Howard Magazine - Page 42 - Foodie Family

Howard Magazine
- Page 42
Foodie Family

With three Howard County restaurants and a brewery, the Marriners have become local tastemakers


By John-John Williams IV Howard Magazine


Randy and Mary Marriner never wanted their daughters to work for a family business.


“We’re both products of family businesses, and we swore to each other that we would never subject our children to working in the family business,” says Randy, the 68-year-old CEO of Victoria Restaurant Group.


Mary’s family owned Blob’s Park, a former German-style beer hall in Jessup, and Randy’s family owned Highway Supply Corporation, a third-generation specialty subcontractor.


“Because when you work with your siblings, some work harder than others. And most families are dysfunctional,” Randy says.


But there they were, sitting in their newest restaurant, Clarksville’s Food Plenty, with their daughters as co-workers. The family has become one of the most powerful players in Howard County’s food and beverage scene, operating three restaurants and a brewery.


The Marriners’ youngest daughter, Victoria “Tori” Buscher, was their entree into restaurant business. During the 2000s, the 36-year-old graduate of Baltimore International College was working in various kitchens trying to carve out her career in the food industry.


“How many W-2s did you have that year?” asks her older sister, Rachael Mull, who prepared Tori’s taxes when she worked more than a half-dozen jobs.


At the same time, Randy and a business partner owned a former Bennigan’s building that needed to be developed. Tori was dating chef Joe Krywucki, who came up with a business plan that turned the building into the British-themed Victoria Gastro Pub in Dec. 2007. (Krywucki left the restaurant in 2015, and Tori married Mike Buscher the same year.)


Randy named the first restaurant and the restaurant group after Tori, which is completely fine with Rachael, the company’s chief financial officer, who says she prefers a behind-the-scenes role.


The names of their subsequent ventures are just as meaningful.


Food Plenty, the 9,000-square-foot restaurant with a rustic interior and exposed wooden beams that crisscross the barn-like ceiling, is a nod to the early 1800s Quaker farmhouse in Windsor Mill where the family lived in from 1980 to 1994.


Manor Hill Brewing, named after the family farm where it’s located, opened in June 2015. More than 5,000 barrels of beer are produced there a year.


And its namesake restaurant, Manor Hill Tavern, opened in historic Ellicott City last year.


During a late lunch at Food Plenty one Friday, the family’s conversations range from the everyday — toddler poop and nasal aspirators, thanks to Tori’s and Rachael’s small children — to the challenges they’ve faced through the years.


“We’re celebrating Rachael being cancer free,” says Mary, 65, dabbing at the corners of her eyes.