Rusty Scupper to undergo face lift Colorful outside, redo of insides planned at harbor dining site

January 15, 1996|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

The Rusty Scupper Restaurant overlooking Baltimore's Inner Harbor will receive a $1.5 million face lift by May as part of an effort by its owners to remain competitive with newer offerings around the waterfront.

Select Restaurants of Cleveland, which owns the three-story building at 402 Key Highway, has presented its work plans to Baltimore's Architectural Review Board.

"The interiors will be totally changed and upgraded," with new furniture and finishes and an enlarged kitchen, said designer Lee Driskill of Anshen & Allen, architects for the project.

"The menu has been expanded over the years, and the kitchen had to be expanded to handle the menu," he explained.

When the 230-seat restaurant opened in 1982, it was one of the first attractions on the south shore of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Select acquired it in 1992, when it purchased 35 restaurants in 11 states from the Stouffer Corp.

"We've been very successful in Baltimore," said Frank Palumbo, Select's vice president in charge of real estate and development. "It's time to upgrade it for the late 1990s."

Part of the owner's goal is to make the restaurant's exterior more noticeable to people on the north shore of the Inner Harbor so they will be encouraged to walk around the shoreline to patronize it.

A new color scheme will be introduced and sail-like canopies will be added over outdoor dining tables to draw more attention to the building, Mr. Driskill said.

"We want to add life and color to the outside of the building, so that people will know a restaurant is over there and not just a marina, as it may appear to be," he said.

A large illuminated sign was added two years ago, but the designers want to make the building itself appear more "festive," Mr. Driskill said. The design team also plans to reconfigure the entrance, and possibly add a seating and service area to animate the lower level, he added.

Bob Berman of Johnson/Berman is the interior designer. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. is the contractor.

The overhaul, which Select is privately financing, is one of several planned for Inner Harbor restaurants.

Owners of the Inn at Pier 5 closed that facility this month, in part to construct several new restaurants that are scheduled to open April. The Rouse Company also has disclosed plans to renovate the Harborplace pavilions to make room for several larger restaurants, if it can obtain financial assistance from the city.

Other new restaurants include Victor's Cafe, near President and Lancaster streets, and the Joy America Cafe inside the American Visionary Arts Museum on Key Highway at Covington Street.

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