Gary Cohen, WRAP Chairman, on drinking responsibly~
“Let’s just do it and have a plan. The world has changed. When I have a party at my house … my neighbors walk, but my friends, they’ll take an Uber or a Lyft because they want to have a few cocktails at my house and they want to get home safe . . . it’s the right thing to do and I do it myself as well.”
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen with a wonderful, wonderful opportunity to me to talk to a man that I’ve envied from distance because I didn’t know what he was doing until recently, but in reading his resume, I found out so much. Gary Cohen, welcome to Our Town.
Gary Cohen: It is my pleasure to be here, thank you for the invitation.
Andy Ockershausen: What a background, all you’ve done, right? Say all these restaurants, but we want to find out about you. You grew up in Long Island. Are you a native? Were you born in the Island?
From New York to Northern Virginia
Gary Cohen: I was born on Long Island in Glencove Hospital. I grew up in a town called Plainview.
Andy Ockershausen: I know Glencove.
Gary Cohen: I grew up there until I went away to college, upstate New York in 1979, SUNY at Oneonta.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, what is that, an Indian name?
Gary Cohen: It’s an Indian name. It’s a small college somewhere between Binghamton and Albany and I got my degree-
Andy Ockershausen: Otesaga, I know. I’ve been to Cooperstown, of course.
Gary Cohen: Yeah, it’s very close to Cooperstown. I still go back to visit … Every couple of years I go to Cooperstown, see the Hall of Fame and I stop back at my college town. It’s not quite the same anymore, but it was a great experience there.
Andy Ockershausen: Cooperstown, I think is wonderful. For our young people and I hope everybody can visit because I know you’re a baseball fan and that didn’t bring you to Washington, but you moved to Virginia in August of what, 1979?
Gary Cohen: That’s correct.
Andy Ockershausen: Why would you leave SUNY and come to Northern Virginia?
Gary Cohen: I got my first my first job experience, my first job offer, excuse me, from the Marriott Corporation. They ran a group of restaurants down here. Some of you that have been around a long time might remember them, Joshua Tree and Phineas Prime Rib and some of those old restaurants. I joined them out of college and it’s a funny story when I joined them. People said to me, “Why do you want to move to Washington? You’ve never left Long Island in your life?” I said to them-
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, that is strange.
Gary Cohen: I said to them, “I don’t want to spend my life on 495, the Long Island Expressway,” so I come down here and now I spend my life on 495 the Beltway.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, you picked the right people to go to work with because they are farsighted and they were growing. That’s part of Our Town is Marriott, of course.
Gary Cohen: Sure.
Andy Ockershausen: The children were born here. The family was here. I knew Mr. Marriott through a lot of charity work that we did with him and he was a fine man.
A Start with Marriott – The Joshua Tree
Gary Cohen: In those days, they were trying to diversify and they had their hotel division. They had what they called their “dinner house restaurant division.” I worked. I was by the dinner house restaurant division. It was run by a separate group of people, but the Marriotts because first job they lived in the Marriott … My first job was at Joshua Tree in McLean. I ran the kitchen there and Mr. Marriott lived down the street for a while there, so he would come in all the time, so I got to know them indirectly. But I worked for that group of restaurants through 1986 and then they got taken over by another group called Gilbert Robinson. But I basically stayed with that group of restaurants all the way to 1990, so the first 11 years of my professional career.
Andy Ockershausen: In Our Town, of course, you stayed right here.
Gary Cohen: I stayed right here. I’ve never left Fairfax, Virginia. You’re probably talking to one of the few restaurateurs you have ever met that really didn’t leave. I moved to Fairfax and I fell in love with Fairfax and I’ve been here ever since.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, you couldn’t have picked a better place, but you had so much success at Joshua Tree and obviously, Marriott didn’t hire you because you were good looking.
Gary Cohen: Thanks.
Andy Ockershausen: Did you wear a coat and tie when you went to the interview?
Gary Cohen: I did wear a coat and tie when I went to that interview, yes.
