Thursday, June 16, 2011

From Roadhouse to Wine Bar

This evening an informed source told me that the owners of the Friendly Inn have reached an agreement with Rob and Steve Wecker to operate the renovated Friendly Inn on Frederick Road in Ellicott City. Rob and Steve are the proprietors of the popular Iron Bridge Wine Company on Route 108 in Columbia.

The country roadhouse, that once hosted live bluegrass music, closed in late February with plans to reopen as a more family friendly venue.  According to this story by Mary T. Robbins Phelan in Maryland Family Magazine, the owner Jason Cooke “said “the decision to revamp the former roadhouse comes in large part because of feedback from families in the surrounding neighborhoods.”

“As you look at the demographics, it’s 40-somethings with a couple of kids. I have been very in tune over the last three years in trying to win over their support for the Friendly and to listen to their reservations. And the fact that we have operated in the past as a bluegrass bar, a biker bar — it has been a turn off.”

Turning a former roadhouse into an upscale wine bar is right up the Wecker brothers alley. Before they took it over the Iron Bridge Wine Company was also a roadhouse bar called the Crown Pub.

The new restaurant is expected to open soon. No word yet as to what it will be called.

UPDATE 5:08 PM Friday: I just heard from Rob Wecker at the Iron Bridge Wine Company. As he puts it, "Steve and I are not involved with the Friendly Inn project."

He asked that I update the blog. Done, with apologies for the bad info.

So much for my "informed source." Suffice it say that I will not rely on that source anymore. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa....
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