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Regi's American Bistro in Federal Hill for sale

Regi’s American Bistro, a cornerstone restaurant in Federal Hill, is listed for sale.

Owner Alan Morstein is selling the restaurant at 1002 Light St. for $600,000, he said.

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“It has been a tough year and there’s been increased competition every year,” Morstein said. “New is hot and old is not, it seems, and everyone wants to talk about what new restaurants they went to.”

Baltimore’s restaurant industry is as competitive as it’s ever been — and it’s putting some eateries out of business.

The restaurant originally opened in 1978, and Morstein has owned it for the last 15 years.

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“We made Regi’s something — we took Regi’s to the next level,” he said. “We just brought freshness to the table, like before it was in vogue.”

Most recently, Regi’s brought on a new chef, TJ Garrish.

Morstein said as patronage from customers outside of Baltimore has dwindled, nearby diners have kept Regi’s afloat. He said he’ll miss the relationships he built with Federal Hill neighbors over the years.

“The neighborhood is so supportive, and the neighborhood is my core clientele,” he said. “I feel like I’m letting them down… It’s very sad. It’s a very sobering experience.”

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Morstein said he intends to keep the restaurant open until it sells. The sale includes its liquor license, furniture, equipment and inventory.

“This spot won’t be vacant for long because it’s like the gateway to Federal Hill,” he said.

Regi's American Bistro has been a Federal Hill fixture since 1978, and for the past 14 years, owner Alan Morstein has been running the place with the energy of teenager, the passion of a lover and the drive of a politician.

After Regi’s sells, Morstein does not plan to leave the restaurant business. He’s hoping to join a food hall in Maryland or New Jersey, where his three grandchildren live.

Although Morstein is sad to leave, he’s optimistic about what new owners could do with the Federal Hill restaurant.

“I’m just going to miss it terribly, and I’m happy for the people that come in because I know what they can do,” he said.

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