Edgewater's Bill Bateman's Bistro Goes Under

An on-duty manager told one resident the restaurant closed due to a "lack of business."

The Bill Bateman’s Bistro in Edgewater closed its doors for good Tuesday, bringing an end to its 1.5-year run on Mitchells Chance Road.

After confirming that the location closed with a Bill Bateman’s Bistro manager in Pikesville, Patch learned through a local resident that New Year’s Eve was the last night the restaurant was open before going out of business on Tuesday.

“We went there, walked in the door and you got the sense that something was going on,” said local resident Adam Machado. “They were peeling stickers off the door and half the bar was missing—they only had beer there.”

Machado said the manager on duty told him the restaurant was shutting down due to a lack of business and that all employees were being moved to other locations.

Several local establishments have opened in and around the South River Colony Main Street area during the last two years. But several have moved or gone out of business, including Repeats Quality Consignments, Bill Bateman's Bistro and Coldstone. 

The Edgewater Bill Bateman’s Bistro originally opened in August 2011. Since then, the place didn’t exactly blow people away, according to local Yelp reviews.

Reviews on Yelp—a popular restaurant reviewing website—gave the local restaurant a 2.5 out of 5 stars and included sub-par comments about food, service and atmosphere.

“I really wish I liked it more but I just don’t … The place is…boring,” wrote one commenter from Edgewater.

Another reviewer said on more than one occasion, he and his girlfriend went to Bill Bateman’s Bistro but then left since it took so long to get served.

Since a lack of business was a primary reason for the closing, do you think the restaurant’s location played any part in its demise, or was it all about the food and the service?

What was your experience at Bill Bateman’s Bistro like? What would you like to see there instead?

Tell me in the comments.

