xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

The Greene Turtle in Towson closes, reopens the next day as The Backyard Uptown

Towson’s Greene Turtle officially shuttered its doors Sunday night after 16 years and reopened Monday morning as The Backyard Uptown.

Jill Packo, who managed the restaurant and sports bar at 408 York Road for the last decade before buying it with her brother Jeff Guidera two years ago, said she and her co-owner opted to revamp the location about two months ago rather than renegotiate a contract with The Greene Turtle franchise.

Advertisement

“They offered to buy us out; we weren’t ready to sell,” Packo said. She and Guidera had a rooftop deck and bar built there in 2014.

“We just decided to not leave the building ... and start a new concept. Some people call us crazy," she said, laughing.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The restaurant’s new name — The Backyard Uptown — was meant to conjure customers’ memories of family cookouts and play dates in the backyard, Packo said. It will keep the same “family-friendly feel" coupled with a college atmosphere, once restaurants are permitted to have dine-in service, she said. What will change is the menu, along with some interior renovations.

Packo said about $75,000 has been spent so far to install a new ceiling, update signage and install a new bar on the ground floor. A mural is also being planned for the entry way.

The Backyard Uptown formerly the Greene Turtle is open for carry-out orders at 408 York Road in Towson. The restaurant was supposed to officially open on Monday April 20th as the new Backyard Uptown.
The Backyard Uptown formerly the Greene Turtle is open for carry-out orders at 408 York Road in Towson. The restaurant was supposed to officially open on Monday April 20th as the new Backyard Uptown. (Matt Button / Baltimore Sun Media/Baltimore Sun Media)

Along with appetizers, soups and sandwiches, the new menu will feature dinner items like Mahi-mahi, BBQ ribs and sirloin steak and expands healthy and plant-based options with items like prosciutto salad, kale Caesar salad and cauliflower flatbread.

The menu will still include crabcakes and hot dogs, pares down burger options, but forgoes classic Greene Turtle fare like grilled chicken tacos and the “crabby melt” sandwich for “Backyard nachos," quesadillas and a charcuterie board.

Packo recommended to customers “Gigi’s chicken salad," created from her mother’s recipe: “It’s just simple and fresh and tasty," she said.

The Backyard Uptown General Manager and co-owner Jill Packo opens the large roll up glass door on the rooftop deck . The new restaurant formerly the Greene Turtle is open for carry-out orders at 408 York Road in Towson. The restaurant was supposed to officially open on Monday April 20th as the new Backyard Uptown.
The Backyard Uptown General Manager and co-owner Jill Packo opens the large roll up glass door on the rooftop deck . The new restaurant formerly the Greene Turtle is open for carry-out orders at 408 York Road in Towson. The restaurant was supposed to officially open on Monday April 20th as the new Backyard Uptown. (Matt Button / Baltimore Sun Media/Baltimore Sun Media)

The Backyard Uptown is open, during the coronavirus pandemic, for carryout orders and curb side pickup from noon to 8 p.m. Customers can place orders over the phone by calling the restaurant at 410-825-3980.

With happy hour prices from 3 to 7 p.m., the restaurant is also selling to-go alcoholic crushes, wine, beer, cocktails and T-shirts with the new logo.

Packo said she was surprised at the support from Greene Turtle regulars who texted her to give her "a vote of encouragement” and customers who showed up Monday to order from the restaurant’s to-go window. Some relatives made two orders at $250 each to send lunch to nurses at two area hospitals.

Packo and her family have “been very committed to our community," said Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s not ever the name of the restaurants, it’s always the heart in the kitchen,” she said. “They’re the ones that have the heart for the community. We are so glad that they’re gonna stay here with us.”

Packo, whose husband owns The Greene Turtle location in Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood, added that they are looking to open another location in Baltimore.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement