For more than two decades, Stewart Dearie, also known as “Mr. Baldwin,” has run Baldwin’s Station with his wife, Ridia. They have now decided to close that chapter of their lives and have sold the restaurant to new owners.
Baldwin’s Station is a restaurant in Sykesville, located at 7618 Main St. The couple has been ready to calm things down for a while since they celebrated the birth of their first grandson last year.
The couple is excited for this new phase and had been looking for new owners to take over for about a year.
“Our daughter recently had our first grandson,” Ridia Dearie said. “Our goal was to have Stewart retire so he could be a hands-on ‘Pop Pop.’ We were hoping to have that by last year. We just had his first birthday at the end of March, so we’re a little bit late in our goal, but we wanted to make sure we found the right owners and we feel very confident that we did.”
Stewart Dearie said he’s been going on walks with his grandson and has been looking forward to doing more of that with his extra time.
The Dearies aren’t releasing the names of the new owners, who took over Monday, June 1, and will allow them to make their own introductions to the community.
Ridia Dearie said the new owners are local, they know the town and the people, and they’re very excited because they’ve always wanted a restaurant.
“We want people to know that this was very thoughtful. We’ve been talking about it for three years and actively working on it for the last year,” she said. “We had people that were approaching us, but we held out for the right owners and we think it will be a benefit to the town and to the new owners.”
There won’t be many major changes to the restaurant, she said.
“Because Baldwin’s Station was built in 1883, it is on the National Historic Landmark list and it is also Historic Sykesville so no structural changes can be made to the building itself,” Ridia Dearie said. “They are giving the station an internal face-lift.”
Stewart Dearie has been in the restaurant business since the age of 14, when he started working in a Johns Hopkins cafeteria. From 1992 to 1995, he worked at Antrim 1844 in Taneytown to get their restaurant up and running.
“[Antrim] wanted to get into the restaurant world,” he said. “They knew me from being a maître d’ at the conservatory in Baltimore; I had done that for about eight years. They sold the hotel and I was losing my job there, and they hired me to go to Antrim and create them a restaurant.”
After so much time in the restaurant business, Ridia Dearie thinks it will be hard to make the transition, but said they are ready to spend quality time with their grandson.
“It’s going to be hard for him, I think, but he’s excited about the grandson,” she said.
They will still be in town, across the street from Baldwin’s Station at their other business, Vine on the Main, where they sell wine and craft beer. They also have a snowball stand on the Vine on the Main patio called Snowball Station.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Baldwin’s Station has been doing carryout and curbside pickup, which has kept the business fairly busy. Executive chef Bryan Sullivan and manager Christopher Santiago have been keeping things afloat, according to Ridia Dearie.
Any tips received from carryout orders have been what the restaurant has used to continue paying its waiting staff, she said.
With Gov. Larry Hogan allowing outdoor dining as of May 29, Baldwin’s Station has reopened its outdoor seating from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
“We think people will be very excited about the new ownership and that Baldwin’s Station continues the legacy of being an anchor restaurant on Main Street,” Ridia Dearie said.
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When referring to entering this next phase in his life, Stewart Dearie said, “Life’s a journey.”