Guinness Open Gate Brewery's St. Patrick's Day festivities kick off on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Guinness Open Gate Brewery.

Restaurant patios all over Baltimore opened for the season this past week, but with whiplash-style weather on the horizon – it is still winter, after all – the dining scene heads back indoors for the next few days.

Fortunately, local restaurants have a lot planned, from wine dinners to chef pop-ups. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings and announcements

Cockeysville has a new shopping destination: Saffron International Market. The store opened on Feb. 19 and sells a wide variety of Mediterranean and Persian products.

After many, many months, The Prime Rib has signed a new lease to stay in Mt. Vernon. The iconic restaurant will expand and renovate its space, with work starting within the next few months.

Last year, there was talk that The Prime Rib might move to the Village of Cross Keys, but that move ended up being scuttled. The Cross Keys vibe could still change soon, though, as the shopping center has been approved for a marketplace liquor license, which means that shoppers can walk around the courtyard with drinks in hand. Good news for Cross Keys shops!

BORT in town

In conjunction with the CIAA Basketball Tournament, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore has put together a Black-Owned Restaurant Tour Week (BORT) event, with pop-ups through Saturday. On Friday, Feb. 24, visit Hood Fellas Bistro on North Calvert Street and on Saturday, the party moves to Swill Apothecafé by Blacksmiths and to Unity Bar & Restaurant.

Tequila at Pierpoint

On Saturday, Pierpoint Restaurant hosts a tequila dinner and discussion. The event includes education about the different types of tequila, a flight of tequilas to taste, plus a four-course meal of “elevated Mexican food” paired with tequila cocktails.

Soup Extravaganza at Baltimore Taphouse

On Sunday, Baltimore Taphouse is getting its soup on with a soup cook-off. The event is sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing and comes on the heels of the spot celebrating its 19th anniversary.

British invasion at The Milton Inn

On Tuesday, Brit chef Mark Levy will join Executive Chef Chris Scanga in the kitchen at The Milton Inn for a one-night-only collaborative supper. The five-course meal includes courses like poached Maine lobster with bubble and squeak, and beef wellington with duxelles and foie gras. Each course is also paired with thoughtfully selected wines from the Milton Inn/Foreman Wolf collection.

Wines of Puglia at Cosima

On Wednesday, a representative from Puglia winemaker Cantine Menhir Salenta will be at the bar at Cosima, talking about wine and enjoying a special menu of small plates designed to pair with the company’s wines. The event starts at 6 p.m. and lasts until 8 p.m.

Maryland Vegan Restaurant Month

Wednesday is also March 1, which marks the start of the 11th Maryland Vegan Restaurant Month. Here in Baltimore, the celebration will officially kick off on Thursday, March 2, with a happy hour at The Lord Baltimore Hotel featuring drinks and bites from participating restaurants. The event is open to the public but RSVPs are requested (here).

The initiative, which is organized by the owners of Land of Kush and Golden West Café, puts the spotlight on vegan offerings at restaurants around the area. During the month, participating restaurants will feature even more vegan fare than they normally do. There are tons of local participants, from Wicked Sisters and Papi’s Tacos, to Miss Shirley’s, to Heritage Kitchen in Whitehall Mill.

Gearing up for St. Pat’s

The beginning of March also means the start of St. Patrick’s Day season in Baltimore. Guinness Open Gate Brewery will kick off its month-long celebration of the patron saint of Ireland on Thursday. Throughout the month, every Thursday through Sunday, brewery guests can take advantage of special beer releases, a secret menu, and beer dinners, along with live music, in an “immersive Irish Village” setting.

Oysters + wine at True Chesapeake

On Thursday, Domaine de la Combe owner and winemaker Pierre-Henri Gadais will be at True Chesapeake Oyster Co. to share his knowledge of wine with restaurant guests while they dine oyster dishes paired with Domaine de la Combe wines.

Guests will be seated at the restaurant’s community tables, to provide better and broader access to the winemaker. The event is not ticketed, but there is a limited number of seats, so reservations are a good idea.

Planning for the future

Mark your calendars for:

March 13: Ggoma Supper Club Pop-Up with The Bluebird Cocktail Room at JBGB’s

March 30: Women’s History Month Whiskey Dinner at Silver Queen Café

May 11: Bourton & Bowties

Kit Pollard

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

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