Andy Ockershausen: I want you to tell that story and we will get to that about glory days, but from there you moved to other restaurants. You moved from Virginia to downtown, correctly?
Gary Cohen: Yes, so I went to … I didn’t physically move, but I went to Hogates and I ran … Hogates is a legend.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh my.
Gary Cohen: It was owned by Marriott and that group of restaurants and Hogates is legendary in its own right. They were having some operational problems back then. It was 1987 to 1990. I ran it for three years and they were having some operational problems, so they asked me to go down and try to resolve them and I like to think I did, but it was my entry, if you will, into the downtown restaurant scene.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, I understand.
Gary Cohen: Because I had worked mostly in suburban restaurants, and I fell in love with it. I fell in love with the downtown scene.
Andy Ockershausen: Maine Avenue was happening and not like now.
Gary Cohen: Maine Avenue was happening and Phillips was booming and Hogates was booming and the Channel Inn was booming and there was a lot of good things going on. Mayor Barry was just elected and-
Andy Ockershausen: He loved it. The Channel Inn, what was his name, Fernandez?
Gary Cohen: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Fernandez, something like that.
Gary Cohen: I’m not remembering.
Andy Ockershausen: That was a very popular place. Zanzibar, it was a local African-American, Zanzibar is their place.
Gary Cohen: Costa Maria was down there and that was also owned by the same group of restaurants, so it was a really interesting time in my career because it was such high-volume. That restaurant back then was doing $10 million a year and that was unheard of in those days. That was 1987.
Andy Ockershausen: That was a gold mine.
Gary Cohen: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: I think the only place I ever heard of that did better than $10 million was the Cheesecake Factory. It was over $11 or $12 million with them.
Gary Cohen: Yeah, but that was much later.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, that’s right.
Gary Cohen: In ’87 that was a big number.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, it’s an incredible number, believe me.
Gary Cohen: One thing I learned about this business is you can’t confuse sales profit. Just because they were doing big sales didn’t mean they were profitable. We helped turn it around. We put in basic operational expertise. I hired the right people, put the right people in charge and we were able to make the restaurant very, very profitable.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, I was just curious when Southwest was redeveloped as it is now and Monty Hoffman, or somebody didn’t get Hogates, but as you know what’s happened is the Wharf is an incredible part of Our Town.
Gary Cohen: Yeah, I think there are some people that say that change is good and there’s some people that say change is bad, so since I kind of lived down there for that three years of my life … Back then in 1987, the building was falling apart. The infrastructure was falling apart. The parking garage underneath was falling apart. It needed to be replaced back then and then it lingered another 20 years after that, so it needed to be redeveloped. Literally and figuratively.
Andy Ockershausen: That whole thing, yeah, I know. When the wharf was falling apart, I know that very well.
Gary Cohen: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: I was friends with and I think still am with the people own the Marina there. The Marina was owned by Uncle Sam, the DC government and their contract was with the Uncle. I know those things, which are probably not important. How in the world did a nice guy like you, a restaurant got involved with a bunch of hooligans called Glory Days?
Vie de France Bakery Cafés
Gary Cohen: There’s one chapter you’re missing. I’m going to fill in real quick because it ties into Glory Days. After I left Hogates, I went to work for Vie de France Bakery Cafés.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, you became a legitimate …
Gary Cohen: That was a big company. I worked for them to work actually for 13 years, so that was a big-
Andy Ockershausen: Vie de France, really?
Gary Cohen: I was there for 13 years and-
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, from ’87-
Gary Cohen: From ’90 to 2003. I met Bob Garner and Jeff Newman there. They were both vice presidents of the company and they were great mentors for me and great leaders and they were very into growing Vie de France and we ran that company together. Nationwide, I think at one point we had 55, 56 restaurants. Most of you probably remember the old bakery cafés all over town mall, downtown, suburban malls, all that kind of thing and they did very well. At some point, and this is not meant to be derogatory towards any type of ownership, but at some point, it was a French company being run by an American workforce and then a Japanese company bought that company. I loved the Japanese. They took me to Japan and I learned so much about their culture-
Andy Ockershausen: Oh good.
