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Annapolis' Iron Rooster owner talks opening in Canton, homemade Pop-Tarts

Farmstead Grill lost its way, but owners say its replacement will catch on. Here's why.

Celebrating its one-year anniversary last month, the breakfast-centric eatery Iron Rooster has built a loyal fan base in Annapolis, thanks to its Southern comfort food and approachable setting.

Later this month, owner Kyle Algaze hopes to find similar success in Canton when he brings Iron Rooster's second location to the Canton Crossing shopping center. The plan, he said, is to open before the end of November in the former Farmstead Grill space (3721 Boston St.).

“I realized that there’s not a lot of options to do breakfast all day in any other place in the city,” Algaze said. “I thought, ‘This could [be] something that people have been looking for and waiting for.’”

In a Sun review from December, Richard Gorelick wrote, “Iron Rooster serves impressively big portions of good, wholesome and tasty food in a clean, well-lit atmosphere and does so pleasantly — no, more than just pleasantly. The waitstaff actually made us feel like we were doing them a favor by being there.”

Algaze said visitors to the Canton location will receive the same type of service.

“You’ll be greeted with a smile,” he said. “We take care of people. We are so in tune — we do it in Annapolis, and we’ll do it in Baltimore — of just creating a vibe that allows people to have a good time.”

Iron Rooster replaces Farmstead Grill, a farm-to-table restaurant that closed in mid-September. (Read my review of Farmstead Grill here.)

Farmstead Grill was supposed to be the “signature” restaurant at Canton Crossing, but the departure of original chef Galen Sampson (formerly of Dogwood Restaurant) left it without leadership or direction, said Chuck Nabit, managing partner of Mission-Driven Dining, the local restaurant group that opened Farmstead Grill. 

Nabit said Mission-Driven Dining, which also owns Waterfront Kitchen, and Algaze have agreed to work together “in a mutually beneficial business arrangement,” but Iron Rooster will be Algaze’s vision.

“Farmstead had lost its way,” Nabit said. “We thought [Iron Rooster] was absolutely a perfect fit for the Canton area.” 

Algaze said the executive chef for the Canton Iron Rooster is Jake Howard, who comes from the original location. The menu will be similar to that of the Annapolis location: Omelets, pancakes and other breakfast items be available all day, while dinner service will expand to include staples like chicken pot pie and short ribs. 

One popular Annapolis item Algaze expects to catch on in Canton: house-made Pop-Tarts, in both sweet and savory forms.

“It’s not store-bought, and it’s not in that little package. It’s bigger than you’d ever think it was,” Algaze said. “It’s this big thing, and you put it down right in the middle of the table, and it’s the wow-factor that you get immediately.”

Like Farmstead Grill, Iron Rooster will serve alcohol. Algaze is still figuring out certain details, including the operating hours. (“It will probably be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” he said.)

As the time to open approaches, Algaze — a Pasadena resident originally from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who moved to Maryland a decade ago — is excited to start building a new fan base.

“I always tell everyone, ‘You don’t have to worry about the food.’ The food is going to be fantastic,” he said. “We just want to be a part of the community, and I think we’ll be able to do it there.” 

wesley.case@baltsun.com

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Iron Rooster

Iron Rooster is open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday at 12 Market Space, Annapolis. For more information, go to ironroosterallday.com.

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