By Chelsea Harrison
Michelle and Jeremy Hoffman, the owners of Preserve in Annapolis, are bringing their innovative, farm-to-table cuisine to Severna Park this summer. The couple have transformed the former Café Bretton space, at 849 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., into a biergarten-inspired restaurant, called Garten by Preserve, that will feature classic German food, some French dishes, as well as some Preserve favorites.
The Hoffmans lived in Brooklyn before they opened Preserve in 2015. They say they wanted to give Chesapeake Country the same atmosphere they had found at beer gardens in their old New York neighborhood.
As the name implies, Preserve’s cuisine incorporates many ingredients that are fermented, pickled, or preserved, and Garten’s German-inspired dishes will lean on these methods as well. The menu will feature cheese and charcuterie, sausage sandwiches, schnitzel, pickles, the fan favorite G Burger (bratwurst patties with smoked provolone, pickles, onions, lettuce, and curry ketchup aioli), as well as other unique creations from Chef Greg Anderson, Garten’s chef de cuisine, and his team.
The nearly 2-acre property includes large garden beds that the Hoffmans plan to put to use to help stock the kitchen and bar. Bee boxes left on the property will be rehabbed so the restaurant can begin sourcing its own honey.
“Part of our culinary mission is sourcing local and sustainable products, using all the land gives us, getting back to the old way of cooking but still keeping it delicious and fun,” Michelle Hoffman explained.
A “small-but-mighty” four-tap beer system will feature local brews and European imports. Garten has partnered with Pherm Brewing of Gambrills to create a house beer.
Don’t let the “bier” in biergarten fool you; Garten will also feature a selection of natural wines, vermouth and amaro spritzers, crafted frosés, a tasting room, and full bar.
If the cocktail menu at Preserve gives any hints as to what one can expect at Garten, look forward to a modest number of selections, but each packed with distinctive flavors. Delaney Pendry, who has been with Preserve for four years, is the leadership behind the bar at Garten and plans to use herbs, botanicals, and blooms from the garden in her cocktail creations.
The restaurant will have indoor and outdoor seating options for 140 guests, with some traditional biergarten wooden picnic tables with pergolas for shade. Hoffman wants diners to feel like “they have a wonderful space that’s part of their community … an extension of their own backyard.”
Perhaps the most notable change so far has been the addition of a Maryland-themed mural on the south-facing side of the exterior. The mural is “inspirational for our garden,” says Michelle, and offers “nods to the natural landscape.” The mural is the work of artist Jeff Huntington aka Jahru, who has also created many of Annapolis’ now-iconic murals.
The Hoffmans appreciate that Café Bretton was a beloved place to many and they hope to honor the community’s memories and fondness for the space.
Garten opens this summer. More at: garten-eats.com.