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Business

Where everyone knows your name…in Berlin

1/2/14 | By Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

BERLIN—It’s not that hard to be compelled to hum the theme song from the 1980’s sitcom “Cheers” when walking into the new Burley Inn Tavern, on 16 Pitts Street. One can practically see Cliff and Norm at the end of the bar chatting up Coach and Woody as they pour the drafts.

Owner Cody Bates, 28, has no problem with his new venture being compared with the “place where everybody knows your name,” because that is what he is shooting to replicate. During a Dec. 24 interview he said he was trying to create a family restaurant/neighborhood hangout/sports bar atmosphere where all are welcome.

“Come in and give me a shot. I promise you won’t leave unhappy, or hungry,” he said between filling orders.

As Bates described it, the restaurant is still a work in progress. He opened his doors on Dec. 22 after four sleepless days of setting up. He is waiting to have his signage approved by the Historic District Commission in January and has enlisted the help of his family members as back up cooks, recipe contributors and wait staff. Also, he said, “I welcome customer input,” as he builds his menu.

Using mostly family recipes, the Berlin native said he wants to serve moderately-priced comfort food.

 If all goes as planned a grand opening will be held Jan. 9, according to Bates. That would come after two years of renovations, repairs and replacements of much of the building, which has sat vacant since closing as the old Goober’s Restaurant. Bates said the previous owner had offered him a management position, which he said he turned down.

Bates joked that the two-part building probably should have been condemned and torn down, after “years and years of patchwork repairs.” But for him apparently it was a Berlin institution he was more interested in resurrecting.

So with his own vision, the elbow grease of friends and family and the design expertise of Rick and Barbara Stack of Berlin-based architectural design firm Design Resources, the project was completed.

The new restaurant did much with what was left of Bates’ budget after the years-long renovation. The layout is open, but sectioned between a sports bar with exposed brick and high-definition television screens and a TouchTunes jukebox that can be programmed from your table via an Internet app on one side; and a quiet dining section that is bright and cheerful with high chairs and boosters seats for family dinners on the other side. Bates’ girlfriend Stephanie contributed some of the artistic touches, like the table settings with cleverly painted Mason jars that have been repurposed as votive candleholders.

Bates described some of the business district’s newer additions as “A lot of white collar stores in a blue collar town,” and expressed a desire to get back to basics. “Nothing screams Eastern Shore to me,” he said.

So with the Burley Inn (which is not affiliated with the Burley Oak Brewery) Bates said he is attempting to create an eatery where his patrons can be just as comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt as they would be in a three-piece suit.

Dinner and a drink on average would average $10 to $18, he said, adding no entrees cost more than $20. Bates also said he wouldn’t want to pay more than $5 for a beer himself, “unless it came with an ocean view and sand between my toes.”

Hours of operation are from 6:30 a.m. until midnight and food can be served until 11 p.m., according to Bates. To contact the Burley Inn Tavern, call 443-513-4406.

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