If you live anywhere close to Loch Raven Reservoir, odds are good that you have some memory of —the restaurant with the outdoor patio, located at the corner of Cromwell Bridge Road and Loch Raven Drive.
Whether to you it was a nice place to enjoy a meal on the deck overlooking part of the Loch Raven reservoir property or the place you went with your parents to get ice cream, one thing is for sure: Sanders' Corner has been sorely missed since it shuttered it's doors back in March 2011.
Recently a group of Harford County men, including one of the forces behind successful Bel Air staple , bought the restaurant and are planning to reopen the location as McFaul's IronHorse Tavern at Sanders' Corner by early May at the latest.
The restaurant aims to have a casual atmosphere with quality food, and a focus on locally grown and raised ingredients and regional Chesapeake Bay cuisine.
"As far as Sanders' traditions, we’re talking about local farmers with dairy farms. This is going to be a very local minded place, local meats, produce, ice cream. We’re going to try and stay very much in Baltimore and Harford counties," said part-owner W. Glen McFaul III.
Opening a restuarant has been a lifelong dream for McFaul, a former Baltimore Gas & Electric employee.
"Economically the timing was right, I guess, for us to get in. I drive by here on Mondays and Wednesdays from work every week to go to my parents and pick up my daughter," McFaul said.
"I think when you find a landmark property [like this] you don’t even have to provide an address to [people], you can just say it’s at Sanders' Corner. The name recognition was important, and it’s just a beautiful setting to have this take place as number one," he said.
McFaul is joined in the venture by friends Walt Lashno, a retired retail manager who oversaw BJ's Wholesale Club in Abingdon for 17 years, who plans to put his people skills and budgetary know-how to use; Chuck Trunk, who is putting his technology background to use on marketing, website development and social media campaigning; and Mat Remsnyder, a part-owner of Bel Air bar/restaurant Sean Bolan's, who has a wealth of experience in the restaurant biz.
"I’m fortunate enough to know these guys and for them all to have a similar vision is a really great thing," McFaul said.
Overseeing the kitchen as executive chef at McFaul's IronHorse Tavern will be Evan Orser—whose resume includes 9 years running the kitchen at in Bel Air and a recent stint at in Perry Hall.
"This is an opportunity for Evan to move away from finding that traditional Irish niche, be able to expand himself and do things that are more casual fine dining," McFaul said.
"We definitely won't have the kind of stuff that you see on the menu at Looney's," Lashno added.
The restaurant will be divided into three distinct dining areas, the restauraneurs said.
The main dining room, called the "Fireplace Room" for obvious reasons (there's a fireplace in it), will serve as a tribute to Baltimore County's history—there, McFaul said, local art and memorabilia from the original Sanders' Corner restaurant will be on display.
"There’s a ton of memorabilia here that had been here since their inception—we’re going to tie in the whole history," McFaul said. "That’s what we want to try and keep—the traditions, with a new look."
Another dining room, called the "Baltimore Room" will showcase the artwork of renowned photojournalist A. Aubrey Bodine and memorabilia from Baltimore sports teams—primarily the Orioles and the Colts. The Baltimore Room also flows into an outdoor deck and will be available for corporate meetings, wedding rehearsals and other events.
The final area—called the Loch Raven Room—will feature a 16-person bar with four high definition televisions. Decor will focus on the history of Loch Raven and the Baltimore Ravens.
"We’re going to have an extensive tap house, roughly 16 drafts [and a] very extensive selection of wine," McFaul said.
The Loch Raven Room will also feature a raw bar, and the outdoor deck will have a bar of it's own.
The restaurant's name—IronHorse—calls to mind the locomotives of the MA&PA railroad which formerly ran closed to the location, but also has a special significance to McFaul.
"It's a tribute to Baltimore's iron horses—legends of Baltimore like Oriole Cal Ripkin Jr. and Colt John Unitas," McFaul said.
McFaul himself is the eldest grandson of one such "iron horse": Ernie Tyler.
Tyler was an Orioles umpire’s attendant who worked every Orioles home game—3,819 of them—from opening day in 1960 until July 27, 2007 when he ended his streak to attend the baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Cal Ripken Jr. Tyler died in 2011 at 86.
Even the location of the restaurant has a meaning.
"When my grandmother used to cook for [the Orioles], I remember coming down here on the way to the stadium to get a strawberry milkshake and a big smile from Ron Sanders," McFaul said.