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What's Up Magazine

The Taste: 4021 Pub

Jan 18, 2018 11:00AM

Photography by Tony Lewis, Jr.

By Rita Calvert

4021 Pub

4021 Main St. Trappe, MD 21673 | 410.476.6202

Who doesn’t crave a great burger? Enter the agrarian burger at 4021 Pub (pronounced “forty twenty-one”) in historic Trappe, tucked in a setting of farmlands on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore! I visited the charming spot and talked to owner Rob Pascal of the Pascal Family Group,  Maddie Megahan, Director of Marketing, and Chef Benjamin. Read further to learn how this appealing neighborhood spot evolved from what was once a treasured steakhouse. 

Tell us how the concept of 4021 Pub came together? What is the atmosphere?

4021 Pub is housed in the same building that was originally the beloved Mitchum’s Steak House. We kept most of the beautiful architecture like the large wooden doors, huge windows, soaring ceilings, entrance chandelier, marble tiles, and most importantly, the gorgeous wooden bar. At the outset we opened as Talbot Smokehouse but that was just too much work, so we became the pub with an atmosphere that encourages people to eat, drink, and linger with our inviting leather sofas around our two Diamond billiards tables. I wanted an inviting place that would appeal to local residents and they are passionate about this spot!

Rob and Chef Ben, what makes a burger “artisan”?

Our thick burgers are high quality with upscale ingredients like house-ground beef, avocado, and goat cheese. Our buns are special because they are high and fluffy with an egg glaze on the top. Now that’s unusual.

Maddie, what is the ongoing thread for a theme that pulls this together? Do your themed nights follow that?

Our ongoing theme is definitely the Eastern Shore, hence the deer and duck logo that Rob and I created together. Our logo is centered on the large black board we have on the main wall. The overall demographics here are lots of folks who are drawn to the land by the waterfowl, hunting, and fishing.

For themes, if something would draw a crowd, we’d consider it. Our best example is the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight. We bought the rights to stream it live (which most folks couldn’t afford although they wanted to see it) and had a standing-room only crowd. Folks who never knew we existed found a new, homey spot. We plan to have live music one night a week in the future.

Who is the “voice of operations”?  Rob, how does all of this work?

I’m the main voice of operations for all of our properties but I couldn’t do it without our team. We have fantastic infrastructure in our staff. We all depend on one another. I am so busy with the new Pascal’s Chophouse opening in Severna Park, plus I have a new baby, and a toddler. My days are long but our team gets it done.

Maddie is the voice of marketing, which takes a lot of time for our various properties. She actually posted about Pascal’s Chophouse on Facebook and got 2,500 followers the first week!

Chef Benjamin, what are you most excited about right now in the direction of your food?

I’m excited to see our dishes and drinks here at the Pub named after local spots or snippets of Eastern Shore life like The Bolingbroke Burger, The Horseman, or Shark Bite cocktails.
The quality of our food here is also inspiring. Our house ground eye of the round makes a great burger (it’s a fairly coarse grind) and we sear it on a flat griddle. For the 4021 Burger we actually grind certified Prime Angus steak! We make all of our sauces, vinaigrettes, and dressings. Our brick-oven pizzas are excellent and are the same product we had in our now closed pizza restaurant across the street. We had to have that pizza oven here!

Chef Ben, does 4021 Pub change menus seasonally? How do you come up with fresh menu ideas?

We change our menu about three times a year based mainly on boredom! If certain things aren’t selling, we change them. Folks suggest things they want to see on the menu and we listen. The season also influences what we offer. For instance, Rob wanted Cornish hen as an entrée and I adapted it for fall by giving it an apricot glaze with fall spices and a cranberry stuffing.

With close to three decades in the food, media production, marketing and public relations fields, Rita has created myriad programs, events, cooking sessions on national television, the stage and The Annapolis School of Cooking. She has partnered in writing cookbooks and product lines to showcase the inspiration, art and nourishment of food. Her work has always embodied the naturally wholesome and satisfying. In The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up, Rita supports the effort for Regenerative Agriculture while helping grillers understand what makes ‘grassfed’ different.

The Bolingbroke Burger

Serves 4

Photography by Tony Lewis, Jr.

We grind our own beef for our burgers, which may be difficult to do at home. It does really make for a superior burger!

The candied bacon and pub sauce can be made in advance.

4 brioche burger buns
butter, at room temperature 
4 (6-ounce) beef hamburgers
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces goat cheese
6 strips cooked candied bacon, cut in half (recipe follows)
1 avocado, sliced and divided into fourths 
2 cups baby arugula
4 eggs (for frying)
pub sauce (recipe follows) 

Preheat grill or cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Slice the buns and butter lightly. Toast insides on hot grill until just golden brown. 

Season burgers with salt and pepper, then grill to desired temperature. After flipping the burgers, top them with the goat cheese, then the candied bacon. 

Apply pub sauce to both sides of the toasted roll, then place about a quarter cup of arugula on the bottom half of the bun and put a quarter of the sliced avocado on the arugula. 

Remove the burgers from the grill; lay them on top of the avocado on the bun.

Fry the eggs in the same skillet as the burgers, or if grilling burgers, use a separate skillet. Cook until the white is done, then set that on top of the candied bacon. Add the bun top and enjoy!  

Candied Bacon 
6 strips thick cut bacon 
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325F. Toss bacon in bowl with brown sugar and pepper until well coated. Bake 18 to 25 minutes in parchment or foil layers between 2 cookie sheets to keep it flat.

Pub Sauce 
1 cup mayonnaise 
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons black pepper

Mix ingredients together. Make extra to dip fries in!