A quietly elegant change of pace in Columbia

Appeal: Morgan's Seafood Grille wants to attract people who are looking for a new dinner spot.

Restaurant profile

Howard Live

March 22, 2001|By Fraser Smith | Fraser Smith,SUN STAFF

If you're bored with the same old restaurant decor, you might want to try Morgan's Seafood Grille in Columbia.

Having quietly shucked its old cigar bar feature, Morgan's wants to market its quietly elegant, yet comfortable surroundings as a dinner destination for the chain-weary diner.

Morgan's wants to throw a change of pace on the food as well.

"People are starting to get tired of that food," says William Weiner, Morgan's manager.

Every new fleet of restaurants, he says, seems to copy the successes of its predecessors: the deep-fried onion, for example.

Morgan's offers a recognizable array of entrees from Maryland crab soup to its most daring, what it calls Fettucini Chesapeake - lump crab meat, fresh spinach and Alfredo sauce. The usual selection of sandwiches is available, and several dishes can be ordered with reduced fat and salt.

Though geared to the convenience of Hilton Hotel guests, Morgan's management thinks it can appeal to Columbians looking for a new dinner spot. Its polished woodwork, comfortable banquettes and funky sports motif - rackets, oars, propellers, saddles and photographs - have a lot of appeal.

The cigar bar idea fell away with the loss of that activity's recent glamour. Weiner says the preponderance of customers want a smoke-free environment. For those who don't, the bar has an ample area for diners who smoke.

He says Morgan's wants to escape its status as "best-kept restaurant secret" in Columbia. To that end, he has put the restaurant in Entertainment, the membership association that offers a buy-one, get-one-free entree. The next Entertainment book comes out this summer, Weiner said.

Morgan's also seeks to lure new business with a Monday-through-Friday happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Features include All Night Long Corona for $3 a bottle, Two for Tuesday Tacos (half-price) and other deals.

On the weekends, Morgan's offers a breakfast buffet early Saturday and Sunday, and a Sunday brunch ($17.99) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A report on Morgan's bid for your attention must include careful directions because, despite a sign visible from Route 175, the restaurant seems to be hiding on a dead-end street.

Turn south on Thunder Hill Road from Route 175. Then go less than a block to Twin Knolls Road on the right and look for the red and white Hilton Hotel sign. The restaurant is just up the hill.

There's plenty of parking near the door.

Morgan's Seafood Grille

Where: 5485 Twin Knolls Road: 410-997-1060.

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays; 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays.

Prices: Appetizers, $6.99 to $9.99; entrees: $9.99 to $13.99.

Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners Club and Discover

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