Diners in downtown Towson have watched their options grow in recent years, from Mexican nachos to Vietnamese toast to Chinese lo mein. This week, country music bar C&R Pub will add one more option: alligator meat.
“They’re bringing gator to downtown Towson,” said Fronda Cohen, a Baltimore County spokeswoman.
“They are extremely tender alligator tail bites with a zesty gator sauce,” said Phil Voneiff, manager of C&R Pub, which opens Wednesday with a ceremony to be attended by County Executive Don Mohler. “I even tricked my kids into eating it,” he added later.
The former Federal Hill pub will open in Towson Commons at 1 Pennsylvania Ave. as one of the area’s first country bars, Voneiff said. The acronym originally stood for “Cowboys and Rednecks.” It will be located between Chipotle and Den Da Coffee, according to a brochure from Towson Commons owner MFI Realty.
“What’s fun about it is that it’s bringing something new and fresh,” Cohen said. “It just adds to a lot of the choices out there.”
C&R Pub will feature live music and “American fare with a bit of a Southern vibe to it,” Voneiff said. Menu items include rotisserie chicken and a “rattlesnake burger” with jalapeño bacon and crab dip. But the star of the show, Voneiff said, will be the “gator bites.”
“We want that to be one of our signature things,” he said. “We’re looking to expand over the next couple of years, and we want that to be our blooming onion.”
Nancy Hafford, director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce, said one of the top three questions she gets around Towson is when C&R Pub will be opening.
“We know a lot of people that are looking forward to them being there,” Hafford said, adding that there is nothing else like it in Towson. “It’s becoming so diverse,” she said of the town.
Voneiff said C&R Pub is not looking to cater to college students. Instead it is aiming for “a bit of an older crowd,” with a family-friendly atmosphere.
Major projects are underway in Towson’s core, and the coming years are likely to be a series of ribbon-cutting ceremonies. When the buildings currently under construction are complete, downtown Towson will have grown by more than 800 residential units and thousands of square feet of retail space.
The pub will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Voneiff said he has plans to launch a brunch menu after the holidays.
C&R Pub will not be the only restaurant opening in the Towson area in the coming months.
Schwaber Holdings CEO Mark Renbaum said that fast-casual burger restaurant Five Guys will be opening in Gittings Plaza on York Road, just over the city line.
“They’re a really good operator,” Renbaum said. “They are an example of someone who sticks to their knitting. They do burgers and they do fries really, really well, and have been doing it for a while.”
Five Guys is expected to open in the space formerly occupied by Pei Wei within the next 60 days, Renbaum said.