Annon January 02, 2013 at 09:45 PM
I worked as a server there in early 2011. A lot of servers weren't too great, and through this year alone they went through so many servers. And there were some ridiculous rules an cheap cut backs they would do like starting to pre bake the cookie monsters and such. We ran out of food a lot and I always had an issue with some of the managers. Business got slow so I left a lot of good co workers and friends behind. The general manager is a down right bitch, an they never treated their employees well. She would back talk to employees, never listened to them and loved firing and arguing with people. She especially loved talking trash about her severs in front of other servers. She made her employees cry, and made others who had been there from the beginning leave because of her attitude. So for that, she deserves the shut down. I will miss the crab pretzels and cookie monsters though.
Andy Fenton January 02, 2013 at 09:54 PM
I never had any issues with the food but the cost was high comapred to the competition. We dined there 4 times and with the exception of our first visit, the service was woeful. I think the location may have played a small part in its demise but the service was the nail in the coffin. With so many other places to eat and drink within walking distance they should have been doing more but tried to get by on less.
Richard E. Otten January 02, 2013 at 10:07 PM
The Steakhouse does what Bateman's Bistro was trying to do, combining a restaurant and sports bar, but does both so much better. Every time but once, shortly after the Bistro opened, if i started to go to the Bistro I wound up at the Steakhouse, which also stays open late.
ReverendMike January 02, 2013 at 10:07 PM
We tried their food a couple of times and didn't like the quality. Their wings were small and dry. We do a lot of business with The Steakhouse in the same shopping center and, while it's not always perfect, they do a great job of making-up for any short comings.
Jim Lindsey January 02, 2013 at 11:32 PM
No idea who hired or trained those employees but they never had a chance.
sammy January 03, 2013 at 01:26 AM
I did experience all what everyone said there, but let's rewind a little bit, I dont know who does the marketing research for Bill Batemans, why on earth open a duplicate of many similar restaurants in the same block with the Green Turtle, Steak house, Stan and Joes & others. For the cost of renovating that place over 250.000.00 I beleive. This place needs something different that can be a destination business. But again with this area not groing and the pace it should be, to many restaurants are not needed and we will hear more about businesses going down.
Annette LesCallett January 03, 2013 at 11:55 AM
The original owners of the Steakhouse opened that building as an Italian restaurant and that didn't make it either. I don't understand why the food was good and there aren't any other Italian resaurants in the area. But Bill Bateman's was awful, so I can understand why they didn't make it. I hope something good goes in and they are able to be successful.
Shari Thompson Cornell January 03, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Even if it was similar to other restaurants, we would have come back if the food hadnt been so terrible and the waitress nasty! I would like to see a family friendly restaurant open!
Barb Cantor January 03, 2013 at 12:25 PM
I ate there twice. One waitress was surly and the other looked annoyed because I wanted a water refill. Both times I sent the food back: undercooked, overcooked, wrong order so never went back. It is a shame no one seems to make it in that location but the quality of food, noise level and service has to be great to compete with all the restaurants in the area.
Mike H January 03, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Bill batemans was just a bad version of steakhouse, SnJ's, and even worse than Green Turtle. The location is fine, the problem was food and service. That area clearly supports restaurants. Between the two shopping centers there are 10 sit-down restaurants and they all seem to be doing well. That spot needs a good place is all, Bill Batemans and the 2 previous businesses left something to be desired. With the patio area and full built out interior I would love to see someone like the folks from watermans tavern, or DuClaw take it over. A real bar with highend bar food. Edgewater does not have that yet other than waterman's, and that place is too small and frequently crowded with drunk early 20 somethings.
czechsmix8 January 03, 2013 at 01:01 PM
The service was never that great and the food was horrible. Any other Bill Bateman's I have been to has been great but this location's food never got better. You expect in the beginning they might have to work out some kinks but if you don't improve, you don't survive. I had commented on Facebook too but I think they need to put something in that location that already has a fan base because I don't think the shopping center really allows the businesses to advertise. My vote would be for a Hooters, however, I am sure the South River management would never allow that "type" of establishment. They need to wake up and make some changes because nothing really lasts in that center.
Angela January 03, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Agree with comments on bad service! We had high hopes but all three times only exceeded our expectations of poor service. Worst service we have ever had anywhere. It either took forever to get our waitresses attention, had beer spilled on us or had a waitress that bitched about other customers. And the prices are outrageous for what you get.
Martha Brown January 03, 2013 at 01:27 PM
Went there a few times. It was never busy and the food so so. The biggest thing to me was the atmosphere or lack of it. There was nothing to draw me there like there is at the steak house, stan and joes etc. Sorry another business failed there but...
Robin Anderson January 03, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Their location was far from ideal. Behind a busy shopping center on a road hardly travelled, it's not a practical place for a fourth sports bar. I ate at Bill Batemans 4 times before I just stopped ordering the food all together. Service was slow. Food wasn't much to talk about, and although the cookie dessert was good, it tasted pre-made. They ran out of food halfway through happy hour when the restaurant was barely half full. The Lobster Tank was certainly the highlight for me. How about an upscale Italian restaurant like Brio? Coldstone didn't close, btw, it moved to a better location.
Kate Hughes January 03, 2013 at 02:47 PM
I agree about the more upscale italian place... there is a great potential outdoor patio area that I would adore walking to from my house and sitting outside drinking wine in the summer but no one has done anything with the exterior space... The Steakhouse and Fuji are always very busy so it has nothing to do with location. We have enough bar-b-que style places around there with Adams Ribs and more... give me a nice italian restaurant and I'll be a happy camper... I would also appreciate a non-chain, family place... I think we like buying local as a community so that might flourish. Bateman's was "ok" but as many have said- the service sucked... took forever to order and to get food. The crappy service and the fact that the food is already done so well in other places like Adams and The Steakhouse is why they failed- not because of location. If anyone is thinking of opening a nice place, TAKE A LOOK AT THE OUTSIDE BAR/LOUNGE IDEAS... I want a place I can relax in the summers...
John Pineau January 03, 2013 at 03:35 PM
I have know many businesses that have failed in that shopping complex, The History of how all of this took place is too long to post here. Simply Put.........You have to put a theme based destination restaurant. Way Back in the late 60's early 70's in N. VA Shakeys Pizza Parlor with real Dixieland Bands Fri Sat Sun Very light,Bright, Family Fun with Picnic Table type seating. Many Beers on tap/Wine........No Liquor needed ! Great cheap Pizza, Standard American menu and salads Ect. (Real wood Brick oven would be perfect is permits allowed) This would be a HOME RUN in Edgewater
