Manor Tavern, a more than 250-year-old establishment, changed ownership on Saturday.
The building opened as a stable in 1750, and has undergone several colorful transitions including stints as a rowdy saloon and a cock-fighting arena. Since 1986, the tavern, located at 15819 Old York Road in Monkton, has operated as a full-service restaurant.
Previous owner Mark Green sold the business to restaurant owners Patrick Russell and Bill Irvin, Baltimore businessman Jim Franzoni and William and John Mitcherling, owners of An Poitin Stil, a Timonium restaurant.
"I think the past owner has done a wonderful job," Irvin said. "But we're trying a new approach."
Specifically, the new owners are looking to make locally-sourced ingredients a top priority. They are working with a local farmer for meat, the orchards at Verdant View Farms for fruit, and they'll also be gardening on site. The owners have already tilled over two acres of property for growing crops.
"We're doing a farm to fork approach," Irvin said. "We want to provide solid, true flavors from fresh quality products."
Manor Tavern specializes in classic American cuisine, with an emphasis on wood-fired grilled meats.
"To create flavor without the need for heavy sauces, we are using an oak burning grill for most entrees and appetizers," Russell said in a press release. "Grilling over an open flame enhances flavor and sears in the juices of meat, while the aroma of the hickory, oak and mesquite mingles with our seasonings to infuse the senses."
In addition to menu changes, the owners are renovating the building and the property. This includes adding new gardens and interior decor enhancements. The renovations are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011, and the restaurant will remain open during this time.
To celebrate the management change, Irvin said Manor Tavern will be serving free champagne with dinner for the next several weeks.
"Manor Tavern has been a pillar of the community for many years," he said. "But we're bringing it to the next level."