Gary Cohen: It was amazing, but it got complicated. It got complicated and they really weren’t interested in developing the restaurant so much, so Bob and Jeff said, “We’re out. We’re going to go do our own thing. We’re going to build our own concept because now we have to call Japan to get permission to do something.” It got too complicated. Long story short is they left and I stayed. They were going to go start this thing called Glory Days, why Glory Days? Because it’s what they knew.
It was about sports. It was about neighborhood. Their kids played sports. They were coaches. They loved sports. They loved casual restaurants and they decided they were going to start this. They were looking for a third partner at the time. At that moment in my life, I stayed at Vie de France and continued to run that for a couple of years and they hooked up with Richard Danker, who you were referring to before. Richard is a true blue, born and raised-
Andy Ockershausen: He’s our guy.
Gary Cohen: Born and raised Washingtonian-
Andy Ockershausen: Family.
Gary Cohen: One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and he ran two restaurants in town with his brother, Danker Sports Bar.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, they did a great job.
Gary Cohen: One in Southwest, one in Midtown and they hooked up and they met. The three of them became the founders and the owners of Glory Days. It was a leap of faith. 1996, they started-
Andy Ockershausen: Before Gary Cohen they started this.
Gary Cohen: That was before me.
Andy Ockershausen: I’m going to stop you now and we’re going to take a break because I want you to tell that story. It’s a great beginning. This is Andy Ockershausen on Our Town and we’re talking to the legend, Gary Cohen.
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Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town. Andy Ockershausen. I’m having a wonderful conversa … I think it’s a wonderful conversation with the Executive Vice President of Glory Days Grill with an amazing story Glory Days has become. What an amazing man to make this happen, but how in the world did you get from Vie de France to Glory Days? That’s a great story.
Gary Cohen Starts a New Chapter in DMV Restaurant Biz – Glory Days Grill
Gary Cohen: As I told you before, Jeff and Bob were mentors of mine, friends of mine. They invited me to come sit with them one day and have lunch and they were looking to go through a growth spurt and they were looking to really take the restaurants at that point … I don’t remember the exact number. I think they were at restaurant number 12 and they had six on the drawing board and we’re going to grow and we’re going to expand-
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, god yeah.
Gary Cohen: So, we sat and we talked and we had a casual lunch. I remember very well I went to the interview in a suit and tie-
Andy Ockershausen: Very wise. I think.
Gary Cohen: They were all wearing golf shirts that said Glory Days on it and I said … We negotiated. My recollection is I said, “This sounds great,” and I went to shake Bob’s hand and Bob said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute.” They said, “It’s not official until you take off for your tie,” and I say, “I’m not going to take off my tie. I’ve been wearing a tie all my life.” He said, “We’re professional guys, Gary, but we have a casual approach to this business.” He said, “Are you in?” I said, “Okay, I guess I can lose the tie,” and the rest as they say is history. I haven’t worn a tie since, except for banker’s meetings or whatever.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, well, good.
Gary Cohen: I enjoyed the casual approach to the business because I had always been in a formal level of business. We’re professional restaurateurs and we take a very professional . . . Big corporate backgrounds, but we feel small to the average consumer.
Andy Ockershausen: When Richard first called me and it was Burke I think was you said was the first-
Gary Cohen: 1996, yes.
Andy Ockershausen: I couldn’t find him without a search warrant. It was way out in the boonies to me coming from the city, but Rich had been a friend way before that with his dad and the restaurants and so forth and then I realized there were four of you running the place and I didn’t know how it was … Then I found that you were in charge, which was important.
Gary Cohen: Just to clarify, I wasn’t there at the beginning. I wasn’t there in 1996. I joined them in 2006.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, they already had 12 stores.
Gary Cohen: I joined them 10 years in, yeah, I joined them 10 years in, and so now I’m in charge. Of the day-to-day operations of the restaurants.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s only been 10 years?
