(Left to right) A crabcake sandwich from Capt'n Crabby; oysters from The Urban Oyster; and a chicken kabob wrap from Kandahar Kitchen.

Hampden’s culinary footprint is growing, with at least 10 new places to eat, drink, and gather that are either already in business or preparing to open over the next few months.

Cuisine type spans the globe, seating varies from indoor to outdoor, and owners range from recognizable longtime members of Hampden’s business community to enthusiastic restaurateurs venturing into the neighborhood for the first time.

What used to be Treehouse Café at 3400 Chestnut Ave. will be New Asian Taste. Owner Ming Zheng is relocating his Asian Taste restaurant from 916 W. 36th St. to the former café, and will continue offering a variety of Japanese, Korean, Chinese food at reasonable prices.

Next door to the Royal Farms on the Avenue, Jasmine Norton will open her new location for The Urban Oyster at 916 W. 36 St. The Urban Oyster was the first Black woman-owned oyster bar in Maryland, having previously operated out of Locust Point, Hotel Revival, and a stall at Whitehall Mill. According to The Baltimore Sun, Norton has fans traveling from as far away as Kentucky to try her oysters. She’s also planning to sell burgers and steamed crabs.

Directly next to The Urban Oyster will be Catalog Coffee, owned by David Sherman. Sherman first owned Café Cito in Hampden, then Ground & Griddled in R. House. Catalog Coffee will be open in a few weeks for breakfast and lunch.

Kandahar Afghan Kitchen is now open next to where Catalog Coffee will be. Its owner, Assad Akbari, was head chef at The Helmand for years. Like The Helmand, Kandahar serves Afghani food. They’re open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Patrons can bring their own alcohol.

Chef Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman are planning to open a restaurant in the space that the iconic Café Hon occupied for 30 years (and one week).

Brenology will occupy the space that used to be 13.5 Wine Bar and will specialize in sangrias and tapas. Owner Latoya Johnson-Carter plans to have live entertainment and retain much the same vibe as 13.5 Wine Bar, and there will still be a full bar. They plan to open in six weeks.

Born and raised in Maryland, MJ Medlar and Steve Jones are bringing their cooking back home after living in Denver and Virginia Beach. In 2011, while in Denver, they started a food truck called “Capt’n Crabby,” selling Maryland crabcakes. They moved to Virginia Beach in 2015 and expanded, opening a restaurant in Norfolk right as the pandemic began. Like so many others, the restaurant faced pandemic-related challenges and closed, and Medlar and Jones moved back to Baltimore. 

The Capt’n Crabby restaurant will serve the same food as their food truck, expanding on that menu further. They’re famous for their specialty crabcakes, called Crabby Patties, with Old Bay aioli.

There are 25 different specialty crabcakes, some of which are staples, some are seasonal, and some will be rotated out monthly. The Texan features a crabcake with jalapeño cream cheese, bacon, and haystack onions. The Hipster is a crabcake with bourbon bacon jam, frosted flakes, and a fried egg. Medlar says they’ll also serve Crabby Fries, pit beef sandwiches, crab pretzels, and shrimp salad.

Capt’n Crabby will be open from Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and will be located where the old Waffie’s was, at 839 W. 36th St. Medlar and Jones are co-owners, and Jones is the chef. They’re hoping for a soft opening in mid-May, and to be fully open in the beginning of June.

Carroll & Sons is in Union Craft Brewing hall, open right now and operating under a provisional license. John Carroll serves an “interesting selection of foods close to his heart from growing up in Baltimore,” according to Hampden’s “unofficial mayor” Lou Catelli. Carroll & Sons’ Instagram account features dishes like grilled cheese and tater tots, “Coddies,” known as the “poor man’s crabcakes,” and smoked and country fried Cornish game hen.

Behind the church-turned-coworking space on the corner of Hickory and 36th Streets will be a beer garden called Hampden Yards. Co-owners Jesse Vann and Tim Conder envision this space as Hampden’s neighborhood backyard bar. They’ll serve traditional beer garden food, like sausages, pretzels, burgers, and chips and guacamole. But the main focus, of course, would be the beer.

Vann and Conder plan to have 16 taps, 12 featuring a rotating line-up of all-local breweries, and the other four taps serving cocktails. There will be a club membership, where customers can purchase a growler, and fill it up with the beer of their choice to bring home with them.

Hampden Yards will also have a Moscow Mule menu and a Crush menu. Vann describes it as “one of the best liquor programs I’ve ever seen.”

They’ll have foosball, movie nights, and will broadcast Orioles and Ravens games. For soccer fans, Hampden Yards is going to be the Home Bar for the Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) – showing all the Premier League matches for the Wolves. Vann hopes it’s going to be “the best backyard hangout around.”

They’ll be open from Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.Aiming for an early May opening is the Warehouse Cinemas at the Rotunda. It’s a seven-screen movie theater with a full beer wine liquor license and a menu that goes beyond movie food, though that’s available, too. There is a self-serve beer wall, a premium bar with wine and movie-themed cocktails, and food you can bring to your heated recliner seats to enjoy as you watch your movie.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *