East Baltimore restaurant The Boiler Room will open mid-January

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A New American restaurant serving rockfish pho and Reuben eggrolls will open later this month in a former industrial area of East Baltimore.

The Boiler Room will likely open Jan. 15 with 120 seats and goes before the liquor board Jan. 9, General Manager Richard Whelan says. The restaurant will be the first eatery in the Highland Forge complex, a collection of buildings whose tenants include Urban Axes, Monument City Brewing Co., and the Emerging Technology Centers.

The building was the site of a woodworking mill that produced gunstocks, wood veneers, and other wood products until World War II. David Seibert of Metro Development told the Baltimore Business Journal he spent $15 million renovating the buildings. The restaurant at 1 N. Haven St. takes its cues from its former life as the factory’s boiler room.

With exposed brick and wooden beams, the redesigned restaurant will pay homage to the 19th-century building’s industrial history. Visitors will even find a front plate of a boiler, weighing more than 1,400 pounds, hanging on a wall. “We felt we could create a restaurant with a contemporary menu while still keeping the historic feel to the interior,” Whelan says.

Former Woodberry Kitchen and Mama’s on the Half Shell chef Brian Szewczyk is cooking up a diverse menu that includes Buffalo wontons, fried cheese curds, roast chicken and paella, Whelan says. A brick oven pizza will fire up pies as well as oysters and other seafood. Most appetizers and sandwiches will cost around $10 to $12, except for the $20 brown butter crab roll. Entrees will cost around $20. About a fifth of the menu will change seasonally.  “This was a chance for me to develop my own menu with exciting and innovative twists on recognizable American dishes,” Szewczyk told Fishbowl in an email.

The drink menu will feature local draft beers from Union Craft Brewing, Flying Dog Brewery, Monument City, and others. The cocktail menu will highlight Prohibition-era and classic cocktails, including martinis, Manhattans, and old fashioneds.

In the summer, the restaurant will feature outdoor seating and live music and other events on its sizeable patio, which will seat 40 to 50 people.



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