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Giving Rye Street Tavern an Authentic Feel and Jobs for Baltimore Artisans

04.18.2018 by Jenna Lippin
By Jenna Lippin

In an effort to help tradespeople enter the workforce, Baltimore-based Patrick Sutton commissioned The Foundery to create furniture and accent pieces for Rye Street Tavern, a new Baltimore local bar and restaurant adjacent to Sagamore Spirit distillery that opened Summer 2017.  The Foundery was built with the goal to encourage the creative community with access to industrial-grade tools and knowledge and to provide a safe and accessible makers’ space for Baltimore artisans to gather, learn, build, and teach.

“We’re big believers in The Foundery’s mission of training a workforce,” Sutton told i+s. “We have a number of projects that are associated with the ownership involved with The Foundery. When it came time to execute, it made perfect sense to take an opportunity to employ the craftsmen from The Foundery to fabricate some of the designs we were generating and create teachable moments. Everyone wins when someone can learn and we can execute something we design.”

As the restaurant is part of the larger Sagamore Spirit liquor company, Sutton and his team wanted to create an experience for guests that would be reflective of what goes on at Sagamore’s whiskey distillery. The Foundery helped with three separate projects to help carry out this vision: an accent wall made of repurposed barrels used for Sagamore’s whiskey aging, a fireplace screen made of custom laser-cut steel, and an eye-catching entry table.

“Everyone wins when someone can learn and we can execute something we design.”—Patrick Sutton

Of the wall, Sutton said, “One of the things that happens in a distillery is the process of barrel aging. They have rack after rack stocked with these barrels. We wanted to create that experience for diners. We employed The Foundery to make a wall from the cut ends of used Sagamore Distillery barrels. They created the wall in a gridwork pattern to create the same look, feel, and smell of a distillery—you get a taste of the whole experience. It turned out amazingly well.

With a large fireplace in the space, Sutton and his team realized a quality screen would be needed in front of the fire. “We had an idea to make a make three-sided diorama of Sagamore Farm and the springhouse from where the water is sourced from Sagamore whiskey. We had the workers from The Foundery laser cut steel for this piece so when a fire is lit it gets this glow over the diorama.”

“Any opportunity that we have where we can help people learn trades and give them opportunities in the workforce, that is going to be our first choice.”—Patrick Sutton

The third special piece created by The Foundery is a custom table displayed in the entrance area of Rye Street Tavern. Sutton said he and his team like to “set the table” of a space to add to the guest experience. “The guys at The Foundery had a number of old live-edge wood logs they had cut into slabs,” he explained. “They made us a beautiful entry table we had adorned with oyster shells from eastern shores of Maryland. Bushels of local Maryland apples are displayed. Those kinds of things give a sense of this connection to Maryland’s bounty.”

These special details at Rye Street Tavern help tell a special story about Sagamore Spirit while displaying the talents of those involved with The Foundery. “They help patrons of the restaurant know the story behind the food they’re eating and rye they’re drinking,” Sutton noted. “And all while taking the opportunity to share teachable moments for some of the laborers helping make the goods.”

Sutton plans to commission work from The Foundery in the future. “I would work with them again any chance I get,” he said. “Any opportunity that we have where we can help people learn trades and give them opportunities in the workforce, that is going to be our first choice.”