Shoo-Fly to close in Belvedere Square

Spike Gjerde's Shoo-Fly is closing

Shoo-Fly is closing in Belvedere Square. An exact closing date is uncertain, according to the restaurant's co-owner, Spike Gjerde. He said he is in conversations with Belvedere Square management about keeping the restaurant open through the summer, although in a revised format.

"It needs to find a new home," Gjerde said. "At the heart of Shoo-Fly beats a great little diner. It just got a little lost in translation."

Gjerde said that Shoo-Fly might relocate in the Belvedere Square Market building. He said that his restaurant company, Foodshed, which he co-owns with his wife, Amy Gjerde and their business partner, Corey Polyoka, might bring a different concept into the Shoo-Fly space.

The family-friendly diner opened in the fall of 2013 in a free-standing building at Belvedere Square that was once home to a Hess Shoes store and, later, the restaurants Taste and Crush.

Shoo-Fly was the third restaurant from the Gjerdes, whose previous restaurants include Woodberry Kitchen (their flagship operation), and Artifact Coffee. In the spring of 2014 they opened the restaurant-butcher shop Parts & Labor in Remington. All of those restaurants remain open.

Following the successes of Woodberry Kitchen and Artifact Coffee, Shoo-Fly received a relatively chilly response from critics and diners.

I mostly found it awkward. In my Baltimore Sun review, I wrote "Shoo-Fly is an old-fashioned diner that speaks like a farm-to-table restaurant .... The problem is [that] Shoo-Fly serves diner food that's not as tasty as what you'd find in typical diner, or even a fast-food restaurant."

The Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema liked Shoo-Fly even less, calling it "one of the biggest dining bafflements of the year," in November 2013 and ending his review by saying, "Shoo-Fly? Don't bother."

Spike Gjerde received the James Beard award for "Best Chef: Mid Atlantic" earlier this month, one of 10 regional chef categories in the prestigious culinary awards competition. That award -- the first-ever James Beard award for a Baltimore chef -- was specifically for Gjerde's work at Woodberry Kitchen.


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