Pusser's Caribbean Grille, a favorite along Ego Alley for 30 years, will close in November 2024. Facebook photo.

Pusser’s Caribbean Grille, Annapolis Waterfront Staple, to Close in 2024, Replaced by Atlas Concept

Its presence on Ego Alley in the Annapolis Harbor has been a constant for three decades. By the end of next year, Pusser’s Caribbean Grille will be gone.

The British Virgin Islands-inspired restaurant is known for its painkillers, house rum and its popularity in boating circles. Its rooftop bar, home of Chesapeake Bay Magazine’s annual Boat Show Bash held on Friday, was packed throughout the Annapolis Boat Shows the past two weeks.

But on Wednesday, the restaurant’s owners announced that the Pusser’s brand will be leaving its location in November 2024. Chris Townsend, co-owner and Director of Food and Beverage, says that the Pusser’s landlord, Annapolis Waterfront Hotel, did not renew the restaurant’s lease.

Hours later, the Atlas Restaurant Group, which owns Choptank Restaurant nearby on Compromise Street, announced it will “transform the property into two new restaurant concepts and a best-in-class banquet and events space by 2025,” in partnership with the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel and Hersha Hotels and Resorts.

Atlas shared a handful of renderings on their Facebook page:

Atlas Restaurant Group rendering of Annapolis Waterfront Hotel restaurant concepts.

Atlas, which has 30-plus restaurants and counting from Baltimore to Houston, Texas, says the two separate spaces will include a dockside bar and an enclosed rooftop bar overlooking the water, both of which will feature live entertainment. Atlas says its design concept will “seamlessly blend timeless charm with modern aesthetics.”

The company will also renovate the hotel’s banquet and event spaces.

“The Annapolis Waterfront Hotel has long been an iconic landmark in the city. Recognizing the property’s immense potential, Atlas Restaurant Group agreed to lease roughly 37,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space to oversee the hotel’s food and beverage operations and reimagine the dining and banquet spaces.”

Fans of the original Pusser’s Annapolis still have one last year to enjoy it.

“While we are very disappointed by the outcome of our lease negotiations, we certainly look forward to celebrating next year, our last year and our 30th anniversary, with the Annapolis community,” says Townsend.

Pusser’s Caribbean Grille has operated all food and beverage services for the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel since 1994, holding more than 1,000 weddings at an average of 50 weddings per year.

The restaurant and dock bar is synonymous with the Downtown Annapolis nightlife. Pusser’s says many couples have met at the restaurant and now return with their families to share in life’s milestones.

The beloved Pusser’s Painkiller™. Facebook photo.

Several Pusser’s employees have been there for nearly all 30 years of its existence. Executive Chef Jim Eriksen, Senior Catering Sales Manager Hilary Peret and Accounting/Personnel Manager Dottie Cover have been with Pusser’s for an average of 28 years.

The company assures guests who have already booked events or would like to hold events at Pusser’s through November 2024 that they are “committed to executing these events with the same passion and excellence they have for the past 30 years.” Folks with questions can email [email protected].

There’s no word yet on where the Pusser’s Caribbean Grille location may go from here. The company also has a location in Ponte Vedra, Florida where the infamous Pusser’s Painkiller™ is also served.

“Pusser’s will forever be a long-time part of the unique fabric of Annapolis, and going forward we hope to develop other possible locations in the area. But, with upwards of 70 events on the books for 2024, we still have a lot of work to do. We want to make sure our 30th year will be a lot of fun and truly a year to remember,” says Townsend.

-Meg Walburn Viviano