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Milton Inn expands its lounge and gives it a name

<a href="http://www.miltoninn.com/" target="_blank">The Milton Inn</a> (14833 York Road, 410-771-4366, miltoninn.com) in Sparks will be serving its a la carte Sunday brunch menu from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and its a la carte dinner menu from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Father's Day.
The Milton Inn (14833 York Road, 410-771-4366, miltoninn.com) in Sparks will be serving its a la carte Sunday brunch menu from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and its a la carte dinner menu from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Father's Day. (Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun)

The Milton Inn, which occupies part of what it said to be a structure dating back to the mid-18th-century, has had a small lounge on its first floor as far back as anyone can remember. It was always just known as "the lounge," according to Brian Boston, the executive chef and proprietor of the northern Baltimore County restaurant.

Now the space, which has been expanded to include the formerly separate Fox and Hearth rooms, has a name — the 1740 Lounge. It has a new identity, too, said Boston, and a new small-plates menu, which will be offered in addition to the old lounge menu of sandwiches and burgers.

"What we're trying to do is appeal to a wider audience," Boston said. "Not just younger people, but it does appeal to younger people because of the price point."

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Boston is seldom reticent about the financial concerns of running a restaurant. He's seen a drop in business over the years, which he attributes to both increased competition and to what he calls "the casualization of American dining."

"People don't want to dine in what they perceive to be a stuffy atmosphere," Boston said. "We do try to be friendly and welcoming, but it's hard to fight the thought process of people who think we're only for special occasions. The lounge is a new way for people to use the Milton Inn."

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The new 26-item small-plate menu, which is available for lunch on weekdays and dinner daily, includes smaller versions of Milton Inn favorites as clams casino, oysters Rockefeller and blackened beef tenderloin. The plates are smaller than the regular plates, Boston said, but not too small.

"I can be satiated by one, two or three of the dishes,'' Boston said. "This is really a great deal." The restaurant's regular menu is also available in the 1740 Lounge.

Boston said his next project in the evolution of the Milton Inn is to make the outdoor patio more of a finished space, where he might even put in a few TVs for people to watch the occasional sporting event, something he wouldn't do elsewhere at the Milton Inn.

"TVs don't work in the main building." Boston said.

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The Milton Inn is at 14833 York Road in Sparks. For more information call 410-771-4366 or go to miltoninn.com.

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