After sitting dormant for over a year, a new restaurant opening next week at the old Sanders Corner will aim to bring a bit of buzz to the Loch Raven reservoir area.
McFaul's Ironhorse Tavern at Sanders Corner will open Friday, June 29.
"It's been a great few months getting this together," said co-owner Glenn McFaul, of Towson, to a crowd of county officials and local leaders who gathered for a "soft opening" on Tuesday, June 19.
"It's been a lot of work," he said, "but we were able to put together a really good vision here to keep the tradition with Sanders alive."
Owned by McFaul and his wife, Kristin, along with her father, Walt Lashno, Matt Remsnyder, co-owner of Sean Bolan's in Bel Air, and Chuck Trunk, the restaurant has the goal of shining a light on some of Baltimore's heritage with its décor while providing modern local fare.
Fans of the old restaurant at Sanders Corner, which closed in 2011, will recognize the space, but little else about McFaul's on their first visit.
Inside, the restaurant is split into three rooms. To the left is the Ironhorse Room, which boasts a rustic theme. Knotty pine walls are lined with photographs of the area's old rail stations and previous incarnations of the Sander's Corner building, and by moving the bar into a different room, the Ironhorse Room has more room for diners than before.
Past the Ironhorse Room is the Loch Raven Room, which contains a new full-length bar and more dining area.
The third dining room, the Baltimore Room, is an airy, sky-blue space that, during a tour for county officials Tuesday, immediately conjured up ideas of Sunday brunch.
Kristin McFaul said brunch would likely begin in late summer at the new restaurant.
The outside porch, which extends off the back of the building and provides a scenic vista of the area around the reservoir, also features a new bar, and plenty of space for patrons to enjoy the summer weather.
Lashno described the restaurant as "not a sports bar, but casual fine dining with a nice bar room and a bar outside."
Chef Evan Orser will serve up what Lashno called "Maryland cuisine," with traditional local dishes cooked up using local products.
The crabmeat is from Tilghman Island, the ice cream from Prigel Family Creamery of Glen Arm, the chicken and ground beef from Albright Farms, and the produce will all be locally grown.
"We just want to do it better than the next guy," Lashno said.
On Tuesday, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz was joined by county officials for a preview luncheon. Many patrons were impressed by what they saw.
"It's a beautiful restaurant," said 5th District County Councilman David Marks. "They've invested quite a bit of money to improve it, and I think it's going to be a key destination — not just for people hiking in the Loch Raven Reservoir, but for families who want a nice restaurant in an outdoor setting."
Nancy Hafford, a county planning board member and executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce, said "once they get moving, I think they're going to do a phenomenal job."
"It's a wonderful location, they've hired a wonderful chef, and they've done a very good job on the décor," Hafford said
Hafford, a self-proclaimed seafood lover, said the salmon, miniature fish and chips, and blackened tuna "hit all the right spots."
"All the food they put out today was very good," Hafford said. "If it's an example of the food they're going to be serving, they're going to do extremely well."