Earth Wood & Fire, the Baltimore-based restaurant that serves "coal-fired cuisine," is scheduled to open its Fallston location next week, according to its director of operations.
"Our concept has worked on Falls Road, and so we're bringing it here [to Harford County]," Mark Hofmann, who is also a founding partner, said Tuesday.
Earth Wood & Fire, founded by Hofmann, Greg Gunning, Carter Mason and John Toomey, opened six years ago in the Bare Hills retail center off of Falls Road in Baltimore's Mount Washington neighborhood.
Hofmann is working with Mason to open the Fallston location at 214 Mountain Road in the Aumar Village shopping center at the intersection of Route 152 and Route 1.
Representatives of Earth, Wood & Fire are scheduled to appear before the Harford County Liquor Control Board Wednesday for a hearing on their liquor license, according to liquor board administrator Pilar Gracia.
She said the license, which will allow the restaurateurs to sell beer, wine and liquor for consumption on the premises, would be available next Wednesday, Aug. 16, at the earliest provided the approval process goes smoothly.
Hofmann said officials plan to open to the public Thursday, Aug. 17. There will be about 40 to 50 employees in the more than 5,000 square-foot establishment, which is next to the Tractor Supply store facing Route 152.
He and his partners had looked at several properties in the Bel Air and Fallston areas, but Aumar Village was "almost love at first sight."
The shopping center was developed by Fallston developer Mike Euler Sr., who has also worked with business partners to redevelop the former Fallston Mall just to the north of Aumar Village — it is now called Fallston Village Center and features new shops, restaurants and a movie theater.
Hofmann noted the new businesses and said "we just felt like the traffic was amazing."
"Everything reminded us of the good fortune we have down on Falls Road," Hofmann said.
Staff training is scheduled to start Wednesday — he noted kitchen workers have been training in the Baltimore restaurant, so they should be "a little ahead of the curve."
Hofmann said the Fallston restaurant will have "the exact same menu, the exact same concept" as in Baltimore.
Earth Wood and Fire serves pizza cooked in a ceramic oven fired by anthracite coal, which Hofmann said is a "clean-burning coal" mined deep in the earth in Pennsylvania.
"It's odorless and smokeless, and it burns very hot," he said.
Restaurant operators can also throw different types of wood, such as apple, cherry, hickory or mesquite, on top of the coal to add flavors when roasting meat, poultry or vegetables in the oven, Hofmann explained.
A wood-burning grill is used to cook other menu staples such as hamburgers, seafood, salmon and poultry, according to Hofmann.
"The name kind of reflects our concept," he said of Earth Wood & Fire. "We're using all-natural fuels to cook; we let the fuel do the flavoring, the talking."