Peerce's owner vows to stay open; Bank says restaurant owes it $976,000; Foreclosure


The bank holding the mortgage on Peerce's Plantation of Phoenix has filed a foreclosure lawsuit against the restaurant and tentatively scheduled an auction of the property for Oct. 29. But the owner insists his restaurant will remain open.

First Mariner Bank filed a foreclosure lawsuit Sept. 21, said John Wise, the substitute trustee and First Mariner attorney with Thomas & Libowitz PA of Baltimore. According to documents filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court, the 62-year-old picturesque restaurant owes nearly $1 million.

Owner Peerce Lake, 57, who was born on the property and whose home is there, took over the restaurant 34 years ago when his parents retired. He said yesterday that he is very close to securing financing from another bank and that the restaurant will "absolutely not" close.

"Peerce's Plantation is well and serving dinner seven days a week," he said. "The place has never missed a day except for a snowstorm. We're looking to go forward and stay in the business."

As of Sept. 15, Lake owed First Mariner $976,338.05, more than $11,000 of which is in late fees, court documents say.

Lake said he has experienced problems with First Mariner and said he may file "future lawsuits" against the bank.

Wise said Lake has been late in his mortgage payments. "This is not a step the bank takes lightly."

If Peerce's Plantation were to close, it would add to the list of Baltimore-area restaurant institutions -- including Haussner's of Highlandtown, Gettier's (formerly the Orchard Inn) of Towson and Busch's Chesapeake Inn of Annapolis -- that have closed within the past month.

"Of all the restaurants that have gone down recently, this is by far the best location," said Robert Kline, assistant vice president, Atlantic Auctions of Hunt Valley.

"You can sit on the patio of this restaurant and look out across the lake. There is nothing like it in this area," Kline said. "This is a Baltimore tradition."

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