The Cambridge Ice & Oyster Festival returns this weekend. Photo by Jill Jasuta, courtesy of Cambridge Ice & Oyster Festival.

Baltimore restaurants are embracing the “new year, new you” ethos this week, with a flurry of announcements and updated menus. Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Openings and announcements

Ammoora, the new Syrian restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton, is open now. The restaurant’s menu draws inspiration from the Levant region of Syria and sounds fabulous.

Prima Dopa, a new spot for drinks and Italian fare, opened on Thames St. in mid-December. The restaurant’s owner is also the guy behind Canton’s El Bufalo and Raw & Refined.

The Oregon Grille, which was purchased by Atlas Restaurant Group and has been closed for renovations, will reopen at the end of the month. The restaurant is now accepting reservations for Jan. 30 and later.

Doughnut lovers are abuzz about this week’s news that Diablo Doughnuts will open a new outpost in Beltway Plaza in Overlea.

The Baltimore Banner reports that award-winning restaurateur Peter Chang will open a new restaurant, Peter Zhang Dim Sum, near Hopkins. The paper also reports that Chang’s Canton spot, NiHao, has spruced up its menu for the new year.

Sadly, Red Star in Fells Point closed after service last Saturday night.

Word on the street

The Baltimore Fishbowl team has heard a few scintillating whispers about the restaurant world lately, including the news that the new Foreman Wolf spot in Hampden will be an English-style pub. The restaurant, which will occupy the former home of Café Hon, is slated to open later this year. 

Cross Keys is the site of another juicy restaurant rumor we’ve heard. Allegedly – according to an industry insider – Atlas Restaurant Group is poised to take over the hotel at Cross Keys and plans turn the hotel restaurant into an Italian spot and open a steakhouse in the old Octavia space.

Busy times for two of Baltimore’s big names in restaurants!

New year, new menus

NiHao isn’t the only spot that is making some changes for the new year.

The Local Oyster is now open for brunch and Velleggia’s in Cross Street Market now has lunch hours.

Cypriana announced a new menu this week and Woodberry Tavern – the new incarnation of Woodberry Kitchen – has modified its menu (and prices) based on initial customer feedback.

At Petit Louis, coq au vin is making an appearance on the menu, from now until spring.

Hamilton-Lauraville newcomer Café Campli has also updated its menu for the new year and winter season.

Cambridge Ice & Oyster Festival

If you’re up for a road trip this weekend, Cambridge might be the place to go. The Eastern Shore town is hosting its second annual Ice & Oyster Festival on Saturday and Sunday. The festival, which is sponsored by the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina, includes tons of oysters to eat, beer and cocktails to drink, and ice sculptures to ogle.

Pasta & Playoffs

On Saturday, Tino’s Italian Bistro & Wine Bar in Columbia will host a Pasta & Playoffs event sponsored by Lumiere Vodka. From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the bar will have special Lumiere cocktails available – and from 3 to 4:30, the founder of the company will be on hand to sign bottles.

National Bagel Day

Sunday, Jan. 15 is National Bagel Day and Towson Hot Bagel is ready for it. All day on Sunday, THB will give away a free bagel and cream cheese with any purchase via the THB app. The only hitch is that to qualify, you must download the myTHB app before Sunday – so now is the time to do that.

Restaurant Weeks

Mid-to-late January is restaurant week season here in Baltimore – and we are in the throes of it.

Baltimore County’s event started last week and runs through January 22. Howard County’s promotion starts on Monday and Harford County’s follows a few days later, on Friday, Jan. 20. Baltimore City’s Restaurant Week is the latest of the bunch, beginning on Jan. 27.

Planning for the future

Mark your calendars for:

Jan. 21 & 22: Harry Potter Full Sensory Movie Experience at The Charmery

Jan. 27: Baltimore Restaurant Week Begins

Feb. 4: Fermentation Class at HEX Superette

Kit Pollard

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

Leave a comment

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