Gary Cohen: I’ve been with them 12 years now.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh my. It’s such a-
Gary Cohen: I feel like I’ve been with them forever because I’ve known them so long.
Andy Ockershausen: Sure, they are part of your life. But Glory Days has been . . . I always thought when they started, Rich and I used to spar over baseball way back with as you remember Pat Malone. Pat and I worked on the baseball commission way, way, way back and Pat was a sergeant in the Air Force. I didn’t know that. He was working at the Pentagon and bringing baseball back, I used to say, “Glory Days, bring back the Glory Days.” That was about baseball.
Glory Days Grill Began as a Casual Sports Fan Restaurant
Gary Cohen: That was the philosophy. Richard is a diehard sports fan, particularly baseball and one of his closest friends is Pat Malone. They are both big baseball guys. You know that whole story.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, absolutely.
Gary Cohen: Jeff and Richard are also big sports fans in general, Washington D.C. sports. The thing they have in common is they all love the restaurant business. They all love casual dining. They were all coaches and mentors to young people and they love sports, so they wanted to put it all together, tie it up in a neat bow. They came up with the name Glory Days and it was about, originally, it really was about the glory days of sports. When you went into one of our shops, you would find the walls decorated with memorabilia.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh yes.
Gary Cohen: A lot of it out of Richard’s garage, Mickey Mantle signs and Joe DiMaggio signs and everything else and the original Glory Days was really about the glory days of sports.
Andy Ockershausen: Then, we had talked about even Sammy Baugh, a name, it’s historical now, was involved in “Bring back the glory days, bring back the Sammy Baughs of the world, bring back the Sonny Jurgensen. Why are we fooling around with a baseball team in Baltimore. We’re the Washington …” We were called the Washington Senators as you may remember.
Gary Cohen: I remember.
Andy Ockershausen: Rich used to protest that with us and with Pat.
Gary Cohen: Rich brings in people. Our friend, Frank Howard, he lives out in Aldie, Virginia. He comes into our restaurants every once in a while and signs some autographs for us. People follow him wherever he goes.
Andy Ockershausen: Hondo.
Gary Cohen: People still associated us with sports. Here’s our philosophy. If you tie great food, great service and sports together in a package and you put that in what I call “Anytown USA” how could you fail?
Andy Ockershausen: There’s an audience.
Gary Cohen: People love sports. They love to … There are a lot of naysayers in the world. There are a lot of people who say, “I don’t need to go to a restaurant to watch sports. I got a big 50 inch TV screen in my basement.” It’s not fun to watch TV in your basement by yourself it doesn’t matter how big your TV is. We like to say that, “It’s very convivial.” Nothing is more fun than cheering for a team with a bunch of strangers and friends in a place that serves great chicken wings and great burgers and cold beer.
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Gary Cohen: That’s it.
Andy Ockershausen: And everybody has a good time.
Gary Cohen: It’s a magic formula.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s what it’s all about. Now, you and I were remarking about the stadium and the baseball stadium and what has happened in Southwest-
Gary Cohen: I love it.
Andy Ockershausen: I don’t think it’s directly baseball, but that’s a big part of it.
Gary Cohen: When you talk about the Leonsises and the Lerners about rebuilding Washington, I give them credit for what they did around the Verizon Center, now the Capital One Arena. I give them credit for, the Lerners, what they did with Southwest Washington and what they did to reinvigorate that … I’m not a native Washingtonian, but I’ve been here for 40 years now.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re a native now.
Gary Cohen: And for me to see that redevelopment is really heartwarming to me. Okay, yes, it’s true, I’m a huge baseball fan. I go to a lot of Nats games and I love what the family has done for the team and I love what it’s done for Our Town and to sit and watch the redevelopment and the hotels popping up and the restaurants popping up. This weekend I was at Audi Field for the first time.
Andy Ockershausen: A beautiful little stadium.
Gary Cohen: To see the … No offense against-
Andy Ockershausen: Was it Boston, is that where they were?
