More than a year after the Baltimore-based Atlas Restaurant Group announced it was expanding to Annapolis, a second location of its Choptank restaurant is set to open later this month on City Dock.
The nautical-themed restaurant will be located at 110 Compromise St, filling a valuable, but long-vacant waterfront location.
The tentative opening is set for mid- to late-June, said Vasilios Tserkis, an operating partner with Atlas Restaurant Group. Tserkis also has a hand in running the original Choptank in Fells Point and other Baltimore restaurants like The Admiral’s Cup, Waterfront Hotel and Watershed.
“We have obviously spent time in Annapolis, but we’ve never run a business here,” Tserkis said last month as he showed off the nearly completed two-story restaurant overlooking Ego Alley and the Annapolis Harbor. “We’re excited to work our way into this area.”
The Choptank first opened in Fells Point in 2019, in the former south shed of Broadway Market. The restaurant group became embroiled in controversy after it posted a dress code at the restaurant, which was later revised, that was accused of being racially discriminatory.
The Annapolis Choptank will not have a dress code, Tserkis said.
“Being on the water in Annapolis, I can’t prohibit people from wearing flip-flops and sandals,” he said. “People are going to be getting off their boats here, so no, Choptank will not have a dress code.”
On a mid-May morning, just weeks before the projected opening date, workers swarmed around the nearly completed restaurant installing brass light fixtures and laying wood flooring. The building will feature about 550 seats between 13,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor dining areas.
The first floor features tiled floors, an expansive marble bar and an adjoining raw bar that will offer clams, oysters, shrimp and mussels. The rest of the menu will be similar to the Baltimore location with the addition of higher-end cuisine like steaks, seafood and lobster. Entrees will range from $18 to $65.
The dining areas are accented with brass fixtures to evoke a nautical theme, Tserkis said. Garage doors on the first floor and hydraulic-powered windows on the floor above will allow for an open, breezy ambiance when the weather allows, he said.
The operators plan to host live music seven days a week from a variety of local acts. About 110 employees will be hired to staff the establishment. The restaurant has held several hiring events in recent weeks, including on Wednesday.
Atlas has built a substantial nationwide footprint with locations in Texas, Florida, Maryland and Washington, D.C. In the Baltimore area alone the group owns 20 locations, including James Joyce in Harbor East and the Valley Inn and The Oregon Grille in Baltimore County.
The Evening Sun
This will be Atlas’ first foray into Annapolis, with the possibility of future expansion if the location is successful, Tserkis said.
“We’re going to get this one open first, and there’s always room for growth in the future,” he said. “We just kind of want to see what Annapolis has to offer.”
Despite its prime location, the Compromise Street property has been vacant for some time. For 40 years, the building was occupied by Fawcett Boat Supplies, before the company moved out in 2010. In 2017, owners Mike Keenan and John Bruno began renovations on the building to draw new tenants.
A small boat dealer and a clothing shop occupy the streetside section of the property; Choptank will be located waterside. Atlas is leasing the property from Kennan and Bruno.
The ownership behind Phillips Seafood obtained a liquor license at the location in early 2021 but later pulled out. Atlas is in the process of obtaining its liquor license and will have alcohol when the restaurant finally opens, Tserkis said.
In a statement to the Baltimore Sun in March 2021, Atlas founder and CEO Alex Smith called 110 Compromise “the best waterfront location in the entire state of Maryland.”
After its launch, Choptank will be open Sunday through Thursday, noon to midnight and Friday and Saturday, noon to 2 a.m. Sunday hours could later be extended to 10 a.m. to offer brunch, according to Tserkis.