There are new owners, but the best part is that the staff wasn't let go. "We didn't want them to lose a paycheck," says Bill Irvin, one of the partners who settled on the Manor Tavern property on Saturday. "All the staff stays with us."
With that kind of good vibe, the new partners—Irvin and Patrick Russell, owner of Kooper's Tavern, Sláinte, and Woody's Rum Bar in Fells Point; An Poitin Stil's Dr. William and Dr. John Mitcherling; and Baltimore businessman Jim Franzoni—are set to reinvent the Manor Tavern in Monkton.
In the meantime, the restaurant remains open and never shut down during the Saturday transition, serving its usual dinner service, said Irvin, who is also director of operations at Russell's restaurants. "We'll do a little bit this week," he said of menu changes. "There's more to come."
The restaurant will focus on local sourcing from nearby farms to offer dishes that "are fresh, farm to fork," Irvin said today when I talked to him.
The new owners are already tilling six acres of land to plant seasonal vegetables for the menu. And the restaurant, set in the beautiful countryside, pictured, in northern Baltimore County, will undergo interior renovations, including updating kitchen equipment.
We reported in January that Patrick Russell had filed for a liquor-license application to acquire the Manor Tavern's license. These deals take time.
Irvin compared the acquisition to having a new baby: "You take it home and think, 'What do I do with it now?"
It sounds like these guys already have a plan for the restaurant, which has a fascinating history. It started as a stable, then was a dirt-floor saloon with cockfights and gamblers. It became a full-service restaurant in 1986.
Stay tuned for the restaurant's next chapter.