The Prost German Restaurant will make its official return to Aberdeen next week, nearly eight years after the owners moved from the city to Cecil County
Prost is scheduled to close its location on Jacob Tome Memorial Highway, east of Port Deposit, on Friday. A VIP dinner Tuesday at the new Aberdeen location — the heavily renovated former Moose Lodge on North Rogers Street — will serve as a test run for the kitchen and restaurant staff. The restaurant will open to the general public later in the week.
“We’re really excited to be back in Aberdeen,” Clifford Dodd, son of owners Renate and Richard Baruschka, said Thursday. “It’s where it all started.”
Prost will serve German food, have multiple beers on tap and provide pastries, desserts and other baked goods.
Dodd, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from the Bavarian region of German, grew up in Aberdeen and is currently helping this parents operate Prost.
Before Prost, the Baruschkas operated the European Bakery, which they purchased from the previous owner, on Route 40 in Aberdeen. They later ran a catering business, participating in many local German festivals until they opened Prost at 11 Locust Lane in Aberdeen in 2010 — Dodd recalled that the restaurant opened in February of that year around the time of the massive Snowmageddon snowstorm.
Dodd said “we really quickly outgrew that first restaurant” and moved to Cecil County in 2012. His parents initially planned to keep the Port Deposit location running while opening the new Aberdeen establishment, but decided they want to have “a singularity of focus” on the food and customer experience in Aberdeen, Dodd said.
“We’re excited to get back to our roots and back into a downtown area, and really excited to serve the Aberdeen Proving Ground [employees] as well,” he said. “They’re a huge part of our clientele.”
People can eat in or place orders for delivery by calling the new number, 667-231-4222. Deliveries are expected to start around the same time “or very shortly after” the restaurant opens, and the owners plan to develop an outdoor beer garden in the wooded area adjacent to the building later this year, Dodd said.
The restaurant is still hiring for all positions, and anyone who wants to apply can call the new phone number or visit the Aberdeen location at 102. N. Rogers St., according to Dodd.
The restaurant owners lease the building, which owner Art Helton purchased from the city in 2017 in order to lease it for Prost. The City of Aberdeen acquired the Moose Lodge in 2014 and had plans to convert it into a military museum, but those plans did not come to fruition.
The lodge, which had been deteriorating, was “totally gutted,” with new construction, plumbing and flooring, according to Helton. The extensive renovations caused a delay in opening, according to Dodd.
“The building, I think, now looks like a new building from the outside, and everything inside is new,” said Helton, who noted “a beautiful bar” has been installed.
Helton, a former state senator who represented Harford County in Annapolis, owns the facility with his wife, Ann, through their family business, Art Helton Properties. The Baruschkas are leasing the building with an option to buy after five years.
“We’ve been anxiously awaiting the opening,” Helton said.
The former Moose Lodge is one of a number of buildings in Aberdeen’s downtown area that Helton and his wife have purchased and redeveloped over the past decade. Those properties include Key Point Health Services, which is in a former grocery store on North Parke Street, the Pizza Boli’s on Route 40 as well as the nearby Super Chicken Rico restaurant, Alina’s Asian Cuisine in the former Musical Inn, and Café Michelle, which recently opened on North Parke Street.
Helton said he wants to make “a difference in Aberdeen, particularly downtown, beautifying the town and bringing jobs downtown.”
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“I think they’re going to do well,” he said of Prost. “I think the wait is going to be worth it, and I think people are going to be happy with it.”