Howard County beer fans who mourned the closing of T-Bonz Grille & Pub last November can now celebrate the planned arrival of HoCo Brew Hive in the same building this summer.
Operating owner Joshua Butts told The Baltimore Sun that he came aboard after being approached by Scott Sciandra, his partner in the venture and one of his friend’s father-in-law. Sciandra is a Howard County native who frequented T-Bonz and unsuccessfully tried to acquire it for several years. Butts, a hospitality industry veteran with more than a decade of experience in Maryland restaurants, said that he “fell in love” with the space at 4910 Waterloo Road soon after he first stepped in five months ago.
“I saw all of the potential as soon as I walked through the door,” he said.
From there, he and Sciandra came up with a concept that their restaurant’s name references: local (HoCo), emphasizing beer (Brew) and revolving around honey (Hive). The last part came from Butts’ own experience with honey in restaurants as a healthier substitute for most sugars. The restaurant partnered with the Howard County Beekeepers Association to source as much honey as possible locally.
“Being a food person, all of the benefits of honey that can come in using it instead of sugars, and the flavor profile you get with honey — there’s so much potential there to create a fun and eclectic menu,” he said. “[The concept] started to brew right there.”
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The menu incorporates honey while nodding to Maryland’s culinary and agricultural offerings. A kimchi calamari dish points to his wife’s Korean background, as well as Howard County’s large Korean community. One chicken wing flavor uses Old Bay seasoning and a honey drizzle. The margarita features a sea salt rim and replaces simple syrup with a honey-infused one. Many dishes will similarly use ingredients from local farms, while nearly 25 of the bar’s 40 beer taps will pour Howard County and Maryland beers.
Butts said that renovation of the space is about ¾ complete. He and Sciandra plan to finish in time for HoCo Brew Hive to open in late July of this year.