Bourbon-focused American cuisine restaurant ‘Copper Shark’ opens in Locust Point
Copper Shark, a bourbon-focused restaurant offering seasonal American fare, opened this month in the Foundry on Fort Avenue complex at 921 E. Fort Ave. at Locust Point. Copper Shark occupies space that was more recently occupied by Ludlow Market and previously by Wine Market for many years.
Copper Shark is a new concept from Mid-Atlantic Eateries (MAE), which has three Eggspectations franchise locations, including one in Ellicott City and two in Northern Virginia. MAE opened its first Eggspectations in Ellicott City 19 years ago. MAE President John Hinkle, then working for Outback Steakhouse, discovered Eggspectations in Montreal and decided to bring the franchise to the United States.
Merritt Companies is the owner of Eggspectations’ Ellicott City location and approached MAE about the 4,700 square foot restaurant space at the Foundry on Fort Avenue. MAE Comptroller Neal Shaivitz told SouthBMore.com that the company has been toying with launching a new concept for a few years. MAE then began pursuing the idea in late 2019, but COVID-19 pushed it back.
Shaivitz said MAE fell in love with the “old world charm” of the space with its exposed brickwork, columns and ceiling pulley system. They also love the large parking lot, as well as the Locust Point neighborhood and all the real estate investment it attracts.
The name Copper Shark is inspired by the Kavanagh family who produced copper pots for candy making in the early 1900s. When Prohibition hit, copper pots were used to counterfeit whiskey.
The bar, which occupies the space that was once the liquor store, offers a wide selection of bourbon and whiskey that will continue to expand as MAE builds its relationship with whiskey distributors serving the city of Baltimore. . Cocktails include “The Copper Shark” which is a smoky Buffalo Trace Manhattan; the American Treasure which is an old fashioned smoked with homemade syrup; and the “Drink Your Churro” which is bourbon with homemade horchata. Additional fresh fruit cocktails are also available, as well as wine and local beers.
The menu is led by Chef Matthew Audette, a Locust Point resident who grew up in Boston. He said the menu had a local flair with influence from New England, France and Italy. The menu features a charcuterie station; a menu of homemade “pastry chefs” desserts with cakes, dessert cheeses and Taharka Brothers ice cream; and seasonal dishes with meat, seafood and local produce. About 50% of the bread is homemade using Chef Audette’s sourdough starter.
Appetizers include salads, crispy fried burrata, and squid ink marechiara with crab, tuna, and scallops.
Appetizers include three different cuts of steak, seared scallops with local mushrooms, pan-roasted organic chicken, lamb loin and fennel-crusted ahi tuna.
The lunch menu is more casual with sandwiches while the bar menu offers fries, chili bites, crispy Brussels sprouts, duck confit tacos, and a burger.
MAE undertook a complete renovation of the space. He moved the bar, added a new men’s room, added a private dining room that could seat 50–60 customers, and spruce up the interior. The interior can accommodate 160 people.
MAE hopes to open the outdoor terrace in the fall. It will have an awning covering most of it, as well as a full outdoor area with a fire pit.
Hinkle said he wanted Copper Shark to be a neighborhood spot that fell somewhere between a white tablecloth and a casual restaurant.
MAE hopes to keep prices as low as possible so neighbors can stop by more than once a week. Hinkle said many guests visited multiple times during Copper Shark’s first week.
“People here are so nice,” Hinkle said.
While Hinkle wants Copper Shark to appeal to the neighborhood, he also hopes to bring in some of his clientele and friends from Howard County and other surrounding suburbs. He likes the easy freeway access and parking available at the foundry on Fort Avenue.
Copper Shark is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It will soon add a weekend brunch menu.
About the Author: Kevin Lynch
Founder and publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore and graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O fan, father of three, amateur pizza maker, skateboarder and foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.