One of the first restaurants in Howard County to permanently close last spring because of the coronavirus pandemic was Rams Head Tavern at Savage Mill.
Now, about 10 months after Rams Head closed, a new restaurant is moving into the 9,000-square-foot location in Historic Savage Mill.
Dive Bar & Grille, a Pittsburgh-based restaurant group, will open a location at the Historic Savage Mill site in June, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced on Friday.
“I can see we’ve made a great decision,” said Clint Kuskie, owner of Dive Bar & Grille, in a news release from the county. “I can’t thank everyone enough for helping to make this a reality. We hope to have a great place for everyone to come visit soon.”
Jay Winer, managing partner of Historic Savage Mill, said Dive Bar & Grille, which has five locations in the Pittsburgh area, is a “successful, community-oriented, family-owned restaurant business.” The Savage Mill location will be the restaurant group’s first location outside of Pennsylvania.
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“Now that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can see new growth and optimism,” Winer said. “Only someone with vision, experience, energy and faith in themselves, and in us, would take a shot at this.”
The restaurant will be in the Carding building, which has three floors for dining, an outdoor patio and a deck that overlooks the Little Patuxent River.
Dive Bar & Grille’s menus at its Pittsburgh locations include basic staples — beer, burgers and seafood — as well as cocktails, loaded croquettes and “I Hate Vegetables” bowls loaded with meat, chips and fries.
The last location the group, led by Kuskie, Gordon Judge and Thomas Michael, opened was in May 2020. Kuskie said when he saw a posting online for the Savage Mill location that a “spark was lit.”
“This has been a really difficult time for the restaurant industry,” he said. “But we always knew we were going to find ourselves out on the other side of things, and the last few months have been amazing.”
Winer said last May that the Rams Head closure was “unfortunate” and that the virus “exacerbated” the challenges the restaurant was facing. Rams Head, which owns five other restaurants in Annapolis, Glen Burnie, Crownsville, Stevensville and Key West, Florida, opened its first tavern in Annapolis in 1989. Ten years later, the group opened Rams Head Tavern Savage in Historic Savage Mill.
When it opened in 1999, the restaurant was the largest in Historic Savage Mill — a former cotton mill that was transformed into a multiuse retail complex in the 1980s and currently has several shops, restaurants and galleries.