The owner of Waverly’s popular
Darker Than Blue Café
is opening a neighborhood sports bar in the city’s Cedmont community, six blocks south of Northern Parkway.
Casey Jenkins’ new Birdland Sports Bar & Grill at 6319 Belair Road will open by late May. It's just one of several restaurant projects for Jenkins, who is scouting new locations for an expanded Darker Than Blue
Jenkins says he’s put about $100,000 into redoing what was once the Ray Charles Lounge. The 2,000-square-foot space will seat 125 and employ six.
While Darker Than Blue is an 85-seat white tablecloth establishment, Birdland will have a bright, more casual vibe. The menu will feature some Southern cuisine — Darker Than Blue’s specialty – and serve pasta and 15 types of sliders. The restaurant will be decorated with art and memorabilia that links the city’s rich sports history of the Colts and the Orioles of old, with the Ravens and Orioles of today.
“It’s gonna be a hip sports bar,” Jenkins says.
Jenkins says he hopes to repeat the recipe for success he’s had with Darker Than Blue on Greenmount Avenue with this new venture on Belair Road. That is, he’s opening a locally owned restaurant on a major thoroughfare in a neighborhood underserved by good dining options. He predicts Birdland will be the spark that brings other local businesses to the community.
Jenkins attended a community meeting to hear what neighborhood residents themselves wanted along Belair Road.
“They said they wanted someplace they could sit and go to. There are no sit-down restaurants in that corridor, and that’s extremely shocking to me, and that’s exactly what they said in the Cedmont community meeting.”
The renovations are being financed by Jenkins and two partners. Jenkins is also looking at gap financing, including micro-loans.
Birdland will feature a a full bar. The menu will showcase about 15 different types of sliders, pastas, and a variety of dishes with “Southern flair.”
Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Casey Jenkins, owner, Darker Than Blue, Birdland Sports Bar & Grill.