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Marino Has Vision for Fallston Restaurant

Magoo's Smokehouse is scheduled to open next week.

Donnie Marino gazed across the room to ask his friend a question.

“Where else did Brent Fife work?” asked Marino, referring to the chef at his new restaurant, which is set to open next week.

But his friend didn't answer, because she wasn't there. Marino didn't know—he has trouble seeing.

“Basically I have bad eyes myself,” Marino said. “I have diabetic retinopathy.”

The 57-year-old's condition inspired the name for the new Fallston restaurant: Magoo's Smokehouse. Marino chose it in honor of the poor-sighted, mid-20th century cartoon character Mr. Magoo, who was also portrayed by Leslie Nielsen in a 1997 movie.

Marino said he and his business partner, Kathleen Barbuti, 58, have three areas of focus for their new establishment: barbecue, cartoons and music videos.

“We’re going to feature ribs, beef brisket, pit beef ... we’re also having pizza,” Marino said. “Of course we’ll show Ravens games on Sundays. But for the most part we’re going to show music videos.”

The Forest Hill resident hopes his eatery will succeed in the Pleasantville Road location where other businesses have failed. Most recently, Caffe Italia closed its doors.

And Marino is not concerned about the barbecue giant, , which opened less than a year ago about 10 minutes away.

“I’m not famous, I’m good,” said Marino, who thinks there are enough customers to go around. “You can’t even get in it’s so busy.”

Marino plans to be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and later for bigger events like Ravens games. Magoo's features four high-definition TVs of 42 inches or larger.

“The décor is going to be classic cartoons that have become motion pictures. For instance, Mr. Magoo … Alice in Wonderland … Batman, of course, Superman,” he said.

Marino thinks his unique atmosphere will be enough to revitalize the space, which is just off Maryland Route 152. He hopes to open by July 18, pending a health department inspection Wednesday.

“We want this place to work for a change,” he said. “We just wanted to do something different to give the community an alternative. Basically, it’s going to be fun.”

Todd Holden April 25, 2012 at 01:42 AM
have to agree Sonny...competition is keen especially in this economy...and the place just doesn't cut it...they are well intended, but lacking a lot to bring anyone back a second time.
Tom marino May 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Food not what I call "want to come back again" quality... Worst the owner is the rudest, misrable person I've every met. At least mr. Magoo had a pleasant disposition, expect restaurant will be short lived.
Laura July 22, 2012 at 07:40 PM
The owner is the rudest worst person i have ever met... my bill was wrong and when i told the waitress the owner came from the back saying i will pay my f*in tab not as what the prob was just yelled. Called my sister a bitch, my father a jerk off and asshole, said we were too poor to pay our bill.... who runs a restaurant like that? We paid our wrongly charged bill and will never be back again... however the band b-side that was playing which is the only reason why we went was awesome!
HDGresident July 22, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Thanks, Laura, for the heads-up! Some friends and I had plans to try it next weekend, but we will definitely change our plans! I've had some bad experiences, but nothing like what you experienced! I bet Magoo's is not in business much longer.
Beth Buffy Garrett November 27, 2012 at 08:42 AM
As expected, Magoos is no longer in business. I, too, found the owner to be less than pleasant and definitely not polite and personable to the customers. However, I greatly enjoyed the Friday Happy Hours when they had the 50 cent roast beef sandwiches and 2 for 1 drinks. The french fries were delicious and worth the trip from Joppa. Overall, I am sorry to see they have closed.


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