Local oysters, freshly caught rockfish, yellow perch and the main attraction, blue crabs—this planned Perry Hall restaurant is serious about its Chesapeake Bay seafood.
Conrad's Seafood Restaurant is expected to open in spring 2013, but only after extensive renovations to the former bar and nightlife venue Surf City at 9654 Belair Rd., according to part-owner and Perry Hall resident Andrea Conrad.
The restaurant will be an extension of Conrad's Crabs on Joppa Road in Parkville—a carryout restaurant and seafood market opened by Andrea Conrad and her husband Anthony Conrad in 2007.
"My husband is a waterman and we work with other local waterman, as well. For nearly six years, we've been successful because our seafood is fresh and local," Andrea Conrad said.
Around 2010, the couple began searching for a higher profile sit-down location, where they could showcase their chef-made menu items in a nicer atmosphere, "more Liberatore's than Bill Bateman's," according to Andrea Conrad.
Unexpectedly, she said, they recently decided on a location five minutes away from home—the former Surf City location that closed this past summer.
"It's a great location. Of course, it needs renovations, but the structure is there. Otherwise, we're changing it completely," Andrea Conrad said. "It's going to be great for the community."
Chef Joe Lancelotta and his brother and business partner Mike Lancelotta are joining the Conrads in the venture, which represents an investment of more than $500,000.
Nearly all of the most popular menu items from their Parkville location, including the crab soup, crab cakes and popular fried hard crab, will carry over in some form to the Perry Hall restaurant, Andrea Conrad said.
The new venue will also offer an oyster bar and space enough for a crab feast. "When you're eating crabs with friends, you could be there two hours. You need room to spread out," she added.
Andrea Conrad said they're looking forward to revamping the historic space, which has been owned by Bill Ruppert since about 1985.
Prior to becoming Surf City, one of few nightlife venues in the Perry Hall area, it was known as the Perry Hall Inn & Pub. Before that, it belonged to former State Sen. Thomas Bromwell, and was called Bromwell Inn, according to Ruppert.
Previously, the business was owned by the locally prominent Kahl family, he said.
According to a 2002 Baltimore Sun obituary, Kahl's Inn was first established in 1900, and remained in the family until it was sold by Marie J. Kahl and her husband Lawrence Kahl in the 1970s.
"The restaurant, said family members, was known for Mrs. Kahl's homemade backfin crab cakes and fried chicken, and once had been home to the 11th District Democratic Club," the article stated.
How Conrad's crab cakes compare to the Kahl family's of decades ago will be up to the community to decide.
Do you expect the new restaurant to be successful? Tell us why or why not in the comments.