Reynolds Tavern reopens with pub, tearoom and inn


January 16, 2003|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

After four years of vacancy, the historic Reynolds Tavern is back in business in Annapolis. Not only that, but it's been expanding just about monthly since its November rebirth.

British immigrants Andrew and Jill Pettit bought the 1746 building at 7 Church Circle last spring. They spent the next six months renovating. Now open are the Sly Fox Pub in the cellar; the Reynolds Tea Room on the first floor; and a small inn - one room and two suites ($220-$320 a night) - upstairs. Coming any day now is a patisserie on the first floor.

Andrew Pettit says he and his wife tried to restore the historic tavern as close to the original look as they could - furnishing it "top to bottom" with antiques from England, mostly in "18th-century mode."

The couple brings some experience in the old-England eatery biz. Andrew Pettit's family ran several pubs in England, so he says he grew up in the business. And his wife ran a restaurant in England - in another historic building - in the late 1980s.

The Sly Fox offers pretty much what Americans would call pub fare: appetizers such as chicken wings and steamed shrimp, soups and salads, burgers and other hot sandwiches, and entrees such as roast chicken and bouillabaisse.

The tearoom offers light lunches and a variety of teas, of course. For afternoon tea, you not only get to pick from among several black, green and herb teas, but you can choose the cream tea - a pot of tea, two scones, whipped cream and strawberry preserves ($6.75). There's also the savory tea - a pot of tea, scones, finger sandwiches, tea breads and pastries ($15.50). Or go to the max with the full tea - all of the savory tea items plus a slice of quiche or a cup of soup ($19.50). Just don't expect huge portions.

"This is not the place where you order a sandwich and get half a pound of meat [in it]," Andrew Pettit says, referring to the tearoom. "What you get here is the best quality of meat and fillings." They do call them finger - not fist - sandwiches, after all.

Full steam ahead

Maybe it's the high-protein mentality these days, but Japanese steakhouses seem to be sprouting up all over the Baltimore area. One of the latest is Kobe Japanese Steak House, which opened recently at the Avenue at White Marsh, right next to the movie theater.

Manager Alex Hong says there are three Kobe restaurants in Virginia, but this is the first in Maryland.

Hong says there are 14 hibachi or teppan yaki grill tables in this Kobe, each with seating for 10 to 12 around it. There is also a sushi bar, and tables there to seat about 40 people.

The Kobe grill entrees include your choice of meat, chicken or seafood - or a combination thereof. You also get soup, salad, shrimp appetizer, vegetables, steamed rice and ginger or mustard sauce. Entrees range from $11.95 to $31.95. Sushi prices generally hover around $4 to $5, but the maki rolls reach as high as $17.95.

Kobe Japanese Steak House is at 8165 Honeygo Blvd. It's open seven days a week.

Big Bubba at harbor

You're going to see a new name popping up at Harborplace soon. Wayne's Barbecue will become Big Bubba's BBQ by mid-February.

Wayne Brokke opened the Soup Kitchen in the Light Street Pavilion when Harborplace itself opened in 1980. In the early 1990s, he changed the name and fare (from soup to barbecue).

After Sept. 11, 2001, Brokke says, tourism and convention business fell way off, and that hurt business. So he closed up shop this past September.

The space was taken over by Kostas Alexakis, who also owns the Harborplace restaurant Tex Mex Grill. Alexakis reopened Wayne's in November, but has been slowly making changes.

When the new name goes up, he says, so will a new menu, still featuring barbecue dishes and steaks, but including more Southern dishes.

"After all, I'm a Southerner," Alexakis jokes. "From southern Greece."

Meanwhile, Brokke is putting his 25 years of restaurant experience to good use. He has started a consulting business and says he's already advising other restaurants. He also will be publishing a cookbook this year and is marketing a line of corn bread, barbecue and steak sauces, which you can find at Angel's Grocery Store in Pasadena.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions by fax to Sloane Brown at 410-675-3451, or by e-mail to

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