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Blackwall Barn & Lodge aims to bring high-end dining to Gambrills

Restaurateur James King invested $6 million to renovate the former Kaufmann’s Tavern to bring high-end dining to Gambrills.

Formerly known as J. King’s and Kaufmann’s restaurant, Blackwall Barn & Lodge in Gambrills has been transformed in the past year from a structure built in the 1940’s into a rustic restaurant.

Blackwall Barn & Lodge, 329 Gambrills Road, opened for business Monday after a year of restoration. The previous building was torn down and rebuilt to fulfill King’s vision.

“I live here in Gambrills and I love the community, but one of the frustrations is to find high-end dining,” King said. “You must go to Baltimore, Annapolis or D.C. for that. I wanted to provide that locally.

“We were also void of higher end spaces for private events in the county. I wanted to provide residents a space for weddings and graduations without having to leave the county or go over the bay bridge.”

Blackwall Barn & Lodge’s banquet hall seats 180 guests. The additional patio seats 45 with three private cabanas. There is also a private dining room that seats eight and can be closed off and used for private dining parties and luncheons. The private room includes a dressing room that could be used by brides on their wedding day.

“Food will be provided by Blackwall Barn & Lodge for weddings, however brides may bring in their own cake,” said Blackwell Barn & Lodge spokeswoman Lea Hurt.

Blackwall Barn & Lodge has whitewashed walls, exposed wood, a brick bar and original, rustic décor.

Blackwall Barn & Lodge is a farm to table restaurant utilizing nine farms from Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey to supply food for its menu.

“We want to buy from people who do the right thing,” said Head Chef Michael Wagner. “This brand is more in tune with my personal integrity and philosophy by partnering with local farms and supporting local community businesses as well.”

“We partnered with the Crooked Crab Brewing Company of Odenton whose owners created a beer just for Blackwall Barn & Lodge called the Barn and Lodge Helles,” Wagner said. “I really wanted to support a local business and the Crooked Crab has awesome owners.”

“We make everything from scratch here. Tables get a fresh biscuit bowl with a fresh, chive butter.”

Blackwall Barn & Lodge has one menu for lunch and dinner.

“We created this menu in the summer,” Wagner said. “Winter dishes will change as will the menu per season and we will also have seasonal specials.”

“We will accommodate anyone. Vegans, pescatarians, lactose intolerant individuals. We take allergies very seriously.”

Blackwall Barn & Lodge has a retro soda menu, 16 ounce hot chocolate menu, and features a variety of moonshine from ‘Ole Smoky Moonshine’ of Tennessee.

For more information on Blackwall Barn & Lodge, visit www.barnandlodge.com.

Dueling pianos greeted 65 investors of Blackwall Barn & Lodge Saturday night in a special VIP event.

“I wanted to give the investors a first opportunity to see the scope of what we did,” King said. “There’s so much buzz in the community. They deserved a red carpet event.”

“So many people said, ‘I’m in,’ without even looking at the site. I wanted to say ‘thank you’ for the confidence in me.”

King said launching his latest restaurant was a “long road.” He purchased Kaufmann’s in 2003. He said he invested everything I had, sold his house, borrowed money from friends and got a loan.

“I fell in love with the environment and the people and staff of Kaufmann’s,” he said. “I think a lot of the Kaufmann regulars will be excited and happy and it will become the same nostalgic gathering place I hoped to create in a newer upscale environment.”

King also has ownership stakes in local The Greene Turtle and Roy Rogers franchises and Blackwall Hitch in Annapolis. He said his new venture retains a lot of Kaufmann traditions and signature menu items. For example, the Black Angus prime rib ($35) is made with Kaufmann’s same recipe.

Other menu items include butternut squash ravioli ($17), Eastern Shore crab cakes ($35) and pulled pork mac & cheese ($21).

“This restaurant was the most difficult project I’ve ever endeavored,” King said. “We had 200 days of rain and snow and still persevered.

“This is my favorite restaurant to date. I was able to build everything from the ground up and have a blank sheet to think of all the details. I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s the beauty of the facility and the décor, right now I feel it’s perfect.”

Crofton City Limits

Crofton City Limits will hold its monthly open mic night Friday at 7 p.m . The Raging Immortals will join Steve Arista on stage for warm-up music. The open mic session begins at 7:30 p.m.

Pre-registration is not required. The event is held at Walden Country Club, 1500 Riedel Road.

Odenton Day

Odenton Day is Saturday, 9 a.m. -2 p.m. and includes music, dancing, entertainment and displays by West County organizations and businesses. There will be an Open House of the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company and a free shuttle to the Odenton Heritage Society.

There also be fun activities for kids and free hot dogs, chips, cookies and drinks. Odenton Day is held at the OVFC , 1425 Annapolis Road. For more information contact Bruce McPherson at 410-456-2500 or Bmcpherson73@verizon.net

Melissa Driscoll Krol can be reached at aroundcrofton@gmail.com and on Facebook at Around Crofton.

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