In The Kitchen
In The Kitchen
Nestled in a mostly residential neighborhood, in the spot formerly occupied by The Vine, Bluegrass Tavern has opened in Federal Hill. Located at the corner of Hanover and Fort Streets (1500 South Hanover Street), Bluegrass is a joint venture between Patrick Morrow and Jorbie Clark, both previously from Ryleigh’s Brew Pub. Patrick is the Executive Chef and Co-Operating Partner - front of house and Jorbie is the Co-Operating Partner – back of house.
Patrick attended North Carolina State where he was an award winning, competitive swimmer and graduated with a BA in business. In college, his interest in cooking was sparked by memories of his Mom’s home cooked meals and he began cooking for the swim team and catering parties for friends. After college Patrick looked into culinary school, but at the time it was too expensive and what he really wanted was on-the-job training. “I took any job I could, dishwasher, bar back—whatever it took to be in the kitchen. I volunteered at Sky Lounge. If you don’t have formal training, that’s the way to do it.”
He began his culinary career with the Cordish Company where he was sent to McFadden’s in Virginia to “help out.” A little over a month later, he was named executive chef, preparing classic American pub fare. After a ten-month stint, he returned to Baltimore to open Mex in the Power Plant Live and train the chef. He then moved to Vin in Towson as a sous chef and to Ryleigh’s Brew Pub in Federal Hill as executive chef for two and a half years. Jorbie, a graduate of La Trobe University Bendigo campus in Australia worked with him at Ryleigh’s as the host, stating with a sly smile, “I was placed at the front of the house because of my charming Australian accent.”
Chef Morrow’s menu will present new American cuisine with Southern influences and an emphasis on game. “I fell in love with pork in North Carolina. But we want to balance out the menu to meet everyone’s needs including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options as well as home made charcuterie such as pate and sausages and local artisinal cheeses. We’ll have nightly specials, brunch on Sundays, special holiday meals and homemade desserts. And we’d like to do some acoustic music if permits allow. I always like doing something new. The last thing I tried was lamb heart cooked in an iron skillet over open coals.”
Bluegrass has a total capacity of 80 including 20 seats outside along Fort Avenue that will be enclosed during cold weather. The bar has both high-tops and seating and the upstairs has an additional dining room and bar. The back room showcases a faux fireplace and rustic wood that creates a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere that Patrick describes as upscale casual.
Morrow chose the location because he’s lived in Federal Hill and enjoys the sense of community as well as the diverse clientele.
Patrick whole-heartedly enjoys the art of cooking. “Everyday you learn about new foods and techniques – it never gets old. Cooking should be fun and there’s a great camaraderie among chefs.”
To that end, Patrick and Jorbie are “members” in what they call The Bad Boy Chefs Club. High profile chefs, including Jerry Pellegrino from Corks and Christian deLutis from Alizee, get together to cook with and for each other and just to have fun.
The cooking for a late night “bad boy dinner” begins at 11 pm and while there is a strong friendship and camaraderie among these skilled artists, there is also a healthy, competitiveness. Bad boy nights may include skeet shooting, preparing whole lamb over an open fire, creating a bacon bar (cured 6 different ways including pork belly in root beer and pork smoked over hickory) and as many as 13 different wines..or more.
There’s an excitement buzzing around town for the Bluegrass Tavern. Let the fun begin.
1500 South Hanover Street
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