BAROAK set to open March 5th

| February 20, 2015 | 1 Comment

OK, I am officially excited about the new guy in town. Teddy Folkman and his new gigs at the Loews Annapolis Hotel–BAROAK. Over the past five or so years, the Loews Annapolis has struggled to find the right fit for their hotel with the most recent iteration, WEST, not lasting more than a few years. But this time, they may have found it in Teddy Folkman and BAROAK.

 

The Loews goal was to create a restaurant that was not “just a hotel restaurant;” which can be difficult, when you are…well, a hotel. Teddy Folkman of Granville Moore in DC, decided that he wanted to replicate the wildly successful DC venue here, but with a twist. BAROAK will not have typical DC prices, and it will indeed be a neighborhood pub.

Folkman, a native New Yorker, has spent the past decade pursuing the culinary arts in DC. After graduating from James Madison University and embarking on a brief career in sales and marketing, Teddy turned his full attention to his true passion and long-time hobby – good food. He spent the next several years climbing the ranks in some of DC’s most well-known restaurants, including Evening Star Café, Clyde’s, Vermilion, and the Reef, all the while expanding and improving on his craft.

Teddy took the helm as Granville Moore’s Executive Chef in the summer of 2007. He’s since faced-off in a victorious moules battle on the Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” and competed on “The Next Food Network Star.” Teddy is the co-founder and chairman of the annual DC Beer Week and serves as co-chair of the Chef’s Advisory Board at Brain Food, a non-profit youth development organization in DC.

So, what can we expect on March 5th when BAROAK opens their doors?

BAROAK will have interior seating for 153 in an open and welcome room for starters. When Folkman saw the bar at WEST, he noticed that often the bar was very crowded, while the dining area sat empty. With BAROAK, there is a deep and long bar to accommodate the crowds, and the dining room has been opened up to seemingly encourage mingling.  But outside on the patio (complete with fire pit that Folkman swears will be in use 10 months out of the year), there will be seating for an additional 91.  So, all in all, not too big, but not too small.

The menu will include some of Folkman’s signatures–mussels and steak frites–knife-and-fork dishes. But they will be complemented with burgers, flatbreads, and salads, topped of by an impressive lineup of Belgian and American craft beers. The menu will change monthly with some signature dishes having a permanent place. In terms of pricing, look for sandwiches to be in the $12-$15 range and the most expensive entree just under $25. They will be open 11am until late Monday through Friday and earlier on the weekends with brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 3pm.

Many nights will have themes–Big Bottle Sunday, Mussel Monday, Tuesdays will be neighborhood night where you can save 12.6% off your tab if you are local (126 is the address on West Street) and Folkman said, “we can save you the tax and a little bit more.” Wednesdays will feature flights of beer for tasting and will change up from week to week with a few surprises thrown in–but I bet Naptown Pint knows more about those.

And speaking of beer–14 taps, and more than 60 bottled beers.  Of the bottled beers, 50 of them will be Belgian beers.  Happy hour will be from 4-7pm and feature special pricing on beers, cocktails and appetizers. Chef Teddy has thrown down the gauntlet on their smoked wings. We’ll see.

More than anything, Folkman said he wants to see BAROAK become a neighborhood gathering place. “We will be out in the neighborhoods next week introducing ourselves–I can’t just say ‘I’m open’ and hope for the best.” Folkman also hopes to help foster a sense of camaraderie among the restaurants in  West Street corridor. “If Metropolitan is short a server and we can spare one, I’d love to send one over.”

It was refreshing to hear his commitment to Annapolis and the restaurant community. It was exciting to see the great new digs–very open and as I told him, “I can picture sitting at the bar and seeing a neighbor across the room and going over to hang at their table for a bit.” To which Folkman said, “Exactly!”

The restaurant is a partnership between Folkman and Loews Hotels. I can;t help but notice that the URL is BAROAKannapolis.com which leads me to believe that there may be more on the way at other Loews Hotels. Folkman is thrilled to be returning to his “roots” and getting into the kitchen again full-time starting March 5th. But for now, he is busy training the staff and the various chefs. We asked about the WEST employees and he said they all had the chance to come along for the ride, but with the duration of the renovation, many had sought another place to work.

Stay tuned folks, I think Loews and Folkman have a winner here!  See you March 5th!

If you want to meet Chef Teddy, he will be at the Annapolis Home Expo (being held at the National Guard Armory) next Saturday, February 28th at 1pm.

 

 

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About the Author ()

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.