07 February 2011

More Pub Expansion: Racers Cafe

And we thought the other pub projects in town have been delayed........

Racers Cafe on Harford Road in Parkville is, by now, one of the "grandaddy" craft-beer places in the central Maryland region, having effectively predated many of the region's microbreweries with its early 1990's emergence into the craft beer scene.  It has long had a consistent presence in the microbrew scene in Baltimore, regularly hosting a dozen or so good-to-rare drafts in a homey, "neighborhood bar" kind of place, with a long-standing "three-mugs-for-$X" beer-tasting special copied by other places.  In years past, the bar even hosted its own Real Ale Challenge before the Society for Preservation of Beers from the Wood managed to steal a lot of their patronage with a bigger festival.

That "neighborhood saloon" atmosphere has long been a point of contention for serious aficionados.  The place never offered food, but one could pop through the door to the adjacent Harford Beverage Co. liquor store for take-home packages.  The blue-collar "dive" atmosphere, with peanut shells scattered on the floor and TV sets blaring sports, probably turned off as many potential regulars as it attracted.

But change is under way.  Kate Schmelyun of Patch.com (the AOL-backed online media project) reports on a planned--and long-delayed--expansion under way at Racers:
Richard Osenburg, the owner of Racers and Harford Beverage Company, purchased the building next to Racers in 2000 with the intention of expanding the bar and putting in a kitchen to sell food. That dream is finally going to become reality within the next few months – mostly likely sometime this spring.
“[Richard] has always wanted to do this,” [bar manager Donna] Presinger said. “He’s owned the building [next door] for some time now and he’s always wanted to do food.”
But Osenburg said he’s not yet ready to talk about the kind of food that’s going to be served. “As soon as the kitchen gets rolling, we’re going to release a pre-menu and let everyone start looking at it,” he said. “I can tell you this, we’re going to put out a good product. I’m very picky and won’t put something out unless it’s good.”
The building in question is apparently 7728 Harford Road, a 2-story storefront to the bar's southwest. 

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