Regi’s American Bistro in Federal Hill Listed for Sale, Remains Open

| January 25, 2018 | 1 Comments

Regi’s American Bistro at 1002 Light St. in Federal Hill is listing its business for sale for $600,000. This listing price does not include the building and has a $7,000 per month asking price for rent. Regi’s will remain open while the business is on the market.

Regi’s serves lunch and dinner every day with daily dishes and specials including soups, appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, and entree salads. Regi’s is open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant has a bar; a seven-day beer, wine, and liquor license; two dining rooms; a kitchen; a covered outdoor patio; and an office and storage space.

Also on the market in Federal Hill is Stalking Horse and the former Boiler Room. Metropolitan, also in Federal Hill, recently closed and the former space will likely be offered for sale.

Owner Alan Morstein, who has owned Regi’s for 15 years, told it was time to move on to something else. Morstein, talking baseball, compared himself to an aging first baseman surrounded by young new players who keep hitting the field.

“Once you’ve hit your peak, it’s hard to keep the momentum going,” he said. “That’s what we face – there are so many new restaurants and pop-ups. Competition has increased and the number of people entering the city has decreased. We get great reviews, but volume is down. If we moved Regi’s to another location, it would be hot because of our menu and our reviews.”

“To be around for 15 years is a testimony to the spot, the neighborhood, and the restaurant,” he added.

Morstein raved about the support Regi’s gets from people in the neighborhood, but said that it’s hard to get people from outside the city to come in. “The parking is very difficult and there is a perceived lack of safety in the city. People from the city love the city, but people from the county can get antsy,” he said.

Morstein told that there has also been a steady decline in sales in the almost three years since the unrest. “The city has to build back people’s confidence and they’ll come back,” he added.

Morstein is still a big believer in the city and the location, and is excited about the 44-story tower 414 Light Street that is under construction just several blocks north of Regi’s and the potential new patrons it will bring. He said that Regi’s is an iconic restaurant and noted that the next owner should do very well.

Regi’s has been open since 1978 and Morstein is the third owner. Regi’s yearly sales are $1 million, according to the Business & Commercial Ventures’ listing. Morstein said it is not his call if the new owner wants to keep the name or change it.

He also noted that the two buildings that make up Regi’s, both of which he owns, could be available for the right price. The entire three-story space is 3,252 sq. ft.

The Regi’s listing went live last week and Morstein said there has already been interest. Showings to prospective buyers begin next week.

Morstein is not yet ready for retirement and said he still has “a lot of gas left in the tank.” “I want to do something on a smaller scale. I don’t want the long hours and the big responsibility of owning a restaurant of this magnitude,” he said.

Morstein will be looking at restaurant properties next week in North Baltimore neighborhoods. “It will have a limited menu extracting some of Regi’s most popular dishes, plus beer and wine. To do that in a smaller environment would be a lovely way to ride out.”

He also noted that he has four grandchildren, including three under the age of three, and looks forward to spending more time with them.

Morstein has spent many years in the restaurant industry, previously owning delis in Baltimore and Ocean City and later starting the Talking Turkey franchise that once had more than 28 locations.

For now, Morstein is still running Regi’s, and he and wife Sandy Morstein hope to see all of their friends at least one more time. “When guests come in, some hug me and pat me on the back,” he said. “I tell them not to be sorry for me. I’m happy about everything I did – this is a happy moment, not a somber one.”

Photos courtesy of the Business & Commercial Ventures’ listing

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