Dave Steele originally just wanted a place to play music when he and his brothers bought their first restaurant more than 20 years ago.
Today, Steele and his family own and operate four successful restaurants in the Baltimore metropolitan area, including their latest in Bowleys Quarters.
Sunset Cove, located at 3408 Red Rose Farm Road, opened April 11 at the site of the former Wild Duck Café. The restaurant joins the list of establishments owned by Dave and Scott Steele that include the Gunpowder Lodge in Kingsville and Hickory Lodge and Freddie’s in Bel Air.
Dave Steele said they weren’t necessarily looking to add to their restaurant portfolio, but when the Wild Duck Café became available last year, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“The view here by the water is priceless,” Dave Steele said. “It’s a site that has never truly lived up to its potential and we believe with our experience this will be a successful restaurant.”
Prior to opening, Dave and Scott Steele said they did a lot of cleaning and renovations to give the restaurant more of a Caribbean feel to go along with the beachfront property and outside bars and seating that were already in place.
The brothers added that it was important to develop a new name and identity for the restaurant in order to attract the older, family crowd they hope to lure to the business.
“Getting volume here has never been a problem,” Scott Steele said. “It’s all about getting the right crowd. If you’re having dollar beer nights and things like that, you’re asking for trouble. We want to change the whole perception of the business.”
Dave Steele said they used their experience to develop a unique menu, with the help of executive chef J.R. Van Horn, which also offers a distinct Maryland flavor. Among the more popular items, Dave Steele said, are rockfish tacos and ribs with Caribbean juju sauce.
“We believe this is a place where people can come in, eat a nice meal, maybe listen to some quality live music and feel good about coming back again,” Dave Steele said.