Three Cambridge restaurants close, court documents reveal tax issues

CAMBRIDGE, Md. – In less than three months, three Cambridge restaurants have all closed their doors.

Stoked Wood Fired Eatery closed it’s doors back in December. Not soon after, Rock Lobstah closed. Most recently, High Spot closed.

Brandon Hesson, the Associate Director of Economic Development in Cambridge said, “The wintertime is when you find out how prepared folks are and that’s true of a lot of Eastern Shore towns.”

The sudden closures left some shops worrying about the potential impact it could have on their business.

Doug Turner, the Owner of Downtown Frame of Mine said, “It’s always nice to have people walk down the street, and if you’ve got a couple of restaurants closed, those streets don’t have quite the foot traffic they had before.”

Regardless, Cambridge city officials told 47ABC on Monday that they’re feeling optimistic.

Hesson said, “What we have are very marketable locations with great foot traffic, high profile international events like Iron Man, so we’ll make sure that we use those as assets in this current phase.”

But the question remains: why did the restaurants owned by Chef Patrick Fanning close so suddenly?

On Monday, 47ABC was able to obtain court documents which revealed that Fanning was not paying his taxes in full, and the IRS came after him. We were not able to confirm if this was the reason why Chef Fanning closed the three restaurants. We tried to reach out to Fanning on Monday for comment, but both his email and phone number were disconnected.

Despite the mystery, it seems everyone can agree on one thing: Cambridge needs to focus on the positives right now, to push through this hard time.

Hesson said, “[With] a closure, I can think of a hundred ways that that can spin into a positive. That’s going to be where we focus moving forward.”

We’re told there is already some interest in these vacant buildings, but nothing is set in stone quite yet.

NOVO Properties, who owns all three vacant facilities, released a statement about the closures.

They said: “After eight years in business, Chef Patrick Fanning has closed The High Spot Gastropub, the last of his three restaurants in downtown Cambridge. Stoked Wood Fired Eatery closed in December 2018 and Rock Lobstah Lobster Bar closed in January 2019. As his landlord and a committed local developer, NOVO is disappointed to see him depart. Patrick was a pioneering restaurateur who helped build the vibrant dining scene Cambridge enjoys today. NOVO is actively seeking tenants for two turnkey restaurant spaces and one retail property – all in highly desirable downtown locations. NOVO is pleased to announce Maiden Maryland will open in March in 501 Poplar Street, a portion of the Rock Lobstah space. Maiden Maryland features artisan gifts and crafts celebrating the Free State.”

If you’re interested in any of the vacant buildings, you are asked to email Brett Summers at bsummers@liveNOVO.com

Categories: Local News, Maryland