Motor House is getting an additional concert space, complete with an attached bar and restaurant.
The venue, to be called Showroom, is staying true to its roots. The 2,800-square-foot space that once housed Eastwick Motors, Baltimore’s first Ford dealership, will soon hold two rooms, one serving as a bar and café and another as a performance venue. Showroom will have capacity for 70 guests, not including outdoor seating.
Food-wise, Showroom will serve locally sourced comfort dishes by day and street food by night. The bar will have craft cocktails and local beers on tap during the evenings.
Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation, which owns the nonprofit art performance and studio space, is bringing in Daniel Horwitz to serve as executive chef. Horwitz’s menu will include a range of exotic dishes, many derived from Latin American tastes. Among them: a Texas brisket-and-egg sandwich topped with pickled onions and salsa verde on sourdough bread; a Peruvian chicken sandwich on ciabatta, topped with fried plantains; and “bolsitas,” a street-food-style taco in a bag, to be served at dinner.
Varieties of the latter will include the Jammin Bolsita, a spicy pork shoulder stew version with coconut milk and scotch bonnet chile, served over plantain chips with pickled carrot and mango salsa, and the Proper Bolsita, made with English-style braised beef shortribs, served over kettle chips with horseradish dill dressing.
For performances, Showroom will have a stage with lighting and pro audio equipment, plus a booth built directly into the bar for local and touring DJs. Motor House will put up original work by Baltimore artists on the walls, including a “rotating exhibit of street art” paying homage to nearby Graffiti Alley.
Motor House is becoming a far cry from its predecessor, Load of Fun, the DIY art space that operated there from 2005 to 2013. The city shut down Load of fun after someone called in a code violation, similar to what happened with the Bell Foundry building late last year. What’s emerged is a modern-looking arts venue with offices for seven arts nonprofits, a 150-seat performance venue, 14 artist studios and a gallery.
Showroom will showcase music ranging from classical and jazz to electronic, indie, hip-hop and soul, as well as “global” sounds, according to Motor House’s new managing director Andre Mazlin. He said in a statement that he envisions the new venue transforming its nearby corner “with a lively arts café spilling out onto North Avenue.”
Mazlin joined Motor House in June. He owns Mount Vernon’s “The Room,” a popular fair-trade coffee shop, bar and community space geared toward Baltimore artists.
Schamu Machowski + Patterson Architects, Inc., is handling architecture plans, Younts Design, Inc. is in charge of branding and environmental graphics, and Kaliber Construction is serving as the general contractor.
The new cafe and concert space is expected to open in October.