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The Wharf Rat’s mystery buyer revealed as beloved Fells Point pub nears its last round

The question of who bought the Wharf Rat at auction last month has become like guessing who bought the winning lottery ticket. Who shelled out nearly $1 million to take over the historic, possibly haunted property in Fells Point that had apparently once been a brothel?

Rumors abounded. Only one checked out.

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Jesse Sandlin, owner of Sally O’s in Highlandtown, confirmed Tuesday that she is the buyer. Sandlin said she wasn’t ready to divulge her plans for the 801 S. Ann Street building, saying only that it won’t replace Sally O’s on Gough Street.

“This will be a whole other thing,” she said.

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Roasted Half Chicken from Chef Jesse Sandlin's restaurant Sally O's. A new project is on tap for the Baltimore chef.
Roasted Half Chicken from Chef Jesse Sandlin's restaurant Sally O's. A new project is on tap for the Baltimore chef. (Kenneth K. Lam)

Sandlin is a veteran of the Baltimore area’s restaurant scene, having worked everywhere from casual eateries like Ann’s Darie Creme and Nacho Mama’s to high-end Charleston. She also competed in season six of TV’s “Top Chef.”

She opened Sally O’s in the former Laughing Pint last year. The restaurant has attracted a steady following with its elevated comfort fare like the house “crabonara,” roasted chicken breast and birthday cake dessert.

Wharf Rat fans who want to get in their last round should do it by Nov. 6, according to a Facebook post from the pub’s current owners. “Help us drain the kegs, empty the coolers, and make some final Wharf Rat memories.”

Likely to stay: the ghost of former owner John Rutkowski, who is said to be the haunting kind.

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