His newest venture, along with business partner George Aligeorgas of the Atlas Restaurant Group, will hit closer to home for the Maryland native. The concept behind Loch Bar (formerly Lamill inside the Four Seasons Baltimore) will showcase Maryland seafood.
"I'm a Maryland guy," says Smith, who grew up in Timonium across from the Loch Raven Reservoir, which, in addition to his Scottish ancestry, inspired the name. "I'm big into seafood—it was time to show off what Maryland seafood is all about. The space was a coffee shop before, so we're going to have a large range of coffee and espresso and a place for people to have an upscale lunch in Harbor East, but the raw bar and Maryland seafood will be our focus."
Loch Bar's menu will feature a massive raw bar with oysters from the East and West Coast, as well as charcuterie, sandwiches, and more substantial entrees.
"We'll have mussels and clams and lobster and king crab coupled with the traditional Maryland stuff," says Smith. "One of the recipes we'll be using will be my grandmother's 50-year-old recipe for Maryland crab soup."
The beverage program will include many Baltimore-based beers on tap, including Union Craft and Heavy Seas, as well as beer flights, craft cocktails, and signature martinis.
To design the space, Smith tapped the talents of designer Patrick Sutton, who reconfigured the recently opened Azumi.
"The space will have an old-school nautical vibe," explains Smith, "with red tufted leather banquettes, darks woods, marble tables, and black-and-white tiles."
To add to ambiance, Loch Bar will offer live lounge music with piano, singing, and jazz. "There's nothing else like that in Baltimore," says Smith.
Loch Bar will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week, as well as weekend brunch.
The space, which will include outdoor seating and offer sunset views over the water, is slated for a late spring opening.