Abbey Burger Bistro, an upscale hamburger restaurant with locations in Baltimore and Ocean City, will soon be opening its first restaurant in Harford County.
The owners signed a lease this week to bring Abbey Burger to downtown Havre de Grace, in the historic Rodgers House Tavern at 226 N. Washington St.
Marigot Miller, who co-owns Abbey Burger with husband Russ Miller, said she had visited the city of approximately 13,000, situated at the mouth of the Susquehanna River, for the first time in January, and fell in love with its quaintness and “nice, welcoming atmosphere.”
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Miller said she did not visit Havre de Grace with the intention of opening a restaurant. It wasn’t until a friend suggested the historic Rodgers House Tavern as a potential location that the Millers checked out the building and began to consider the idea.
Formerly known as the Elizabeth Rodgers House, the building is named for the widow of Col. John Rodgers, who owned and operated the Rodgers Tavern across the Susquehanna in Perryville in the 1700s.
The Rodgers House Tavern is believed to be one of Havre de Grace’s oldest and most historically significant structures. It was one of a handful of buildings spared when British troops burned the town during the War of 1812.
That history is not lost on Miller, who said she wants to honor it with some historical pictures of the original owners as part of the décor.
She isn’t sure the exact timing of Abbey Burger’s opening, but said she is hoping for a soft opening with minimal renovations in time for the summer season. More significant renovations would be completed next winter, Miller said.
“The current tenants are still in there,” she said Friday. “And we haven’t seen the scope of the renovations needed.”
The restaurant’s opening was first reported by southbmore.com.
“Having been to Abbey Burger Bistro [in] downtown [Baltimore], it’s a full experience,” said Erika Quesenbery, the city’s director of economic development. “It will fit in beautifully with the restaurants in Havre de Grace.”
Abbey Burger Bistro gives customers “infinite choices to build exactly what you want” in a burger, Miller said. Customers are presented with a checklist, offering everything from traditional black Angus beef to chicken and vegan options, and even specialty meats like kangaroo, to pair with a selection of craft and international beer choices, she said.