After close to three years, Ware House 518 in Mount Vernon has shuttered. It will reopen as G.A.Y Lounge at the end of the month under new ownership.
Ezra Tilaye, Ware House 518’s owner, said he and business partner Tegist Ayalew were approached by Joshua Persing and Robert Gay about purchasing the business, located on 518 N. Charles St.
Tilaye announced the closing and sale of the restaurant today through a Facebook post.
“My partner is looking to retire in next year or two," Tilaye told the Baltimore Sun. "We had very interested buyers. It was something that was very appropriate for the neighborhood.”
He said the new owners are “very passionate about getting in as soon as possible. We have been working with them to get up off the ground.”
Persing and Gay could not be immediately reached for comment.
Tilaye and Ayalew will instead focus on Creme Restaurant & Bar, a Washington, D.C. establishment they’ve owned for 17 years.
Tilaye said he was proud of what he and his partner accomplished at Ware House 518, which they opened as Creme in 2010 and rebranded in 2014.
“We’ve fought through the challenges that we had,” said Tilaye, referencing sinkholes and parking issues in the neighborhood. “We’ve been community-driven and city-focused. We did a lot of good.”
Tilaye said he is interested in contributing philanthropically in Baltimore and eventually getting back into the city's food industry.
“There is a lot of work I want to do in the city,” he said. “From a food and beverage side, there is a lot of growth in the city. I’m looking forward to getting my hands back in the food industry. Exactly how is unknown.”
Tilaye said he and Ayalew “are sad to let it go, but we thought it was something that we had to do. We are looking forward to the next chapter.”