Gary Cohen: No, well, they were playing there for practice but no offense to RFK is what I was trying to think of. I loved RFK in the day, but it’s old and you have to evolve. You have to in business, in sports, in everything in life, you either grow or you die. Glory Days has evolved. We’ve gotten a little bigger. We’re 21 corporate stores now.
Andy Ockershausen: Franchise businesses …
Glory Days Grill Starts to Franchise and Evolves
Gary Cohen: We’re starting to franchise. We’re not so much memorabilia on the walls anymore. We have a more sophisticated look. Our restaurants are brighter and cheerier. Our menus have expanded, so we have grown because we don’t want to just fall to the wayside, so we try to stay state of the art.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s you, Gary.
Gary Cohen: Well, it’s me.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s the team.
Gary Cohen: It’s me and the team. We have an amazing corporate chef. We have an amazing team. We have a lot of longevity on our team and we could talk about that as well.
Andy Ockershausen: What you have done for your town, for Northern Virginia is incredible. What baseball has done for Washington was incredible and maybe, we’ll get football back in the city someday-
Gary Cohen: I hope.
Andy Ockershausen: Although, I think the difference in sports is enormous because football is an expensive proposition. Baseball, you can walk up and buy a $10 ticket, so I think that’s amazing. It’s good for Our Town. Gary, the things you have done are incredible and what you see from your perch in Glory Days, you’ve seen a lot of changes all for very positive, correct?
Gary Cohen: Well, it depends what changes you’re talking about. If you’re talking about legislative changes and the way the restaurant business has changed, some have been positive and some have been negative. I’ve gotten more involved in the community.
Andy Ockershausen: We’re going to talk about that Gary because that’s when we first got together in life was through charity, not through Glory Days, although I had known Richard forever. But as executive vice president of that firm, you’ve made a great impact and then transferred that enthusiasm to something that I’ve been involved in since 1970. This is Gary Cohen and this is Andy Ockershausen and we’ll be right back.
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Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen and this is Our Town and a conversation with Gary Cohen of Glory Days, but to me, he’s Gary Cohen of Washington Regional Alcohol Program when our lives first crossed, other than for food and fun but businesswise was your involvement with WRAP.
Gary Cohen: Yeah, so, I’ve been in the restaurant business for a long time as we know and I’ve always wanted to be a responsible citizen. We serve alcohol and we’ve always tried to do it responsibly and that’s a big mantra in our company that if we’re going to serve alcohol, we’re going to do it responsibly.
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Cohen Gets Involved in WRAP – First Representative From Restaurant and Hotel Industries
Gary Cohen: I got invited by some friends of mine at Anheuser Busch back in about seven or eight years ago to be on the board of WRAP and I said, “What’s WRAP? I don’t know what that is?” Washington Regional Alcohol Program, I got involved. I went to a meeting and they said, “We’re an organization that makes sure that alcohol is served responsibly. People don’t drink and drive and we don’t serve alcohol to underage people.” I said, “Let me go to a meeting and I’ll see what happens.” I went to a board meeting and I looked around the room and the people in the room were lawyers, policemen, I call them “the big boys of the alcohol business,” Anheuser Busch, MillerCoors, Constellation Brands.
Andy Ockershausen: AAA.
Gary Cohen: AAA, but there was not one representative in the room from the hospitality industry. I’m like, “There’s something wrong with this picture.” She said, “That’s why we invited you because we want representatives from restaurants and hotels.” I got involved and I’ve been on the board ever since and this year, I am serving a two-year term as the chairman of the organization and I think it’s an amazing organization. It’s a public/private combination. It’s a not for profit. It’s run with a very small group of people. Kurt Erickson, I know has been on your show.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh god, yeah.
WRAP’s Sober Ride
Gary Cohen: He’s an amazing guy. He runs a great organization. Most people know us for Sober Ride. Sober Ride is something they coined back in 1991 and they basically offer a free-
Andy Ockershausen: Transportation.
