Seven months after its stint in Mount Vernon ended, Dylan's Oyster Cellar has a new home. Owner Dylan Salmon has signed a lease to open an expanded version of Dylan's Oyster Cellar in a Hampden commercial property. The new Dylan's will open this fall in the space at 3601 Chestnut Ave., formerly occupied by The Modest Florist, which has moved to the rear part of the same property.
"We're going to grow a little bit," said Salmon, 31, "It's a great space."
The Hampden property, Salmon said, is actually two adjoining buildings. Salmon will use the corner building as the bar area. The other space will be used for a dining room and for a full kitchen, something Dylan's didn't have in Mount Vernon, where the menu was limited to cured seafood like sardines, octopus and anchovies on baguettes.
"Obviously the focus will be on raw oysters [at the new location]," Salmon said, "but we'll be adding fried oysters and the kind of nostalgia seafood that I ate growing up." Salmon said that the new location will also specialize in beans — think bowls of beans, fresh bean salads and baked beans.
"I've been obsessed with beans ever since I was a kid," Salmon said. "It's something I've been wanting to do for a while."
Since closing the Mount Vernon oyster bar, Salmon has been taking guest shucking gigs and doing collaborations at places like Ryleigh's Oyster Mount Vernon, Blue Pit BBQ and W.C. Harlan. Salmon said he is consulting on a new menu at Grand Cru in Belvedere Square.
Most of the staff from the Mount Vernon run have found new jobs in town, too, but Salmon said he expects most of them to find their way back into the fold.
"We'll pretty much have all the same staff," Salmon said. "We'll have to hire new people, too."
Salmon said he hopes to have Dylan's Oyster Cellar open by October. The spaces are being completely renovated, he said, beginning with new sprinklers, plumbing and HVAC systems. There are the additional tasks of acquiring all of the proper licenses, including a liquor license.
The original run of Dylan's Oyster Cellar was temporary by design. It operated in The Hatch, a below-ground space in Mount Vernon's Park Plaza leased out as a kind of trial setting, or incubator, for restaurant and retail concepts. The space is managed by Phil Han, the owner of Dooby's, a restaurant on the Park Plaza's ground level.
The next occupant of the former Dylan's space will be Sugarvale, a wine, cocktail and charcuterie bar that Han said is slated for an early-summer launch. Unlike Dylan's Oyster Cellar, which was sublet to outside operators, Sugarvale will be run by Han and his team at Dooby's.
For now, Han said, the regulatory hurdles for subletting pop-up, or temporary, spaces in Baltimore is too daunting to keep operating it as an incubator space. Han said Sugarvale will have an open-ended run, and may possibly take up permanent residence.