The cutesy window paper is coming down. The doors are opening. Market House in Annapolis will soon be open for business once again.
Business owners Michele Bouchard, Jody Danek and Joe Lyon told residents at an informal open house Friday the historic market is slated for a late June opening — about three weeks from now.
The opening marks the close of one very long chapter in the 160-year history of this Market House.
The city opened the request-for-proposal process in spring 2017 to replace the vendors languishing after failing to draw strong customer support. The city initially received four bids and, over the course of a year, whittled those down to two.
In January, after hours of lease negotiations and complicated legislative maneuvering, the city finalized a lease with Bouchard, Danek and Lyon’s New Market LLC.
Now, with their concept nearly complete, the partners are ready to open a market that will return to some of the roots residents remember fondly. Market House, once an open-air hub of fish, fried chicken and finger foods, will again sell oysters, crabcakes and fresh produce.
On a recent tour through the still-developing space, Bouchard described the variety of traditional as well as up-to-date morsels the market will soon offer.
An oyster bar will greet customers wandering in from Main Street. Besides the classic raw oysters and assortment of mollusks, the counter will offer small salads and sides to pair with the seafood.
Across the aisle, Market House will offer “really healthy” options — grain bowls and kombucha, a fermented tea drink popular for its supposed restorative powers.
“We’re working on a kombucha tap,” Bouchard said. “If we don’t get the tap, we’ll be selling kombucha by the bottle.”
Next up is the cheese and charcuterie counter. If that’s not appealing, the adjacent grill will be serving up hamburgers, french fries and, of course, crabcakes.
A panini and flatbread station gives way to a small bakery offering local Ceremony Coffee and site-made treats.
Also for sale will be dry goods and fresh produce. The corner grocery, occupying the nook nearest Dock Street, will have grab-and-go items as well as fruits and vegetables. The grocery has a separated wooden stand for produce as well as a vintage workbench and barrel for dry goods such as olive oil, pasta and rice.
Customers can sit at tables and high-tops at the center of the space or at a bar along the windows facing Ego Alley. The seating is open to everyone, and patrons of other downtown businesses will be able to bring their food inside to eat.
Market House has received its beer and wine license for sale from 6 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. Alcohol will be available for on-site consumption and to-go in the grocery.
Bouchard said she has a meeting with the county Department of Health on Tuesday, after which an inspector will do an on-site review. The team has built in any delays due to adjustments after a health inspection into the opening date.