For the second time in the last five years, a planned restaurant for the vacant properties at 1100-1106 S. Charles St. has fallen through. Several years ago, the restaurant group behind Ryleigh’s failed to reach a lease agreement with the property owner for the proposed Federales restaurant. The same group is currently pursuing Crossbar at the former Turners/Billabong location with the same liquor license that was to be used for Federales.
The ownership group behind Michael’s Cafe announced yesterday that they are no longer pursuing a new restaurant at the property. This comes after failing to reach a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the surrounding neighborhoods and canceling last Thursday’s Liquor Board hearing to transfer the former liquor license from Rowhouse Grille to the property (Rowhouse now uses Corks old license). Michael’s was proposing a 300-person restaurant with 4,000 square feet of dining space to be constructed on the Federal Hill property with developer and property owner Jake Ruppert.
In a statement from Michael’s:
“After several meetings with local community associations who want us to change our request for a 300 person occupancy level to a 150 person occupancy level; change our ratio of liquor to food sales (not allowing us to offer as many mixed drink options); and increase parking spaces from the seven we proposed to 50 in a lot where only seven can physically fit, we have decided that we can not alter the brand and image of Michael’s Cafe.
We are a restaurant not just a bar. We are a restaurant offering an excellent contemporary American menu. We are a restaurant whose sustainability is based on welcoming large events, including wedding parties and receptions. We are a restaurant where we want to create an experience for our clients who become life-long friends. We have a reputation to uphold, and without the support of the community associations to allow us to operate in a way for us to grow with and for the community, it is impossible for us to move forward with the addition of a Federal Hill location with our restaurant brand.”
The property lies within the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association and they told SouthBMore.com, “Jake Ruppert (property owner/developer) was very understanding in withdrawing from the Liquor Board. We are very excited to see the new proposal.”