Two oyster-centric spots – The Local Oyster and True Chesapeake Oyster Co. – celebrate anniversaries this month.
Two oyster-centric spots – The Local Oyster and True Chesapeake Oyster Co. – celebrate anniversaries this month.

It’s mid-October, which means leaves are changing – and so are menus in restaurants across Baltimore. This week brings news of Oktoberfests, new fall flavors on plates and in glasses across the city, and a handful of openings and anniversaries.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap for the week ahead:

Openings & Announcements
Bushel and a Peck Kitchen & Bar, the newest spot from a team of veteran local restaurateurs, has opened in Clarksville. The restaurant’s menu focuses on ingredients from the Chesapeake Bay watershed – and it sounds great.

A new breakfast café, Kitsch, is opening in Tuscany-Canterbury this month.

Cielo Verde, the events space at the American Visionary Arts Museum, barely had time to open before it closed due to COVID. Happily, the space has reopened and is hosting small events. The catering operation is run by Irena Stein, of Alma Cocina Latina, and the space is beautiful.

Silver Queen Café has gotten a liquor license! The Hamilton café has already created some creative cocktail options that sound fantastic.

Cowboy Row, a Nashville-inspired chophouse, opens on Canton Square on Oct. 23. It will take over the space that formerly housed Plug Ugly’s Publick House.

Monarque, the new French steakhouse from Atlas Restaurant Group, will open Oct. 26. Atlas has also been in the news recently for its recent purchase of the iconic Fells Point watering hole The Admiral’s Cup.

Lee’s Pint & Shell turns four on Saturday and is celebrating with a party including free oysters and a one-hour open bar.

True Chesapeake Oyster Co. celebrated its first anniversary earlier this month and The Local Oyster (along with the rest of the original stalls in Mt. Vernon Marketplace) celebrated its fifth. Congratulations all around!

New twists on old favorites
Even though things are starting to inch towards normal, local restaurants continue to stay creative, with new offerings expanding their businesses.

Fans of Lobo in Fell’s Point have something new to cheer about. The beloved bar, which had incredible food, closed recently, but its team is still available for catering gigs.

Elizabeth Irish, one-half of the couple behind The Local Fry, is making ban chan for available pick-up. The selection of Korean dishes differs weekly; this week’s mix includes odeng (stir-fried fish cakes) and shi geum chi (spinach).

Café Troia has developed a $30 pizza package, including a pizza, salad and bottle of wine. There’s a generous twist, too: once a month, on a designated Pizza Night, a portion of proceeds goes to the food pantry run by the Assistance Center for Towson Churches.

New for fall
Gertrude’s sculpture garden venture, Cone Sisters Café, is back, with a new fall harvest menu including hot dogs and brats, fall beers ,and Donut Stop Believin’ Donuts.

Speaking of autumnal goodness: Miss Shirley’s has a brand new fall menu, including a Sweet October Treat – caramel creams apple cheesecake stuffed French toast, created with help from the folks at Goetze’s Candy Company.

The fall menu at Thames Street Oyster House has debuted, including regular specials inspired by some of the chef’s favorite spots outside the city. Every Thursday, the kitchen will host El Dandy night, celebrating Caribbean flavors with dishes like Bahamian shrimp chowder and braised oxtail pasties.

Ampersea is launching its fall cocktail menu on Saturday, Oct. 16, during its Harvest Happenings party. Head to the water for a pumpkin carving contest, a screening of “Scream” and deals on pumpkin beers and specialty cocktails.

At Johnny’s, the menu features all kinds of new seasonal dishes, including sweets like freshly baked pumpkin whoopie pies.

Duck Duck Goose’s fall updates include dishes like a beautiful bouillabaisse.

Mushrooms are all over menus right now, including gorgeous chanterelles mixed with pumpkin gnocchi and sage brown butter at La Cuchara and in a stew with pine nuts and a poached egg at Foraged.

Limoncello has added a pumpkincello to its house-made ‘cello lineup; it’s sure to be a good one.

Some of Bluebird Cocktail Room’s new fall lineup of cocktails are also bottled and ready to take away to enjoy at home. h

Celebrating October
All month long, Columbia is celebrating the season with an Octoberfest outside Cured / 18th & 21st. The socially distant, seated party features beers and fall cocktails, German food (think bratwurst and pretzels with beer cheese) and lots of revelry.

From now through Sunday, The Tilted Row has a special Oktoberfest menu including three grilled sausages, sauerkraut and homemade pretzels.

Charles Street Promenade
For one day only – Oct. 17 – N. Charles St. will close between Saratoga St. and North Ave., creating a walkable promenade that will allow people easy access to the shops and restaurants along the corridor.

Several restaurants along that stretch will have outdoor dining parklets outside their space: The Brewer’s Art, The Civil, Dooby’s, Lumbini, Marie Louise Bistro, Mick O’Sheas, Orto, Sotto Sopra, Spirits of Mt. Vernon and Sugarvale.

Look for fun specials and interesting pop-ups from those spots, too, like a Filipino pop-up at Brewer’s Art.

John Brown General at Star Bright Farm
On Oct. 17, the crew from John Brown General & Butchery will pop up at Star Bright Farm for a fun day celebrating the farm’s collaborative effort with Diamondback Beer. Proceeds from John Browns’ sales will go to support Whistle Pig Hollow, a Maryland farm beloved by local chefs for its excellent pigs. The farm has been hit hard by the pandemic (and its effect on restaurants), and the event proceeds are intended to help keep it afloat.

Autumn Wine Picnic at The Wine Collective
On Sunday, Oct. 18, The Wine Collective, in Union Collective, will host a picnic afternoon featuring terrific wines, food from Tom Cat’s Kitchen, coffee from Vent Coffee Roasters, treats from The Charmery, and musical performances from several local musicians.

The event will stretch throughout the afternoon; to ensure safety, guests will visit during on of three time slots and seating areas will be carefully spaced and disinfected between sessions.

Passion for Food & Wine – virtual style
In recent years, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Maryland’s annual fundraiser Passion for Food & Wine has earned a reputation as one of the best food and restaurant events in the city.

Due to COVID, this year’s event couldn’t take place, as it usually does, at the Four Seasons Hotel. However, members of the local food scene are dedicated to the cause (which is a great one) and have put together a fun virtual event, including a virtual masterclass cooking experience helmed by La Cuchara chef Ben Lefenfeld. To join in, you can purchase the ingredients for a dinner for two (including a bottle of wine and ingredients for Tito’s cocktails) then, Zooming from your own kitchen, follow along with the chef as he walks you through meal preparation.

Nope Beverages
Marylanders looking for fun non-alcoholic beverages have a new local option on the horizon: Nope Beverages. Keep an eye out for Nope, a line of carbonated, non-alcoholic drinks in creative flavors, like raspberry lime gingerbeer and grapefruit honey crush. The brand – which was born in the Baltimore suburbs – was developed as an interesting alternative to alcoholic drinks.

Nope drinks are available at a few spots around the city already, including Hull Street Blues, Bookmakers and Pickles Pub, and have expansion plans in the works.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:
Nov. 12: Guest’s Choice Wine Dinner at Manor Tavern 
Nov. 14: Crush Wine Tasting 2020 
Nov. 20: Wild Game & Whiskey at Elkridge Furnace Inn 

Kit Pollard

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