New Owners of Nick’s Fish House Looking to Add a Splash of The Starboard to the Already Popular Restaurant

| April 7, 2015 | 3 Comments

When Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Development approached Steve “Monty” Montgomery, owner of The Starboard in Dewey Beach, Delaware and co-owner of the two Bethany Blues’ locations on the Delaware Shore and Portside Tavern in Canton, about a restaurant opportunity at Nick’s Fish House in South Baltimore’s Port Covington, Montgomery didn’t jump at the opportunity. He was apprehensive since it was across the bridge from his Delaware businesses, but eventually decided to take a look. He brought Eric Sugrue from Big Fish Restaurant Group, which has 10 restaurants (nine in Delaware and one in Pennsylvania), with him during his trip to South Baltimore.

hanover port covingtonWhen they first saw the property last summer, everything changed. “Usually when you check out a potential restaurant, it’s because the place isn’t doing well, but this wasn’t the case,” said Montgomery. “We were initially intrigued by all the investment that will be coming to Port Covington, but when we took a look at Nick’s, we were so impressed with what they already have going on there.”

Montgomery, his business partner Jim Weisgerber, and Sugrue became the new owners in January.

Although Dewey Beach and the other Delaware beaches are more than two hours from South Baltimore, there has always been a strong relationship between the locations.

“You can tell Ravens Nation is really taking a strong hold on the shore. Many of my best friends have always lived in Baltimore and I’ve had a lot of fun here over the years,” said Montgomery, who makes his home in Delaware. “I’ve grown to absolutely love Baltimore and all its neighborhoods, so it’s kind of a dream come true to have a place here where I already have so many friends. It will also be great to have a built-in client base that already knows our product.”

When news broke of The Starboard’s new involvement with Nick’s Fish House, readers of SouthBMore.com reacted with great excitement on the website and SouthBMore.com’s social media channels. Many people also hoped The Starboard’s ‘World Famous Bloody Mary Smorgasbord’ would be coming to Nick’s, which Montgomery confirmed would indeed happen.

IMG_2100The Bloody Mary Smorgasbord will be available on weekends by the middle of May. Montgomery and his team are also already working on tweaking a few things at Nick’s. The menu will remain the same (plus or minus a few items), as will the recipes, but Sugrue and Big Fish Restaurant Group will be bringing in fresh fish everyday. Nick’s will no longer serve anything that has been frozen.

At the bar there will be several new types of crushes available and there will be an increased focus on local craft beers, especially Delaware-based Dogfish Head.

The outdoor deck is also currently getting rebuilt, which will change the layout a bit, and the bathrooms will be redone and much of the seating and furniture will be replaced. Brand-wise, the restaurant will have a new logo and employment-wise, the ownership team will keep the majority of the staff.

“We are really excited to be here,” said Laura Kolodgie of Big Fish Restaurant Group. “All the patrons have been so friendly and inviting.”

Nick’s will host live music several nights a week and will bring in some familiar bands from the shore, including Kristen and The Noise and Mr. Greengenes.

The adjacent Baltimore Yacht Basin Marina is now under new management with Sagamore, but Nick’s will have about 15-20 boat slips leased for customers coming by water. “A good marina will help the restaurant and a good restaurant will help the marina,” said Montgomery.

With many changes coming to Port Covington as Sagamore recently announced mixed-use redevelopment plans that include 3 million sq. ft. of office space for Under Armour and a new distillery for Sagamore Spirit, Montgomery assured SouthBMore.com that the property would remain Nick’s as they own the business and hold a long term lease at the site.

Montgomery and the team are hoping to benefit from the increase in development and foot traffic in the area in the future. “Nick’s is a popular place during the day and for happy hour, but I do think there will be a point that Port Covington will be more of a nighttime destination.”

With a few months under their belt and the busy time of the year approaching for Nick’s, the new team is excited for the ride. “We are going to hold on tight and do the best we can,” said Montgomery. “We are really looking forward to it.”

About the Author:

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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