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Atlas Restaurant Group expands into Baltimore County

Atlas Restaurant Group is adding more restaurants to its fast-growing roster with an expansion into Baltimore County.

The team behind Harbor East’s Bygone, Tagliata and Azumi, among others, has entered into a partnership deal with Perennial and Cunningham’s Cafe and Bakery in Towson. The deal means Atlas now has an ownership stake in the pair, an Atlas spokesman said, declining to elaborate on the stake. Perennial is replacing the well-known Cunningham’s at 1 Olympic Place, the Towson City Center building that houses the headquarters of MileOne Autogroup.

Plans for Perennial and the bakery and cafe were unveiled March 2, more than a year after Cunningham’s closed and said it would rebrand. Chef Jay Rohlfing, a Food Network “Chopped” winner and the executive chef at Cunningham’s, will head the Perennial kitchen.

“We believe the Perennial concept fits perfectly within our brand and we look forward to offering the same unforgettable dining experience that guests have come to expect from us,” said Atlas CEO Alex Smith in announcing the deal. “This move allows our group to expand to Baltimore County and provide additional dining options to the already impressive Towson neighborhood.”

Perennial, which originally was scheduled to open in May, will open this summer instead, Atlas officials said.

Steven B. Fader, a partner in Perennial, said his team had been impressed with Atlas and felt it would be a strong partner in the new restaurant.

An Atlas spokesman said Smith is family friends with Perennial’s ownership group.

Rohlfing, the chef, has said Perennial will continue in the footsteps of Cunningham’s when it comes to sourcing locally grown produce and meat. Menu items planned include Ocean City scallops served with a spring pea salad, a New York strip steak accompanied by fingerling potatoes and pickled peppers, and tempura flounder with vegetable slaw.

Atlas will now own and operate 23 restaurants in six markets nationally, including Texas and Florida. Its list of restaurants includes more than 20 concepts.

The deal for Perennial marks the second Maryland restaurant Atlas will operate outside Baltimore City after the group announced plans last month to open a second location of The Choptank concept in Annapolis.

Joanna Sullivan | Baltimore Business Journal

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