By 3 p.m. Monday, nearly 600 customers had picked up a free Slurpee ice drink at Pikesville's newest 7-Eleven store.
Owned by Harpreet and Darminder Suri, the store located in the Village Green shopping center participated in the company’s nationwide, free-drink promotion in honor of its 84th birthday—aptly set for the date July 11 (7/11).
During the 10 minutes when I visited the store, Alienade was the most popular flavor of the light, icy-drink treat called a Slurpee. But cherry was also in great demand.
Both the date and the weather—the high was in the 90s—made it the perfect day for the chilly promotion.
Shari Rosen of Upper Park Heights in Baltimore City chose a Coke Slurpee, her only choice, she said, "because it tastes like the real thing. I don't like the artificial fruit flavors."
Overall, it was a good day for Pikesville's newest 7-Eleven—one of four in the community.
By 3 p.m., there were only 50 of the store's 600 free Slurpee cups remaining.
But the free offer didn't stop when the cups ran out.
Harpeet Suri said she was letting people come in with their cups for a refill as many times as they wanted through midnight Tuesday, when the promotion ends.
Pikesville resident David Glick—the customer who holds the honor of having bought the store's first kosher hot dog—chose an Alienade flavor Slurpee and then boasted of the store's kosher offerings, which he helped coordinate.
Once the Suris figured out that customers wanted kosher, it was customer Glick who introduced them to the rules of kosher and helped them find the rabbi to certify some of their products.
The story of the store's transformation to kosher begins on opening day last month.
The Suris hadn't set out to make the store kosher. But during the first two days in business numerous customers asked about kosher foods—and the requests kept coming.
It was then they knew they'd found their niche.
Now, word of their kosher foods is spreading throughout the Jewish community.
"We have people coming in from Washington D.C. just to come here and eat the kosher hotdogs," she said.
She was referring to a few D.C. residents who visited Pikesville friends last month. Those friends took them out for hot dogs at the store, and when the D.C. residents came back into the area recently, they made a beeline for the store, Suri said.
Wieners aren't the only kosher foods here. The breads for the hot dogs are kosher, and so are all of the condiments. All of the ice cream is kosher, including the Drumsticks. Tastykake products are kosher, and so are the Twinkies.
"We are (now) ordering all kosher," Suri said.
During the free Slurpee promotion Monday, Pikesville resident Jonathan Lewin took a break from his job to buy a Big Gulp of cola in his refill cup. "I have three kids. I need the caffeine," he said. "And, it's midday. I usually start crashing about now."
Suri talked him into getting his own free Slurpee as well, and he chose Alienade, a flavor he described as a mix of strawberry, lemonade and another fruity flavor.
"It would be even better with a little rum in it," he quipped.