Gary Cohen: Used to be free cab rides home on major drinking holidays, St. Patrick Days, New Year’s Eve, Halloween, that type of thing, Christmas and let’s get people home safe. Let’s get people home free. It’s subsidized. They raise money. It’s subsidized from some of the local governments and they give people a free cab ride home. Well, that quickly changed about three or four years ago with the invention of apps and-
Andy Ockershausen: Lyft.
Gary Cohen: Lyft. So we engaged Lyft. Our friends from Lyft were all in and they were able to instead of using tabs because … There’s nothing wrong with caps. I like cab drivers. They supported us very well.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely, yellow cabs.
Gary Cohen: For 20 some odd years, Red Top Cab was the one that helped us sponsor.
Andy Ockershausen: Red Top.
Gary Cohen: But what happened with that was his young people, the millennials, the people that like to drink no longer liked to pick up a phone and called a cab. They want to just touch a button on their phone. WRAP-
Andy Ockershausen: So true.
Gary Cohen: WRAP was smart enough to engage Lyft and Lyft has become a great partner for us.
Andy Ockershausen: Wonderful, wonderful.
Gary Cohen: The ridership more than doubled, so now instead of getting 3,000 or 4,000 people home on a night like Halloween, we’re getting 5 or 6 thousand people on a night like Halloween with a free ride, being socially responsible. Let people …
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Gary Cohen: Our organization is not against drinking.
Andy Ockershausen: No, I understand that, not against drinking.
WRAP – Not Against Drinking | AGAINST Drinking AND Driving
Gary Cohen: We’re just against drinking and driving. Just do the right thing, just have a plan.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, Gary, it started in part of this building, which was WMAL Radio. We had a group come together to help with the problem with the drunk driving and we had MAAD people here. We had SADD people here. We had a lot of people and I was fortunate to be involved in it from day one with restaurant people and then that changed. It grew bigger and bigger and got away from the small little group that we had. I was very instrumental in calling Anheuser Busch to get money from them through a friend of mine in St. Louis at the brewery of one of the top level guys that worked with the Busch’s and they decided to join in because it was in self-protection for the beer business. They didn’t want to stop the drinking. They wanted to control it and control the rider.
Gary Cohen: Good for you.
Andy Ockershausen: That started the whole WRAP deal.
Gary Cohen: Carol Huebner, who is there person that got me involved, she was in charge of social responsibility and doing the right thing. Look, we’re in the beer business. We sell a lot of beer at Glory Days.
Andy Ockershausen: Of course.
Gary Cohen: We just want people to know we do it responsibly. Every one of our waiters and bartenders are TIPS certified. They learn how to serve alcohol properly and-
Andy Ockershausen: Because you trained them.
Gary Cohen: It’s a very profitable part of our business, but we do it in a very intelligent way.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely, well in addition, once you got Budweiser it broke the barrier and other people said, “There must be something to this,” and it became very important part because they were in, Miller came in and then I don’t know what their names are now. Bev or something but …
Gary Cohen: InBev.
Andy Ockershausen: One of the things that I love about it, it has been alive and now we’ve got MAAD and SADD and what have we done with, I say we because being part of an organization has been very near and dear to me, and it was a great business move for WMAL Radio at the time to be involved with WRAP and what it meant to the public. We didn’t stop drinking. We didn’t ask people not to drink. We asked them to be responsible.
Gary Cohen: Yeah, it makes all the difference in the world. We want to continue to serve alcohol. You want to continue to drink alcohol.
Andy Ockershausen: Right, absolutely.
Just Do It, and Have a Plan
Gary Cohen: Let’s just do it and have a plan. The world has changed. When I have a party at my house, my friends and neighbors … My neighbors walk, but my friends, they’ll take an Uber or a Lyft because they want to-
Andy Ockershausen: It’s so much easier.
