Bourbon-Focused American Fare Restaurant ‘Copper Shark’ Opens in Locust Point

| June 22, 2022 | 0 Comments

Copper Shark, a bourbon-focused restaurant with seasonal American fare, opened this month at the Foundry on Fort Avenue complex at 921 E. Fort Ave. in Locust Point. Copper Shark fills a space that was occupied most recently by Ludlow Market and previously by Wine Market for many years.

Copper Shark is a new concept from Mid-Atlantic Eateries (MAE), which has three locations of the Eggspectations franchise including one in Ellicott City and two in Northern Virginia. MAE opened its first Eggspectations in Ellicott City 19 years ago. MAE President John Hinkle, who was working for Outback Steakhouse at the time, discovered Eggspectations in Montreal and decided to bring the franchise to the United States.

Merritt Companies is the landlord for Eggspectations’ Ellicott City location and approached MAE about the 4,700 sq. ft. restaurant space at the Foundry on Fort Avenue. MAE Controller Neal Shaivitz told the company had been toying around with launching a new concept for a couple years. MAE then began pursuing the idea in late 2019, but COVID-19 pushed it back.

Shaivitz said MAE fell in love with the “old world charm” of the space with its exposed brick, columns, and pulley system in the ceiling. They also love the large parking lot, as well as the Locust Point neighborhood and all the real estate investment it’s attracting.

The Copper Shark name is inspired by the Kavanagh family that produced copper pots for candy making in the early 1900s. When prohibition hit, the copper pots were used to bootleg whiskey.

The bar, which takes the space that was formerly the liquor store, has a large selection of bourbon and whiskey that will keep expanding as MAE builds its relationship with whiskey distributors that serve Baltimore City. Cocktails include “The Copper Shark” which is a smoked Buffalo Trace Manhattan; the American Treasure which is a smoked old fashioned with housemade syrup; and the “Drink Your Churro” which is bourbon with housemade horchata. Additional fresh-fruit cocktails are also available as well as wine and local beers.

The food menu is led by Chef Matthew Audette, a Locust Point resident who grew up in Boston. He said the menu has a local flare with New England, French, and Italian influence. The menu features a charcuterie station; a homemade “pastry” dessert menu with cakes, dessert cheeses, and Taharka Brothers ice cream; and seasonal dishes with local meat, seafood, and produce. About 50 percent of the bread is made in house using Chef Audette’s sourdough starter.

Appetizers include salads, crispy fried burrata, and the squid ink marechiara with crab, tuna, and scallops.

Entrees include three different cuts of steak, pan seared scallops with local mushrooms, pan roasted organic chicken, lamb loin, and fennel crusted ahi tuna nicoise.

The lunch menu is more casual with sandwiches while the bar menu features fries, pimento bites, crispy brussels sprouts, duck confit tacos, and a burger.

MAE took on a full renovation of the space. It relocated the bar, added a new men’s room, added a private dining room that seats 50 to 60 patrons, and spruced up the interior. The interior seats 160.

MAE is hoping to open the outdoor patio in the fall. It will have an awning covering most of it, as well as a full outdoor area with a fire pit.

Hinkle said he wants Copper Shark to be a neighborhood spot that is somewhere in between a white table cloth-style and casual restaurant.

MAE is hoping to keep the price points as low as possible so that neighbors can stop by more than once a week. Hinkle said many guests visited multiple times in Copper Shark’s first week.

“People here are so nice,” said Hinkle.

While Hinkle wants Copper Shark to appeal to the neighborhood, he is also hoping to bring in some of his clientele and friends from Howard County and other surrounding suburbs. He loves the easy access to the highways and the available parking at the Foundry on Fort Avenue.

Copper Shark is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 10pm and Sunday from 11am to 9pm. It will add a weekend brunch menu in the near future.

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