Kit Pollard

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Kit Waskom Pollard is a Baltimore Fishbowl contributing writer. She writes Hot Plate every Friday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.

Hot Plate: Bottoms Up Bagels opens, new Whitehall Market vendors, al fresco dining expands and more

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Guinness Open Gate Grewery has reorganized its outdoor area to make social distancing and safe enjoyment of the space easy.

Though the reopening of the Baltimore restaurant scene hasn’t been all smooth sailing, the past few weeks have brought some good news in terms of openings, collaborations and upcoming events.

Here’s a look at what’s happening locally:

Hot Plate: Restaurants are coming back, but it’s far from business as usual

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We are looking forward to seeing empty tables – like the ones at Chez Hugo Bistro (above) – safely filled with diners enjoying great meals.

It’s been nearly three months since the last installment of this column. While Baltimore restaurants as a whole never went completely dark during that time, and many restaurant owners and employees are working harder than ever, for restaurant guests, it’s been a quiet time at home.

For the restaurant industry, things are still far from business as usual and are changing rapidly, but glimmers of normality are starting to emerge: announcements of future openings, collaborations between chefs, new dates for postponed events and, of course, the upcoming return to indoor dining, albeit at reduced capacity.

So with that, Hot Plate is back! The column will run only every few weeks to start but hopefully sooner rather than later, both the restaurant industry and the column will be back to their regular schedules.

The good news is that already, there’s a lot to look forward to in the Baltimore restaurant world. Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Hot Plate: How to support Baltimore’s restaurant industry during coronavirus

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The Capital Grille is one of many local restaurants offering carryout options right now; the downtown restaurant is also selling uncooked steaks to take home.

For the second week in a row, this is not the usual, lighthearted installment of Hot Plate, sharing information about wine dinners and seafood festivals, as events are canceled and restaurants are no longer open in their traditional capacity, in an effort to flatten the curve and stem the transmission of coronavirus.

This is a challenging time around the world and in every industry. The restaurant business, with low margins and reliance on tipping and on customers gathering in one place to generate income, has been hit especially hard (though it is by no means the only industry suffering).

To understand some of what restaurants are dealing with right now, read this Facebook post from Clavel owner Lane Harlan.

So as lovers of Baltimore and lovers of restaurants, what can we do to help? There are a few things.

Hot Plate: Supporting local restaurants during challenging times and other Baltimore restaurant news

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St. Patrick’s Day festivities will feel anything but typical this year – though local restaurants are working hard to continue to stay open.

While coronavirus concerns have led to school closures, events being cancelled and other cautionary measures, restaurants and bars are generally staying open–so far–and they need patrons now more than ever. It is definitely not business as usual out there.

Given the rapidly moving disease landscape, it makes sense to check with restaurants and other venues before heading out for specific events or even just to dine out. As we’ve all learned over the past few days, nothing is set in stone, and doing a little extra research is always helpful.

Hot Plate: International Women’s Day at Topside, Stags’ Leap Winery dinner and more

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On Wednesday night, The Milton Inn showcases the wines of California’s famous Stags’ Leap Winery.

Crabs, oysters, mac and cheese: This week, the Baltimore food scene has a little something for everyone, including tons of ways to raise money for good causes while eating and drinking. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Hot Plate: Cocktail competition at The AB, St. Leo’s ravioli dinner, Polish pop-up at Salt and more

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St. Leo’s ravioli dinner is this Sunday, starting at noon.

This week is a relatively quiet one on the Baltimore restaurant scene but the events that are taking place offer a little something for everyone, from cocktail lovers to serious carnivores.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Hot Plate: National Margarita Day celebrations, wine dinners, whiskey tastings and more

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Wine and whiskey lovers have a lot of options this week; there are tasting events and pairing dinners scheduled all week long.

Buckle up, Baltimore food lovers. This week is a big one in the restaurant world, featuring several terrific wine and spirits dinners, lots of margaritas, and even a little Harry Potter. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Hot Plate: Valentine’s Day spillover, Chocolate Fest at Union Collective and more

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On Tuesday, Pierpoint hosts a class on French and English cheeses. It’s one of several interesting culinary classes happening around town this week.

This week is a terrific one in the Baltimore restaurant world, with events focused on everything from chocolate to cheese to margaritas, plus a slew of delicious announcements. Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Hot Plate: Ekiben and CookHouse open, Valentine’s Day around town and more

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Bluebird’s tableside absinthe drip cocktail is one of several cocktails for two available this Valentine’s Day.

Love is all around, Baltimore, which means it’s a great time to head out to a restaurant. There’s a lot going on this week and not just on Valentine’s Day.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Restaurant Review: Locust Point’s Limoncello delivers sophisticated Italian fare

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Locust Point newcomer Limoncello might soon be your new favorite restaurant for a special occasion. But if you live nearby, it could become your trusty neighborhood spot, too.

Limoncello opened in late October, on the first floor of Anthem House, one of the new mixed-use buildings that have popped up around South Baltimore over the past few years. Anthem House’s developers call it a “lifestyle community.” In addition to luxury apartments, the building houses a barre/fitness studio and several restaurants.

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