Gary Cohen: They want to have a few cocktails at my house and they want to get home safe and is the right thing to do and I do it myself as well.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, the whole Sober Ride thing, it’s an enormous promotion. It’s such a big part of Our Town. I don’t know of anybody else that does it as well as we do that’s what you pointed out makes sense. It’s a lot easier to do it in your hand then get to a phone booth and that’s what’s happening with these young people. They don’t want to fool with phones.
Glory Days Grill – Good Corporate Citizen
Gary Cohen: We had some really good success this year and you came, thank you for your support. Glory Days did a fundraiser in Fairfax. That’s three years in a row where we raised somewhere between $4,000 and $5,000.
Andy Ockershausen: In a very casual evening.
Gary Cohen: Yeah, in a casual evening.
Andy Ockershausen: No big deal.
Gary Cohen: Come in and get some great wings and some great food and we’re going to raise money to help with this charity because that’s how much we believe in it. We support a lot of charities. Glory Days is a very giving organization. Last year we gave $400,000 or $500,000.
Andy Ockershausen: When you give, you get it back many ways.
Gary Cohen: Generally, what we do is we give to the community through sports. We sponsor your kids’ Little League team. We sponsor high school sports. That has always been the Glory Days mantra and that is really the only advertising we do, is we have Glory Days on the back of the kids’ shirts, but it comes back to us big time. But this is something different. This is something that we did for social responsibility.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, Gary, you do it in so many ways and these organizations have been helpful, too, to other people besides Anheuser-Busch have stepped up. I know that. It’s a community event now. It’s very important and not just to you as president and chief executive officer of your company, but as you, president of WRAP, we do a great job for the community.
Gary Cohen: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Be proud of it, Gary.
Gary Cohen: I am and I think at this point in my life after I’ve been in the restaurant business for going on 40 years now, we want to give back to the community. Of course, we want to run profitable restaurants and that’s our main thing and that’s what we do, but the fact that we can give back to the community … We’ve won I think for nine years in a row now, we won the Cornerstone Award, which is given out by the National Restaurant Association. We win that award every year for the most philanthropic company in Maryland.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s fabulous. That’s your group.
Gary Cohen: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: You four guys have done a whale of a job.
Gary Cohen: It’s the founders. I give them the credit. I run the ship, but they developed the ship and the culture of our company and the longevity of our employees has really been something that has really separated us from the pack. It’s a very competitive business as you know.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, no question, but involving Glory Days with WRAP has been a labor of love for your organization. I know that and it shows. In other businesses, it’s self-protection for all of us to get the drivers off the streets and that’s what WRAP has done.
Gary Cohen: I agree.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Gary, would you give the Sober Ride web address?
Gary Cohen: www.soberride.com
Andy Ockershausen: You might as well give us the number four Glory Days, while you’re here. We don’t want to miss a chance for that. Rich would never forgive me.
Gary Cohen: Every restaurant has its own phone number, so I can’t do that, but go to www.glorydaysgrill.com and you’ll see all the locations there and-
Andy Ockershausen: We can’t say enough about what great you have done and having Pat Malone involved with your organization is so important to me personally.
Gary Cohen: Pat is a great guy. We just opened our newest restaurant in Alexandria just a couple of months ago.
Andy Ockershausen: . . .Tell me. That’s on Duke Street.
Gary Cohen: Yeah and Pat happens to live in Alexandria, so he’s pounding the pavement and getting the word out.
Andy Ockershausen: He will.
Gary Cohen: That store has done very well for us.
Andy Ockershausen: You guys are doing so great and Glory Days is a wonderful institution and Gary, I am so glad we had the chance to chat and I’m looking forward to many more days of happiness with Glory Days.
Gary Cohen: Thank you very much.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen and this is Our Town with Gary Cohen.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to Our Town, Season Four, presented by GEICO, our home town favorite, with your host Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released each Tuesday and Thursday. Drop us a line with your comments or suggestions. See us on Facebook or visit our website at outtowndc.com. Our special thanks to Ken Hunter our technical director and WMAL Radio in Washington D.C. for hosting our podcast. Thanks to GEICO. 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance.
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