BALTIMORE --Alex Champagne started out as the bar manager at Fire & Rice, which opened last fall in Hamilton-Lauraville. A year later, he's getting ready to take on the title of owner at the sushi and ramen spot.
Champagne said this week he's finalizing a purchase agreement for the restaurant after Fire & Rice founders Shawn Lagergren and Kevin Scheuing decided to step away from the project. He also recently launched a fundraising campaign to help get the eatery — which has been walloped by the Covid-19 pandemic and permitting issues — back on its feet. Fire & Rice has been closed since July, following Scheuing's departure (Lagergren left the restaurant last fall).
"Having spent two years building the framework for a concept I believe in and believe my neighborhood has the appetite for, I'm stubbornly compelled to tackle Baltimore City's red-tape, transfer business ownership to myself, secure Fire & Rice's liquor license, finish the build-out of our bar and dining room and reopen the restaurant at full capacity for the first time ever," Champagne wrote in a message to prospective donors.
He's hoping to raise $30,000 and have Fire & Rice back open — with an updated menu and some new decor — by mid-November. As of Thursday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $6,600.
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