The owner of the Blue Agave restaurant in Baltimore is acquiring the Main Street Oyster House in Bel Air; the transfer should be complete by Sept. 1.
The owner of the Blue Agave restaurant in Baltimore is acquiring the Main Street Oyster House in Bel Air; the transfer should be complete by Sept. 1. (DAVID ANDERSON | AEGIS STAFF)

Four different restaurants have occupied the building at 119 S. Main St. in Bel Air during the past decade, and a fifth one is on the way. The owner of the Blue Agave restaurant in Baltimore is working to establish a restaurant in that space that most recently has been the Main Street Oyster House.

Brian Acquavella, owner of the Blue Agave Restaurante y Tequileria in the Federal Hill section of Baltimore, is acquiring the Oyster House from its owners.

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"It's a great space that they did a great job in, and I kind of like the challenge of people saying it's a space that can't succeed," Acquavella said Tuesday.

Acquavella, 37, lives in Baltimore and spent the majority of his childhood living outside Bel Air. He will remain the owner of the Blue Agave, which he has owned since March 2012.

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He said he has filed paperwork with the Harford County Liquor Control Board to have the liquor license transferred to him and his business partner, Brent Daniel, of Bel Air.

"As of now, it's just going to be contingent on getting the liquor license," Acquavella said.

He and Daniel filed their paperwork May 10, with a caveat to keep the name Main Street Oyster House for the time being, liquor board Administrator Pilar Gracia said Friday.

Acquavella plans to complete the business transfer by Sept. 1.

"The goal for everybody is to get everything complete by Sept. 1, but there's so many factors that could make that a faster turnaround or a slower turnaround," he said.

The Main Street Oyster House has been in business since October 2013. It was preceded by the Dark Horse Saloon, which was in business from February 2010 to 2013.

The Greene Turtle occupied the space from August 2007 until the Dark Horse took over. The first restaurant, Ropewalk Tavern, opened in January 2005.

The building is one of the oldest on Main Street, and it was the headquarters for The Aegis from the 1860s until 1905.

"It's not that corner that nobody can ever make work," Acquavella said.

The Main Street Oyster House features Harford County's "longest oyster bar, stocked with a variety of fresh oysters," according to the restaurant's website. A mural of a dockworker handling a fresh oyster catch graces the long brick wall on the side of the building.

Acquavella stressed the Main Street Oyster House would remain in its current form through the end of this year. He said there could be subtle changes to the menu, but "any drastic changes" will not be made until at least 2017.

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"It's been a long time since I've been back, so we just want to get a feel for what Bel Air is before we make any drastic changes," said Acquavella, a 1997 graduate of C. Milton Wright High School.

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He noted a number of private parties have been booked for the Main Street Oyster House this year, so he does not want to force anyone to change their plans.

The Blue Agave, which opened in Federal Hill in 2000, is known for its fresh Mexican food and its variety of tequilas.

Acquavella said it has not been determined if the Main Street Oyster House will become a similar establishment, as he and his staff must consider factors such as the size of the restaurant.

"We don't want to go in there and assume we know all the answers," he said.

Acquavella and his staff will "probably ask a lot of people a lot of questions," including patrons, about what they would like to see.

"[We'll] try to tailor what the community is looking for and make that work," he said.



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