Hot Plate: Fork & Wrench & Regi’s for Sale, Restaurant Weeks Continue, CiderCon Comes to Baltimore

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Pappas is one of about 60 restaurants participating in Baltimore County Restaurant Week, which runs through Feb. 3.

This week brings lots of Baltimore restaurant news – not all of it good, unfortunately – and a variety of events that will keep all sorts of food and drink lovers busy. Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Opening & Announcements

This month has been a tough one for those of us cheering on the local restaurant scene, with news of restaurants closing and longtime favorites for sale.

On Jan. 16, the owner of iconic Federal Hill restaurant Regi’s Bistro announced that the restaurant is for sale. This comes on the heels of the recent closing of Regi’s Fed Hill neighbor, Metropolitan Wine Bar.

And just last Tuesday, the owners of Fork & Wrench, the cozy, charming and cool Canton spot, announced they were putting the restaurant on the market. (Sister restaurant Modern Cook Shop will remain open and under the same ownership.)

Owners of both restaurants plan to keep them open during the sale process – and hopefully after new owners take the helm.

At the end of last week, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que closed suddenly. The Fleet Street restaurant, which was part of a Syracuse, NY-based chain, opened in 2015.

But there is some good news on the horizon!

Chez Hugo, the new downtown effort from former Aromes chef/owner Steve Monnier, announced that it will open on Valentine’s Day.

And later this spring, the Hotel Revival will open in Mount Vernon. When it does, the neighborhood will also gain two new places to dine: Square Meal and a seafood-oriented rooftop bar called Topside.

Restaurant Week

It’s still Restaurant Week time in and around town. Baltimore City’s promotion, which was supposed to end last weekend but has been extended, will wrap up this Sunday, Jan. 28. Baltimore County’s week lasts through Feb. 3 and Howard County’s takes place until Feb. 5.

Black Restaurant Challenge

A close cousin to restaurant week, the Black Restaurant Challenge urges locals to dine at two or more African American-owned restaurants throughout February.

The Challenge’s official kickoff party is Friday, Feb. 2 at the Baltimore Visitor Center. Some of the participating restaurant owners and chefs will be on hand to mingle, and the party will include live music and giveaways.

Brunch at R. House

Weekends are for brunch – and R. House is ready to serve. The Remington food hall’s stalls will be serving brunch items every Saturday and Sunday, all day long, for the foreseeable future. Options include tried and true favorites like a classic brunch plate (and just about everything else) from Ground & Griddled as well as more experimental fare, like the Korean BBQ tater tot bowl at Be.bim and yucca hash browns and a breakfast arepa from White Envelope.

Party with a Purpose at The Avenue

Head to The Avenue Kitchen & Bar in Hampden on Saturday night to “party with a purpose.” During the evening, which includes a DJ, open bar and food, proceeds will be used to buy items from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center wish list for infants and toddlers.

Destination Dining

Though it’s not technically local, serious Baltimore food lovers know that a trip to the Inn at Little Washington is well worth the drive. The Inn is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, starting on Sunday, Jan. 28, which is the exact anniversary of its opening night.

On Sunday, the Inn will celebrate with a family and friends reception followed by dinner open to the public. Dinner at the Inn is special any night, but on Sunday – and throughout this year – it promises to be even more exciting than usual.

Alison Roman at Bird in Hand

On Monday, Jan. 29, famed food writer (and excellent Instagrammer) Alison Roman will be at Bird in Hand in Charles Village, discussing “all things food” with local food makers Lauren Sandler of Canningshed, Jinji Fraser of Jinji’s Chocolates and Sarah Conezio of Keepwell Vinegar.

CiderCon & Baltimore Cider Week

Beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 30, CiderCon 2018 comes to Baltimore. The event, which lasts through Feb. 2, is the major trade show in the cider industry. It takes place at the Waterfront Marriott.

In honor of the event, local restaurants have teamed up to create Baltimore Cider Week.Throughout Cider Week, local restaurants will be hosting a variety of cider-themed events, all of which sound terrific.

On Jan. 31, La Cuchara – where they really know their cider – will host a Spanish Cider Tasting including a happy hour menu of passed pintxos and Spanish ciders from Black Twig, followed by a Basque-inspired meal.

Feb. 1, Minnow and Hersh’s will join forces for a four-course culinary mash-up featuring courses paired with domestic and imported ciders.

Also, Feb. 1, Brewer’s Art is hosting a four-course meal, cooked in collaboration with the chef from ANXO Cidery & Tasting Room, featuring ciders from ANXO, Angry Orchard, and Oliver’s Proper Cider.

Finally, to close out the week, Dylan’s Oyster Cellar will pair up with ANXO on Sunday, Feb. 4 (and yes, Dylan’s promises they will also have the Super Bowl on).

Week of Wine

Wine lovers have quite a lot to cheer about this week, with several vino-focused events planned around the region.

All weekend long, Old Westminster Winery will be channeling Burgundy, as the winery puts on the St. Vincent Wine Festival, featuring tours, barrel sampling, live music and outdoor fire pits. Unfortunately, the event is sold out already – but it’s a good one to put on your calendar for next year.

On Sunday, Jan. 28, The Black Olive hosts a tasting event focused on the wines of Oregon. The gathering, which includes dishes like salmon tartare and shaved Moroccan lamb shank, each paired with an Oregon wine, is the first in a series of wine-centric events the restaurant has planned.

Also on Sunday, the Vineyards at Dodon is hosting a comparative tasting with rising wine star Brent Kroll, whose resume includes stints at Proof in Washington, D.C., and Adour, the Alain Ducasse restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel.

Butchers Hill Society is celebrating the noblest of all pairings on Tuesday, Jan. 30: fried chicken and champagne. The high-low pairing dinner will start at 5 p.m. and reservations are recommended.

Good Food Winners

The Good Food Awards are a national honor bestowed upon food and beverage makers who are “pushing the envelope in both craftsmanship and sustainability” by the Good Food Foundation. The foundation announced awards winners last week, including a handful of Baltimore companies that are doing great things.

Local winners include Firefly Farms Creamery, for its Merry Goat Round Spruce Reserve cheese, Charm School Chocolate’s coconut milk mocha, Dress It Up Dressings’ sesame tahini dressing, and Atwater’s strawberry hibiscus jam.

Find the winning products at a variety of locations around the state, including at local farmers’ markets. Congrats to all!

Planning Ahead

Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:

February 10: Kids’ etiquette class at Miss Shirley’s 

February 24: Swig & Pig at Ryleigh’s Oyster 

April 21: Winemaking workshop at Charm City Farms 



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