Dominique's reopening in Brokerage


Dominique's, the upscale French restaurant that closed in July, will reopen at its former location in Baltimore's Brokerage within the next two weeks, according to the restaurant's owner.

Herbert S. Ezrin, who along his partner, Henry Prati, own the Dominique's in Washington, said he intends to change his strategy when he reopens in Baltimore. Rather than a dressy, pricey restaurant, the new Dominique's will feature a more casual atmosphere, lower prices and lighter fare. The restaurant has been renamed Dominique's Cafe and Bar.

The reopening comes after the restaurant filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code last month. Ezrin said the legal arrangements with the landlord and other creditors were completed this week.

"I still believe in Baltimore. I still believe in the area," Ezrin said.

Dominique's opened in the Brokerage at 34 Market Place in 1988. Ezrin said for a few months, business was good.

The Fishmarket entertainment complex opened nearby, bringing crowds to the area. But the Fishmarket unexpectedly closed in 1989.

Dominique's tried to appeal to Baltimore's theater crowd, hoping to repeat the success of theater specials at its Washington restaurant. But the strategy didn't work in Baltimore.

With the arrival of summer, customers dwindled and the restaurant closed.

"We came to the conclusion we needed to do certain things to boost sales," Ezrin said.

By creating a more informal restaurant, Ezrin said he hopes to attract the casually-dressed visitors to Baltimore's Inner Harbor and Market Place areas.

"I think that's the trend today," he said.

The menu has been changed to emphasize lighter fare such as salads and sandwiches, he said.

Dominique's intends to still offer its banquet and party business on the second floor of the restaurant, Ezrin said.

Ezrin said he plans to open the restaurant around Oct. 1. He said the reopening should go smoothly because the equipment is still in place and a number of employees are anxious to return to work.

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