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The lunchtime crowd at Tark's Grill in January 2013.
The lunchtime crowd at Tark's Grill in January 2013. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

After more than eight years, the ownership at Tark's Grill in Lutherville will change hands this fall. Starting Oct. 1, the team behind Mount Vernon's City Café will take over the space, City Café co-owner Gino Cardinale said Friday.

Cardinale said he and co-owner Bruce Bodie had been looking to expand. After considering locations in Howard County and Locust Point, the duo found the opportunity to own an established restaurant and bar was too great to pass up, he said.

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"It's a great restaurant. It does well," Cardinale said of Tark's, which opened in February 2008 at Green Spring Station. "It's had some competition lately, though. It's no secret. We think we can kick-start it."

Cardinale said they plan to keep the Tark's name, but nothing is definite yet.

"We're leaning to not" change the name, Cardinale said. "There's a lot of goodwill with the Tark's name in the Green Spring community."

Cardinale and Bodie opened City Café in 1994 as a coffee shop, and have since made it a multi-purpose bar and eatery. For Tark's, they brought City Café executive chef James Jennings on as a partner. Within the first couple of weeks of taking over, they plan to introduce new menus for food and craft cocktails, Cardinale said

Food-wise, they will maintain the grill concept, he said, and introduce brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays.

A handful of Tark's menu items will remain, including the fan-favorite Lindsay's Chicago Chopped Salad, Cardinale said.

They hope to begin interior renovations in the first quarter of next year. Cardinale is excited to add a large raw bar to the space.

Cardinale said he sees City Café and the new Tark's Grill as "true sister restaurants."

"For people who don't know City Café, the words 'modern' and 'stylish' come to mind, and we're going to bring a little bit of that hip City Café-look and vibe into the renovation," he said.

Tark's namesame and co-owner Terry Arenson confirmed with sale via a news release.

"We've had a great run, but the time has come to pass the torch," Arenson said in a statement. "We're confident that [Cardinale and Bodie] bring the experience and reputation necessary to succeed."

Cardinale and Bodie will be at their new restaurant often, Cardinale said. He wants to work with other businesses in the area, including nonprofit organizations.

"We look to become a vibrant, active part of the Green Spring community," he said. "We feel like we have this great opportunity to buy into an awesome restaurant with a huge following and a fantastic neighborhood. We want to build on their success, not completely rewrite it."

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