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Portalli's restaurant to reopen in time for Ellicott City's Midnight Madness

Workers stand outside Portalli's in Ellicott City in late 2016. The restaurant was severely damaged by flooding in July 2016 and will reopen Dec. 1.
Workers stand outside Portalli's in Ellicott City in late 2016. The restaurant was severely damaged by flooding in July 2016 and will reopen Dec. 1. (Courtesy of Portalli's)

More than a year after severe flooding ravaged historic Ellicott City, Portalli’s, a restaurant on Main Street, will welcome customers back again.

The Italian restaurant is set to reopen Dec. 1, in time for Ellicott City’s Midnight Madness holiday celebration. It has been closed since July 2016, when record floods swept through the town, destroying businesses and homes and killing two people.

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Located at 8085 Main St., Portalli’s underwent a full renovation — the foundation was replaced, the building was reinforced and the interior was completely gutted, owner Evan Brown said.

“This building was so badly damaged,” Brown said. “It’s been a really, really slow process.”

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He estimated renovations cost at least $1.2 million.

Brown said guests will notice a few changes, such as larger dining areas, and designers made a some adjustments to improve the flow in the kitchen. Overall, he said, the new Portalli’s looks like an updated version of the old restaurant, which originally opened in 2009.

An Ellicott City woman has admitted to looting a restaurant following the flooding there.

The restaurant will seat about 250 people between its indoor dining areas and outdoor patio.

Brown said he’s working to bring back as many of the previous staff members as possible. Keith Holsey will continue to serve as the restaurant’s chef.

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Portalli’s will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday, Brown said.

The restaurant’s reopening marks another step in historic Ellicott City’s recovery. Ninety percent of businesses had reopened in Ellicott City as of July, and 70 percent of households had returned, officials told The Baltimore Sun earlier this year.

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