LEGENDARY HUNT VALLEY

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By Carley Milligan – Digital Editor, Baltimore Business Journal

The Oregon Grille will reopen in early 2023 after a multimillion-dollar renovation by Atlas Restaurant Group, the company's CEO said recently to the BBJ.

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Alex Smith said the legendary Hunt Valley restaurant will welcome diners back in mid-January after originally planning for an opening this fall. He attributed the delay to difficulties with getting orders for custom furniture and other fixtures fulfilled.

The Oregon Grille, which celebrated 25 years in business this year, closed temporarily in March for the Atlas renovation spearheaded by local designer and frequent Atlas collaborator, Patrick Sutton.

When it reopens, diners will find a mix of the old and the new in the restaurant, which now sports an open-concept dining room on the first floor. There, a four-seat caviar and martini bar has been added next to the piano. Smith said booths were also removed to help create more space and open up the area.

The first-floor bar area also has a new bar top that replaced the old curved one. This change allowed the room to double in size and accommodate high-top seating. In the first floor dining room and bar, plaster was removed in some areas to expose the stone walls of the 19th-century farmhouse the restaurant occupies.

Outside, the patio was overhauled and now includes a 26-seat bar, fire pits and other seating.

The second- and third-floor dining rooms were also renovated. The third-floor space serves as a private dining room that can seat around 30 people. Other improvements included roof repairs, repainting the exterior of the building and installing hardwood floors in place of carpeting.

Renderings of the renovated restaurant show dark wood and leather furniture, dim lighting and swanky gold accents. The Oregon Grille's famous fox that keeps watch over the bar area will remain, Smith said.

"It's going to have all the best parts of the Grille, but will be very new and very different," he said.

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A rendering of the Oregon Grille after a multimillion-dollar renovation by Atlas Restaurant Group and designed by Patrick Sutton.

ATLAS RESTAURANT GROUP

Atlas plans to hire at least 75 employees at The Oregon Grill when it reopens and will begin staffing up after Christmas with training to start in early January. Smith added that the restaurant will be close to finished in December, but with the holiday season, the Atlas team decided to wait until after the new year for the grand reopening.

The restaurant will offer daily lunch and dinner service and some type of live entertainment nightly, similar to Atlas' other concepts. The menu will be larger than it once was and feature entirely new dishes as well as some staples The Oregon Grill was known for.

Atlas acquired The Oregon Grille in December for an undisclosed price and took over operations on Jan. 1. At around the same time, the Baltimore restaurant group also bought the Valley Inn. State property records show the Lutherville restaurant, located in a historic former roadhouse, sold for $6.1 million. The group didn't make any major changes to the Valley Inn.

Ted Bauer, the longtime owner of both dining landmarks, is staying on as a partner and consultant as part of the deal.

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A photo of The Oregon Grille prior to the renovation.

COURTESY OF THE OREGON GRILLE

The two restaurants add to Atlas' Baltimore County holdings, which include Perennial and Cunningham's Cafe in Towson. Overall, the Harbor East-based group owns more than 25 bars and restaurants in Maryland, Texas, Florida and Washington, D.C.

The Oregon Grille and Valley Inn also continue a trend of Atlas purchasing existing concepts, such as Waterfront Hotel and Admiral's Cup, both in Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood, and the James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant in Harbor East, which reopened in late September.

Up next, the restaurant group has plans to convert the former Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Harbor East into two separate concepts: a classic steakhouse and a cocktail bar offering nightly live jazz sets.

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