Photo by Ethan McLeod

In culinary terms, George Marsh knows how to get the most out of an animal. He cut his teeth leading the butchery program for the lauded Woodberry Kitchen and, from 2013 to summer 2018, served as head chef for Remington’s now-shuttered whole-animal butchery and eatery Parts and Labor.

“I loved my job there, I loved what I was doing, I loved the place. The butcher shop was my baby,” he says. “I don’t think I could get rid of that–it’s part of me now. It’s how I think and how I do things. I know it’s a good way to operate.”

And he plans to put that resourceful approach to use soon in Govans, where he’s planning a new barbecue spot, Heritage Smokehouse, with a smoker out back. The eatery will replace the former Murphy’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill in a squat brick building at 5800 York Road.

He scoured the city and county for about a year for the right space, and “this one really seemed to have all of what I felt like this place needed,” he says. It carries the added perk of being close to home; Marsh and his family have lived in the neighborhood for more than a decade.

His planned menu includes BBQ staples–pulled pork, pork shoulder, ribs, brisket and chicken, all smoked, and sides like potato salad and coleslaw–plus vegetarian options. Along with the regular offerings, he wants to offer more elaborate feasts for larger parties, like a smoked hog’s head or prime rib dinner.

“I kind of want to have fun with it. I don’t want to pin down the food to any kind of barbecue.”

Aesthetically, Heritage Smokehouse will have a “throwback” and “approachable” vibe, he says, with lots of knotty pine, like what you’d find in a retro finished basement, and old-school video and arcade games in the front of the house.

“I’m really not trying to have a place that makes people feel uncomfortable when they come in,” he says. “Barbecue isn’t pretentious, it’s not supposed to be fancy. It’s supposed to be satisfying, it’s supposed to be fun.”

He still needs to get the space move-in ready. It was gutted after a fire at the former Murphy’s, and crews have removed a couple walls and moved others to give it a more open feel. Marsh plans to expand the kitchen and redo the front facade by replacing the brick with floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

He hasn’t pinned down a target for opening just yet, but hopes to be serving customers by the holidays.

Heritage will sit adjacent to Senegalese restaurant Nailah’s Kitchen, which moved to Govans in 2016, and two blocks up from Full Tilt Brewing and its connected Accelerator Space, which debuted this past winter. It’s also just a few blocks south of the Senator Theatre and Belvedere Square.

Marsh says he looks forward to joining the mix, noting “there’s definitely a little pocket there on York Road where you can see things starting to happen.”

“I really think that people are gonna respond to this. It’s something that I think is gonna be good for the area.”

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...