Allora is moving, but guests won’t have to travel far: The Mount Vernon coffee shop and bistro is relocating just a few doors down from its current location.

The new address at East Eager and North Charles streets is familiar to many in the city as the former Grand Central, a longtime gay bar and nightclub that closed in 2019 when it was purchased by Landmark Partners. The property now anchors a large new development called City House Charles and features an eight-story office building above.

“We’re super excited” about the move, said Brendon Hudson, who opened Allora in 2021 with life and business partner David Monteagudo.

Hudson grew up going to Grand Central. “It’s now full circle to be opening in that space,” he said. He wants his bistro, an LGBTQ-owned business, to bring a welcoming atmosphere to the neighborhood, traditionally the city’s “gayborhood.” They hope to host drag brunches and other LGBTQ-friendly events.

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In addition, Roggenart Bakery and Cafe will join Allora as a neighboring business within the same building. It will open in September.

“Between Roggenart and Allora, we’ll have round-the-clock, superb food and beverage options for all,” Jon Pannoni, president of Landmark Partners, said in a statement. “The activation of this key corner space will bring City House Charles to life while reinforcing Mount Vernon as a choice neighborhood to dine and explore.”

Hudson and Monteagudo, who met at the Culinary Institute of America, have run Liliahna Luxury Catering since 2015 and are fast expanding their restaurant holdings in the city. They recently launched Velleggia’s, an Italian sit-down restaurant in Cross Street Market, inspired by Hudson’s family’s longtime Little Italy eatery. They are also preparing to open full-service restaurant Zander’s on July 1 in the former Alexander Brown Restaurant, which is in a historic bank building downtown, Hudson said.

But the restaurateur is trying to stay level-headed. “It’s pretty chaotic for sure but it’s a controlled chaos,” he said. And he’s grateful for the opportunities his hometown has offered. “Never in our wildest dreams would we have thought we would have this much success in this short period of time in Baltimore, of all places. … We couldn’t be happier.”

The new Allora space will also come with a new amenity: the ability to sell alcohol. Operating as a BYOB since it launched, Allora had been unable to obtain a liquor license because it fell short of the minimum 75 seats Baltimore restaurants must have to acquire one. But at 2,500 square feet, the new spot down the street can fit many more people, so Hudson is applying to transfer the license from Grand Central, which is still in effect. (Liquor licenses are generally in short supply in Mount Vernon because of legal restrictions in the neighborhood, said Nicholas Blendy, deputy executive secretary of Baltimore’s Board of Liquor License Commissioners. Licenses can only be transferred within the neighborhood, not from other parts of the city.)

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“When we initially opened Allora, we had this idea for a full Roman concept, which is now what it’s going to be,” Hudson said. It “will look and feel like a more mature Allora.” The new location includes bar seating as well as a chef’s counter and outdoor dining area on East Eager Street. The current space will shut down for a few weeks, likely toward the end of the summer, as it relocates. Developers are eyeing an October debut.

It’s all a part of Hudson and Monteagudo’s larger goal, Hudson said: “We want to bring Baltimore onto the national map for food scenes.”

The address for City House Charles has been updated.