Richard E. Otten January 03, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Oh, if DuClaw might expand beyond their current model of operating at large malls, they could do really well there.
Friedrich January 03, 2013 at 05:27 PM
We went there when they first opened as Bill Bateman's to celebrate our daughters 21st birthday. The food & service was good, maybe not excellent but good. Shame it hadn't improved in the last two years. The two main reasons for it closing seems to be the quality of service & food, which is the two main reasons any restaurant makes it or doesn't make it. We were told that the businesses in this location are not able to have signs along RT2 nor Central Ave to bring customer's in, so they have to depend on advertising, locals & prior customers, not good, since there's a large stream of travelers along these roads. When the place was first closed, we would say that an Olive Garden would be a fitting business to open there, than Bill Batemans opened, we had high hopes, since we had heard that the reputation of Bill Bateman's was excellent food & service. It doesn't make any sense to us but reading the remarks, it seems the manager might be the one to blame for this place not making it . We still would like to see an Olive Garden go in there, the closest Olive Garden is in Bowie & its always busy, that could be their location, however even as busy as they are, we've always had great food & service.
Matt January 03, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Simple answer, Bateman's was horrible in all areas!
D.W. January 03, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Anyone who has eaten in a Bill Bateman's within the past 5 years knows that the food quality is subpar compared to their competitors. Also, you all need to forget about any corporate restaurant going into that location. There just isn't a large enough customer base in that area to support one.
Shannon January 03, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Thanks for the Adams' recognition, Kate. Having only gone to Batemans three times, it sounds like I'm lucky to have gotten good service (and I know good service!). Otherwise, I can't say the food was terrible but it wasn't anything outstanding because I like places that specialize in something, like Adams with ribs and BBQ or a good steakhouse, i.e. Outback or The Steakhouse, and even Donny's crab cakes at The Edgewater Restaurant. But places like Bateman's, Applebee's, and TGI Fridays all offer the same generic menu. I'll tell you what...it's not easy for small family-owned businesses in Edgewater to stay open for as long as they have especially with all of the competition that has come here in the last two decades. So kudos to Adam's and Edgewater Restaurant for being able to stick it out and continue to give great service and great food.
Plasma January 04, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Why not turn it into an Olive Garden? You would make a fortune...
Edgewater Dave January 04, 2013 at 01:54 PM
I'm sorry to see Bill's go out. We went about a dozen times and the food was always good - typical of the genre. The Wednesday crabcake special was a real deal. Toward the end, the service had gotten poor, the menu changed, food & bar the specials disappeared and they never had the heat on. there have been several restaurants at this location - they never stayed open long enough to try. I thought a small chain like Bill's would make it. Tough to see another one bite the dust!
Brook & Sandi Brookshire January 04, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Oh, how I would love to see a good tex-mex restaurant in that location or maybe an irish pub like Park Lane Tavern with plenty of outside seating. It does seem a shame that these businesses can't place better signage on Route 2.
Tee Vee January 04, 2013 at 03:43 PM
Bad food + bad service = no business. It only took me one visit to see it was going to always be this way. I had the same experience at the location in Severna Park and somehow knew this wouldn't be any different. As others have mentioned, it's not the location since the Steakhouse and Fuji are doing well. Hopefull something great will move in!
Gisela Barry January 06, 2013 at 02:06 AM
My friend and I went there regularly but just for the crab pretzel and a salad. That was always good but the coffee was the most awful coffee ever. Stuff that they used to sell to you in the sixties and it was just hot colored water. I did notice that the place was getting more and more empty and when the lobster tank disappeared I knew they were pulling out.
Riva T January 06, 2013 at 02:48 PM
To anybody that is looking at this space, and believes they could make a restaurant work here, let me offer a few ideas: 1. Don't give us stuff that we already have in the area. If your sports bar/pub/steak house Applebees-type place is going to succeed, you are going have to be head-and-shoulders above anything else in area. That is way too difficult! How about a place that's a bit Caribbean and a bit Key West? How about a chili parlor? How about Israeli or Middle Eastern? South African? You know, you have to drive all the way to Charlottesville to experience that great South African cuisine. Make us want to seek this place out. 2. Demand that your servers know the menu backwards and forwards, and demand that they are courteous to customers. Courtesy improves repeat business, thereby improving tips for everybody. 3. Put a little thought into the interior. It's boring, and it doesn't feel right. Maybe a couple of dividers near the bar would help. 4. The location is NOT a hinderance. But when you are off the main roadway, you need to offer (a) be consistent and courteous to keep people in the area coming back and (b) offer something distinctive to make people from Severna Park, Bowie, etc. seek the place out.
Ceal Curran January 07, 2013 at 03:44 PM
I guess I am I am in the minority..my friends and family ate there several times and really liked the food, pleasant waitstaff, and friendliness. Only once was service slow and that was 6 of us at lunch time. Manager was very nice also. I would have recommended it to anyone based on our experience..and cost?? I didn't t think they were any higher than others!
Ed Woods January 08, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Well, I guess i'm going to upset a few folks but so be it. I never went there, simply because I saw nothing about the place that I thought I might Like... Folks commenting on here are having a ball dropping names, but Please, face reality, this isn't Annapolis. Someone, years ago, had a "Vision" that became South River Colony. So far, It has been a waste of time and money. Edgewater, Mayo, Woodland Beach, Davidsonville, et al, are below the South River where we never had places like the "Turtle", and all. Folks that want the "Annapolis Yuppie atmosphere" need to go back to Annapolis. If I had the Money to do so, I'd buy that place in a heartbeat, and put an establishment in there would be a hit. It would be called "Ed's Redneck Beer Joint".... It's time to return "The Beach" to it's proper condition...........
Local January 10, 2013 at 02:36 PM
To completely blame one thing is unfair. The place never took off. There were two other restaurants and one was a high end Italian restaurant run by the Steakhouse. Bill batemans had great weekly specials. They also supported some charities and football teams. The food and brand were definitely too similar to other establishments in the area. Managers went above and beyond on occasions that we were there, waiting on us and the long time staff knew our preferences. Most restaurants in the area have the same kind of staff- either great or horrible. But I will say if you ride by, there is no way to tell what it is until you are past it. There seems to be a lot of closing on that strip.


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