By Jessica Kartalija

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Once empty stores in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor malls are filling up fast. The latest is a well-known name to movie buffs.

Jessica Kartalija has more on the new company making its Baltimore debut.

This week is the official opening of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

“It’s a Forrest Gump-themed restaurant. Very family-friendly, very high energy type of place, a lot of fun,” manager Jon Frost said.

Joined by a Forrest Gump look-alike, Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tells WJZ the new restaurant is a big boost to Baltimore’s economy.

“It represents jobs for Baltimore, and enhancement in the tourism industry,” she said.

Bubba Gump Shrimp, Co. takes over the former site of Phillips Seafood, now located at the Power Plant. Phillips moved into the former ESPN Zone location.

“We’ve gotten a really warm reception from everyone who has come in, a lot of happy people. We’ve been made to feel very much at home,” Frost said.

Harborplace is making national headlines this week. On Wednesday, Nik Wallenda– a member of the Flying Wallenda family– walked a tightrope over the harbor, announcing the opening of Ripley’s Believe it or Not on June 1.

“This is an amazing destination market and we found a place in Harborplace to do it,” Tim O’Brien, of Ripley Entertainment, Inc. said. “So we’re here.”

Just a few blocks away at Power Plant Live, there are several new restaurants including Tatu and Kettle Hill, which aren’t just popular among tourists, but local residents as well.

Retail chains like H & M are also paving the way for new stores. J. Crew, Anthropologie and Lululemon have secured storefronts in Harbor East near the new Four Seasons Hotel.

“This is all part of a trend I hope will continue,” Kirby Fowler, president of Baltimore’s Downtown Partnership, said.

McCormick’s World of Flavors is set to open in the Light Street Pavilion in addition to three brand new restaurants opening this summer in Harbor East.

Bubba Gump is the first restaurant group based on a movie.


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