Michael’s Cafe Eyes Federal Hill for New Restaurant

| June 12, 2013 | 2 Comments

photoIf the owners of Michael’s Cafe in Timonium and developer Jake Ruppert can successfully transfer The Rowhouse Grille’s old 6-day liquor license to 1000-1006 S. Charles St. they will pursue a new Federal Hill restaurant.  A July 11th liquor board hearing is scheduled  for the transfer and Michael’s is seeking the approval of the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association (SBNA) and the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association (FHNA).

The site of the Federal Hill property, located across from the Cross Street Market, currently features a boarded up building once used as an auto body shop and a parking lot.  The project would take up to 18 months once construction begins.  “The first step is getting the liquor license for the project to move forward,” said Jake Ruppert at the June SBNA meeting.

“This could change the game on Cross Street and Charles Street,” said Joe Woolman, a real estate attorney representing the group.  “I live in the neighborhood, am older and would love to see a place with an older crowd… I miss places like Bandaloops and Corks.”

“We are a restaurant first,” said Micheal’s Cafe owner Michael Dellis. “Hightopps in Timonium gets a very young crowd and that crowd does not come over to Michael’s Cafe.”

“On average, we serve 4,000 people a month in Timonium and maybe once every three months we have an incident where someone needs to be removed,” said Steve Dellis of Michael’s Cafe.

The proposed restaurant incorporates the rowhouse at 1006 S. Charles St. with plans to tear down the existing adjacent garages.  A two-story addition would be built at the property and would include a 4,000 square foot dining space, an outdoor patio on each floor and a 1,600 square foot kitchen. Additionally, 11 parking spaces would be available for patrons at the rear of the property on Olive St.

The restaurant renderings also included a bar area with permanent booths, a dining room with tables that would not be removed to accommodate a dance floor and an upstairs that would be used mostly for special events including weddings and bereavements.  The first floor would hold approximately 200 people and the second floor would have an approximate 100-person capacity. The second floor would also be completely handicap accessible.

At the SBNA meeting, chef and partner Warren Norris shared a sample menu that included appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees featuring crab cakes, other seafood, steaks and more.

Concerns were heard about the amount extra cars the restaurant would bring to the area as well the addition of another large bar/restaurant in an area described by some in the audience as, “already overcrowded.”

The owners said that most events they would host would be during the day as they don’t want to hold them at times when they are already busy.

The plans for the restaurant will be discussed at this month’s FHNA meeting and again at SBNA’s July 9th meeting.

Update 10/9:  After facing a protest from the surrounding communities, the developers have decided to postpone their October 10th Liquor Board hearing. They will go back to the drawing board to seek a concept that is more consistent with the interests of the community.

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Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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