Moore Crunch Flavored Pretzels is one of several new vendors at the Fells Point Farmers Market, which kicks off for summer on Saturday morning. Photo courtesy of Fells Point Farmers Market.

With sunnier days (hopefully) ahead and a calendar full of fun food events, there’s plenty of reasons for Baltimore food lovers to head out this week. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings & announcements

Unfortunately, this week brings news of a couple closures.

Joe Benny’s, the Little Italy spot beloved for its pizza and meatballs, will close later this month or in June, after nine fantastic years in the community.

Let’s Brunch Café, which opened in the Remington spot that formerly housed The Dizz, has closed. The building is now back on the market.

Theatergoers (and many others) received some sad news this week when Forno, near the Hippodrome, announced its closure. The restaurant has now officially closed for dinner but will open for drinks and to say goodbye on Saturday evening and for wine carryout on Sunday.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo and First Friday coincide this year, which makes for an extra fun start to the month. Last week, we covered specials and events at Papi’s Tacos, Copper Shark and Bandito’s – but there’s more.

In Hamilton, Cinco de Mayo gets a combo with First Friday at Silver Queen Café, where the menu will include fried catfish tacos and there will be discounts on apps with entrée purchases – plus a few Cinco-inspired cocktails, like a Spicy Guava-Rita. 

In Canton, the party will go on all weekend long, with Nacho Mama’s Cinco de Derby festivities. Derby attire is welcome all weekend and drink specials cover both occasions (think margaritas and mint juleps).

Kicking off Asia North 2023

From May 5 through June 3, Station North will put the spotlight on the local Asian community through events and an exhibit at The Parlor and Motor House.

The monthlong celebration will begin with a kickoff party starting at 5 p.m. on May 5. The party includes art, a DJ, dance performances, remarks from Mayor Brandon Scott – and food! Korean food will be provided by Brown Rice and The Modern Barangay Speakeasy, with drinks from r. bar.

Fells Point Farmers Market is back!

The Fells Point Farmers Market kicks off its 12th summer season on Saturday morning. The market, which has grown from about 10 vendors in its first year to over 60 now, opens at 8 a.m. and is located on Broadway Square.

The vendor mix is a good one, including produce, flowers, meats, seafood and cheese, plus coffee and breakfast items. This year’s vendor lineup features a handful of new businesses, including Moore Crunch Flavored Pretzels and southern Maryland’s organic Rustic Ridge Farm.

Derby action

On Saturday, The Chausseur hosts its 8th annual Kentucky Derby Block Party. The party – which takes place in a tented space outside the restaurant – lasts all weekend long. There will be DJs and a portion of the ticketed entry will be donated to charity.

At Sally O’s, a Louisville Hot Brown will grace the menu all weekend, in honor of the Derby. Plus, the Highlandtown restaurant is holding a raffle for a bottle of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. Tickets are $20 – and come with a mint julep.

Grateful brunch

The first weekend of the month means it’s time for True Chesapeake Oyster Co.’s monthly Grateful Brunch. The brunch, which features music from Caleb Stine, includes a Chesapeake-inspired buffet, fun cupcakes, and tie-dyed mimosas.

OPACY eats

Starting on Monday, the crew from The Local Fry will be in the pop-up space at Camden Yards. The fry-and-wing joint will occupy the space through Wednesday, May 16, which includes games against Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and the LA Angels.

Santé: Giving Back for Kidney Disease

On Wednesday, the National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware hosts its annual fundraiser at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

The event, dubbed Santé, showcases tons of terrific local restaurants and food and beverage makers. This year’s lineup includes Boordy Vineyards, Farmacy Brewing, Union Craft Brewing, Sagamore Spirit, Sandy Bottom Rum Cocktails, Tito’s Vodka, B’More Made with Pride Kitchen, Arepi, Natasha’s Just Brittle, Mamma Mish’s Dishes, Log Cabin Chocolates, Iron Bridge Wine Company, The Local, The Beaumont, Raspberry Moments, State Fare, Lord Baltimore Hotel and Classic Catering. The caterer Zeffert & Gold is managing the event as a whole.

Bourbon & Bowties

This Thursday, the annual Bourbon & Bowties charity event, organized by The QG, takes over the B&O Railroad Museum. The party, which has raised over half a million dollars in its tenure, will benefit the Oyster Recovery Partnership. Healthcare for the Homeless, the Cool Kids Campaign, and Harlem Lacrosse of Baltimore.

In addition to bourbon, the event features tons of great food, including oysters and more from the crew at True Chesapeake.  

Wine Village opens

Also on Thursday, a European-style wine village will open at West Shore Park in the Inner Harbor. The village, which will be open until May 29, features arts and crafts vendors, European food (with an emphasis on Germany), live entertainment, a family-friendly picnic area, and a wide variety of wines to purchase.

The village is free to enter and browse – no tickets required.

Salads for kids

Throughout the month of May, Gertrude’s will donate $1 from every Very Berry Salad sold to TasteWise Kids, the nonprofit that helps children learn about food and healthy eating habits. The initiative is in honor of National Salad Month, which TasteWise is celebrating in many ways.

Made in the South Awards

The magazine Garden & Gun has recently put out a call for entries for its annual Made in the South Awards. The awards – which showcase below-the-Mason-Dixon-Line businesses – cover a variety of categories: Home, Crafts, Food, Outdoors, Style, and Drink. Winners get exposure on a national platform – and the overall winner receives a $10,000 cash prize.

In the 14 years since G&G launched the awards, three Maryland companies have been honored. That number should be higher – there are tons of terrific locally owned businesses that are worthy of recognition.

If you have a favorite local company that you think might be a good fit for the awards, encourage them to enter. It’s a great opportunity for Baltimore companies.

Planning for the future

Mark your calendars for:

May 13: Maryland Craft Beer Festival

May 15: Ggoma Supper Club with Chef Marcelle Afram at JBGB’s

June 10: Wine & Food Festival at the Fairgrounds

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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