by Richard Gorelick
Baltimore Sun reporter
1:00 PM EST, January 9, 2013
Punk's Backyard Grill has closed at the Westfield Annapolis Mall. The restaurant, which opened in 2009, evoked an American backyard gathering. The kitchen was enclosed behind a structure that suggested the back of a suburban home, the dining room was filled with picnic tables and the ceiling was painted to resemble the open sky.
The closing announcement was posted Sunday night on the restaurant's Facebook page: "We are sad to announce that today, Sunday, January 6th, is Punk's final day of business. We are tremendously grateful to all of our loyal customers and to the Annapolis community. Thank you all for making our four years of business so fun, exciting and delicious."
The restaurant was the brainchild of McCabe, Sheila Laderberg and Jeffrey Sloan, who met at the highly regarded Cornell School of Hotel Administration, where their Punk's concept won the school's annual restaurant-concept contest.
Many Facebook comments expressed sadness that Westfield Annapolis Mall was losing not only a healthy alternative for family dining but the mall's one locally owned restaurant. Westfield's remaining tenants include California Pizza Kitchen, Cheesecake Factory, Five Guys and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.
"We got a nice response," McCabe said. "It just goes to show what a great customer base exists in Annapolis." But support wasn't enough in the long run, McCabe said. "The big issue was we signed our lease when the economy was great. By the time we opened, it wasn't."
McCabe said that he and his partners had long been working to renegotiate their lease with Westfield, whose U.S. offices are in Los Angeles. "There are some people at (Annapolis) Westfield who tried to help us, but they're not the ones making the decision at the end of the day, it seems. We were told around Thanksgiving that we were close to a deal," McCabe said. Instead, word came that the deal was off and Punk's was being evicted.
Punk's last day of tenancy is Jan. 15, but McCabe said they closed earlier to shut down the business properly. "One of the things we feel really good about is the concept. It has a lot of potential. The response in Annapolis has been great."
And, Eye on Annapolis is reporting that the New Parthenon Restaurant has closed. The restaurant had re-opened this spring under new ownership.
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