, it is vital for our students to have opportunities while still in school to put into practice what they are learning in the classroom,” Dr. Ernest Boger said.

    "Having the M STREET GRILLE as an additional option to their hands-on experience in the Henson Conference Center operations will benefit our students and definitely make UMES more attractive to those who enroll here in the future,” Boger said.

    “We thank Brandon Phillips for stepping forward to make this a reality,” he said. 

    According to Kimberly Dumpson, UMES' executive vice president who worked on the project, employing students will provide financial assistance some may need toward their education expenses. 

    In 2015, Alexander K. Karavasilis, the lead investor/owner of the Rt. 13 shopping center approached Dumpson about helping UMES increase its visibility along the busy dual highway while also lending support to the university's Hospitality and Tourism Management program. 

    Karavasilis, along with his partners in BRK LLC, donated all the business assets within the coffee shop to the UMES Foundation and agreed to lease the premises to the foundation for five years. Both parties see the venture as “an experiential learning environment to benefit students pursuing careers in hospitality, tourism, merchandising, marketing and finance,” Dumpson said. 

    The venue's name is an acronym inspired by the hands-on training concept: “Gaining Real Impactful Life Lessons through Experience and Education.” 

    UMES stands to benefit from the restaurant's success; Phillips, already a financial supporter of many of the university's athletic programs, has agreed to donate some of M STREET GRILLE's net profits to the foundation to support the university's hospitality-tourism management as well as the athletics program.

    Phillips was attracted to the idea of expanding into Somerset County in part by a senior-year project where Hospitality and Tourism Management students were challenged to develop a marketing plan for a restaurant. 

    The winning entry was a “sports-themed” grille with a liquor license and televisions where athletic events could be viewed in a group setting. 

    The venue's decor will highlight UMES sports history and also will feature a “University Welcome kiosk.” Some of the menu items from Get'N Grounded will remain alongside new fare and specialty baked goods.

    Customers accustomed to visiting the coffee shop in the morning will find the grille will be open early selling the hot beverage along with breakfast sandwiches.