Pit beef for everyone: Chaps to franchise

Chaps, the Pulaski Highway purveyor of pit beef (and tons more) will be franchising, according to owner Bob Creager. Creager said he has signed an agreement with Mickleton, NJ-based MBB Management to take Chaps beyond the Beltway.

A former steelworker, Creager opened the original Chaps in the parking lot of an adult nightclub in 1987. The original stand has been expanded multiple times, and Chaps is now a bona fide Baltimore dining institution. It's been featured on such national food shows as "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," and "Man vs. Food."

Creager said the first Chaps franchise store could open before the end of the year. No locations have been selected, but Creager said that the Baltimore-centric pit-beef concept will have little direct competition in most United States markets.

MBB's best-known client is Tony Luke's, a Philadelphia-based cheesesteak restaurant that now has more than 20 franchise operations, mostly in the Philadelphia region but also in Ocean City, MD, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Juffair, Bahrain.

Stay tuned for more pit beef and BBQ news in City Paper's forthcoming BBQ issue. Get it Wednesday.

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