Restaurant review

Mother's Grille clones itself in Baltimore County

For The Baltimore Sun
The purple patio isn't coming to Timonium, but Mother's North Grille promises plenty of team pride.

There's no purple patio, but there's plenty of purple passion -- and orange fervor -- at the new Mother's North Grille in Timonium, where 18 TVs are tuned to local sports and other games.

The restaurant -- owned by Dave Rather, his brother Adam, who is the chef, and partner Marc Boyd -- opened in March. It's the family's third Mother's Grille.

The first Mother's settled into Federal Hill in 1997 with the now well-known, Ravens-themed outdoor area; the second came to Arnold in 2012.

"We were looking for a third location," said Dave Rather. "It was an Applebee's. The infrastructure was there. It was a good opportunity."

The owners are already working on the next Mother's, which they plan to open in Howard County.

The restaurants' menus, featuring American tavern food, are 95 percent similar at all the locations, Rather said. One difference at the Timonium restaurant is a bourbon program.

There are 25 bourbons displayed above the beer taps in the bar area, and "bourbon nights" are in the works.

But it's not all about booze. This is a family-friendly restaurant with food made from scratch.

And in lieu of a purple patio, there will be an outdoor courtyard for dining. "It should be ready for summer." Rather said.

Scene & decor Mother's is housed in an old Applebee's that now looks like a typical sports bar, with the main dining area separated from the bar by mesh screens. It seats 195 and has an industrial look with bright-red ceiling ductwork, booths, and wood tables and floors. "It has a rustic wood feel," Rather said.

Appetizers We got off to a great start with the bacon shrimp bombs ($11.99), succulent morsels of shrimp stuffed with andouille sausage and wrapped in crispy jalapeno bacon. A pineapple relish added a cooling touch. There's a separate section of the menu with 10 types of wings. Our server told us the Ravens wings ($9.99) were popular. They were deliciously sticky with Old Bay and honey. It's too bad the housemade blue-cheese dressing was runny and lackluster.

Entrees We really liked the double crab cake dinner with two sides, though the price left a bad taste in our mouths. It was listed as market price, and our waitress quoted us "$19 or $21." We didn't mind the discrepancy until we got the bill for $28.99. We also could have skipped the bland mashed potatoes, though the creamy coleslaw was excellent. There are 14 burgers, and we liked our pick, Mr. Muhly's turkey burger ($10.99), stacked with grilled apple slices, smoked Gouda cheese and a thick slice of balsamic-boosted onion. The mango-chutney mayonnaise and crispy housemade chips were welcome accompaniments.

Drinks Besides the bourbon, there are 20 beers on tap, including Union Duckpin Pale Ale and Heavy Seas Golden Ale; dozens of other beers and hard ciders; and a short, predictable wine list by the glass and bottle.

Service Our waitress was pleasant but rushed. We weren't happy she misquoted the price of the crab cakes and added roasted garlic butter that we didn't order to the mashed potatoes, but we can appreciate how hard she was working.

Dessert Plan to share the Heath Bar brownie ($4.99). It's a plate-size square, made from scratch with semisweet chocolate and Heath Bar bits, and served warm. It was extra delicious with Pop Pop's homemade vanilla ice cream. The Sugar Coma bread puddin' ($4.99) was crisscrossed with luscious, homemade caramel sauce and delivered in a giant coffee mug. It would have been wonderful except the pudding was tepid on top and very hot on the bottom. It seemed like it had been microwaved and missed the mark.

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Mother's North Grille

Backstory: Local brothers Dave and Adam Rather opened their first Mother's Grille in 1997 in Federal Hill. Their newest offspring opened in March in Timonium.

Signature dish: Mr. Muhly's turkey burger

TVs: 18

Where: 2450 Broad Ave., Timonium

Contact: 443-991-5256, mothersgrille.com

Open: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily

Credit cards: All major

Reservations: Not accepted, but large parties can call the restaurant, which will try and accommodate them, owner Dave Rather said.

Bottom line: For the most part, the newest Mother's Grille delivers delicious food made from scratch in the kitchen, with a dose of team spirit in the bar and dining room.

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