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Q&A: Chef Zack Mills talks oysters, seafood, and creating a menu that celebrates the Chesapeake at True Chesapeake Oyster Co.

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True Chesapeake Chef Zack Mills.

Step into the month-old Hampden restaurant True Chesapeake Oyster Co., and you can almost see and taste the Chesapeake Bay. Jay Fleming’s photos of lighthouses floating on the water grace the walls and the color palette contains various shades of blue. Its signature dish makes its way into the design as thousands of crushed oyster shells are featured in the wraparound bar and oyster cages hang near the entrance.

“There are so many vignettes around the restaurant that make me smile,” says Chef and Partner Zack Mills says of the first restaurant in Whitehall Mill, an 18th century mill undergoing restoration by Terra Nova ventures. “When you’re in a building that’s really beautiful, it’s more fun to come to work.”

Village Square Cafe Celebrates 10 years of Casual Dining and Comfort Food

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Most restaurant owners wouldn’t consider opening during a recession, but that’s exactly what Robert and Roseann Glick did when they debuted their 130-seat neighborhood café in the Village of Cross Keys December 2008.

Robert’s mother, Ruth Shaw  — of the upscale women’s boutique of the same name that was in Cross Keys for decades — had lamented the lack of a casual café at the suburban shopping center and suggested that someone should open an eatery there, Roseann said.

“It couldn’t have been a worse time to launch a new business, but fortunately for us, we succeeded,” she said. The business caught on quickly and, luckily, the husband-and-wife duo picked the right concept for those lean times: a casual restaurant that serves comfort food. “I think it was to our advantage that we weren’t fine dining,” Roseann said.

Husband-and-wife team bring a small-town feel to local shopping with Ruxton Mercantile

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At the new Ruxton Mercantile general store, customers can buy activated charcoal toothpaste, throw blankets made on antique looms and merino wool clothing from New Zealand.

And they can head to the back to grab a cup of Ceremony Coffee with an array of add-ins that will enhance your skin, like collagen, peptide boosters, and raw honey.

National Aquarium Plots Real Estate Moves

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Courtesy Bmore Media – Leaders at the National Aquarium in Baltimore are weighing upgrades to its Inner Harbor building, moving its Fells Point animal rescue facility and changes to its dolphin exhibit that will enhance its conservation mission.

The aquarium has hired Studio Gangs Architects and Impacts Research & Development LLC to prepare a report by the spring that will lay out its strategic planning initiative, says Eric Schwaab, the aquarium’s chief conservation officer.

“A big part of the effort will involve significant outreach to other partners and stakeholders in the community,” Schwaab says. 

Birroteca Owner Opening Nickel Taphouse in Mount Washington

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Courtesy Bmore Media – Less than a year after opening his popular artisan pizza joint Birroteca, Robbin Haas is ready to tackle his next restaurant venture in Mount Washington.

Will Redevelopment Boost Baltimore’s Food Economy?

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THE FUTURE HOME OF THE BALTIMORE FOOD HUB, FORMERLY THE EASTERN PUMPING STATION. PHOTO BY STEVE RUARK.

Courtesy Bmore Media – Hampden resident Kate Nolan Bryden caters about a dozen weddings, baby showers and dinner parties a year. But she is holding off upgrading her Graceful Gourmand website because she hasn’t been able to find a nearby commercial kitchen for rent that would give her more room to work. Baking 140 cookies would take just 12 minutes with a commercial kitchen. In her home kitchen, where she currently cooks, it takes her six to seven hours.

But three abandoned buildings in East Baltimore — used most recently as a filming location for “The Wire” —could be her salvation. That’s where developer Bill Struever, restaurateur Spike Gjerde and other partners are plotting a $16 million campus for food-related enterprises in the former Eastern Pumping Station. The Baltimore Food Hub will contain a commercial kitchen for rent, an incubator, small business counseling and an urban farming operation led by Big City Farms.

Expanded Maryland Film Festival to Feature Latest Matthew Poterfield Film

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Filmmaker Matthew Porterfield. Photo by Steve Ruark.
Filmmaker Matthew Porterfield. Photo by Steve Ruark.

Courtesy Bmore Media – When asked how his life has changed since releasing his lauded film “Putty Hill” three years ago, Matthew Porterfield says, simply, that he travels a lot more.

Indeed, the Baltimore filmmaker has hit film festivals in Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Lisbon and Berlin, along with several U.S. cities to promote his third movie “I Used to Be Darker.”

Investors to Spend $1.3 Million to Resurrect Former Pabst Brewery

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Photo courtesy kilduffs.com
Photo courtesy kilduffs.com

A South Baltimore entrepreneur is brewing up plans to revive the former Pabst Brewing Co. building at the corner of Wells and South Charles Streets.

New Restaurants in 2012 Embrace Pizza, Beer and Greek Food

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Birroteca - Steve Ruark
Birroteca – Steve Ruark

Courtesy Bmore Media – Ed Bosco wanted to open his Neapolitan pizza place near Chicago’s Wrigley Field nearly a decade ago.

But he bid on the property and lost. But the idea lingered long after for the native New Yorker and former commodities trader.

Crowdfunding Jumpstarts New Ventures in Unlikely Places

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Darren J. Gendron, CEO of Scallywags International, with the Scurvy Dogs board game. Photo by Steve Ruark, Bmore Media.

Courtesy Bmore Media – Darren J. Gendron wanted to develop a pirate-themed board game, but estimated that printing 1,000 copies would cost $15,000 – money he didn’t have.

So the Columbia entrepreneur turned to crowdfunding – the fast-growing global trend of using the Internet to raise small amounts of money from lots of people – to raise startup funds. The CEO of Scallywags International raised nearly $70,000 on Kickstarter to create his board game Scurvy Dogs, his comic card game 3v3, and children’s book “The Monster Alphabet.”

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