Hot Plate: Sally O’s, Water Song Yunnan Kitchen and other spots open, restaurants celebrate seasonal ingredients, wine dinners and more

Bluebird in Hampden has reopened as a burger, dog and boozy shake pop-up called “Until Conditions Improve.”

August just might be the best time for dining out in Maryland. From peaches to corn to tomatoes to locally-caught crab and tuna, restaurants are celebrating the bounty of the season. Though dining out continues to look different than it did in the past, local restaurants are making the most of the situation with pop-up outdoor spaces and special menus.

This week, there’s plenty of room for optimism, with the announcement of several new spots opening and fun events on the horizon. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Federal Hill condominium offers stylish space with a penthouse view


Hot House: 327 Warren Avenue, Unit K, Federal Hill, Baltimore

Two-level penthouse with a view over Federal Hill Park and the harbor. Three bedrooms, two and a half baths, impressive views. Asking price: $1,075,000

With plenty of room, decorator touches, and stunning views of Federal Hill Park, the harbor, and the glittering city skyline, this place has space, convenience, and great looks!

Guilford home of the late Richard Macksey, legendary Hopkins prof, features impressive library


107 St. Martin’s Road, Guilford, Baltimore

Hot House: A little bit of France nestled in the heart of Guilford. Five bedrooms/five baths. Massive library space. Beautiful gardens. Asking price: $835,000

A Little Good News for Once


On July 14, 2020, my 2005 collection of essays, Above Us Only Sky, is being reissued by Counterpoint in both paper and digital editions. To the original essays, I’ve added 22 new ones, 17 of them written for this column. That’s why the new edition is dedicated to Baltimore Fishbowl founder and publisher Suzy Dunn – without her support, most of this new work would not exist. And you Fishbowl readers, you too get credit. Some writers produce masterpieces in isolation, but I can’t write 500 words without believing that somebody will read them, and soon.

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

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:

A Fells Point house’s simple facade belies luxury amenities


828 Bond Street, Fells Point, Baltimore.

Historic row house in Fells Point with all the amenities. A quiet retreat within a bustling neighborhood. Five bedrooms and five baths, one partial bath, 4,311 square feet. Asking price: $1,350,000.

Hot House: You will never find another house like this one. It’s right in the midst of the fun and entertainment that Fells Point is famous for, but it’s a cool retreat with lots of space and amenities usually found in the suburbs, including a pool, beautiful trees, and on-site parking. Add to that five bedrooms, an updated kitchen and bathrooms, entertaining space, and a long history in Baltimore, and you have this one-of-a-kind Bond Street dwelling. 

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

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:

Greeting Cards for All Occasions


I used to think the most unbearable feeling in the world was being misunderstood. Now I am misunderstood so often that it must be I who misunderstands. Most problematically, I seem to misunderstand myself.  The big thing that’s happening now, where white people who didn’t think they were racist are finding out they actually are? That is happening to me, and not just on the social justice front. In the end, it may turn out I was a very deluded Shetland pony or a Catholic nun in the grip of a fever dream.

Historic Otterbein rowhouse offers stylish, convenient city living


Hot House: 142 W. York Street, Otterbein. 1820’s house with architect-designed renovations, respecting the original space. Two bedrooms, two baths, 2448 square feet. Asking price: $614,000

1920s Tudor house offers old world details in quiet, convenient location


Hot House: 1023 Winding Way, Poplar Hill, Baltimore, 21210.

Four bedrooms, five and a half baths. Tudor influences throughout. Fireplaces and original wood paneling. Off-street parking and garages.  Built in 1928. Asking price: $1,000,000