'Warehouse' restaurant opens NTC

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July 19, 1992|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

A restaurant that's just opened in the Inner Harbor East has an old Baltimore name and a Big City look. Bohager's, at the corner of Fleet and Eden streets, is the first new retail project in the heavily industrial 20-acre site south and east of Little Italy.

Partners Jim Mikula and Tom Douglas, who teamed up previously at Weber's on Boston, have enlisted Weber's chef Bob Morgan in the new venture, which features a moderately priced, all-grill menu -- ribs, steaks, burgers and seafood -- and the open, "warehouse" style that has been popular in cities such as New York and Chicago.

"Basically we're keeping it very simple and to the point," says Mark Fischer, one of the new restaurant's managers. "It's casual and fun."

The building once housed Bohager's wastepaper management

firm, a business that was founded in 1854. "We've come full cycle," says Damian Bohager, another manager at the restaurant who started out negotiating for his family for the lease for the restaurant and got drawn into the project: "My original ancestor, in the 1840s, had a bar at Bank and Central."

The restaurant, designed largely by Mr. Mikula and Mr. Douglas, keeps the industrial look of the original space, with exposed ceiling framework, high windows and lots of steel. The inside space, which seats 150, has been divided in two, with a bar area on the lower level and a dining area a few steps up. Dominating the dining area is the huge grill, which sits behind a tiled counter but is otherwise open to the room. "As you're sitting here," Mr. Fischer says, "you can see what you get."

Dominating one wall in the bar area is a huge mural painted by Mr. Bohager's brother-in-law, Patrick Lears, and two friends. It's based on a famous 1921 black-and-white photograph by Albert Hine, called "The Steamfitter."

There is also an outdoor area that seats 80; it will feature live music and other events. The restaurant also has its own parking lot. "One of our big pluses is on-site parking for 160 cars," Mr. Fischer says with a grin.

Bohager's is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day, and food is served up to midnight.

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