The Maryland Zoo's OktoBEARfest beer festival is this weekend. Photo courtesy of the Maryland Zoo.

From mushrooms to oysters to spooky cocktails, this week, Baltimore’s food scene delivers a little bit of everything autumnal. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings & announcements

Mexican food lovers have a lot to cheer right now, with news of the expansion of two current favorites. Papi’s Tacos, which started in Fells Point and now has multiple locations around town, is slated to open on Harford Rd. in Lauraville, and Birria Love, a new concept from the Taco Love family, is opening near the corner of Joppa Rd. and Loch Raven.

Atlas Restaurant Group is keeping itself busy these days, with announcements about new openings around the country (including the recent launch of Loch Bar in Philadelphia) and the upcoming move of its headquarters into the former Pazo space in Harbor East.

This week, the company announced it will take over the food and beverage operations at the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel, including taking over the space currently occupied by Pusser’s (which announced this week that its lease has not been renewed by the hotel). Atlas plans to renovate and split the Pusser’s space into two separate restaurants, one including a dockside bar and the other featuring an enclosed rooftop with views of the Bay.

Howard County staple Facci will open a downtown Baltimore location in the space that formerly housed Double Zero and Liora. Facci has locations in Turf Valley and Maple Lawn.


This weekend, the Maryland Zoo’s fall beer festival returns for the 11th time. On Saturday and Sunday, guests can enjoy live music, samples of 80+ seasonal beers and other drinks and local food vendors – and can check out the Zoo animals at the same time. 

Holy Trinity Heritage Food Fair

On Saturday and Sunday, Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church hosts a two-day festival of Russian food. The fair, which also includes live entertainment, features a variety of traditional Russian dishes available for purchase, from beef stroganoff to blinchiki.

Foraged x Char City BBQ

On Sunday afternoon, Foraged Eatery welcomes the crew from Char City BBQ for an afternoon of smoked meats and local ingredients. The collab starts at noon and will continue until the meats run out. Dishes are available for dining in or carryout.

Future Harvest at the Vineyards at Dodon

On Sunday, acclaimed chefs Tae Strain and Jeremy Hoffman team up for a special Sunday Supper raising funds for Future Harvest, an organization that helps support, educate and provide technical assistance to farmers.

The five-course meal will take place at the Vineyards at Dodon and includes dishes like an olive oil tart with caramelized onions and niçoise crumble, paired with two of the vineyard’s whites, and glazed leg of lamb from Hollywood Farms served with Moon Valley Farm sunchoke sharp cheese fondue.

U.S. Oyster Festival

This weekend marks the 57th Annual U.S. National Oyster Festival. The festival, which takes place at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds, is a special celebration of all things oysters. One of the event highlights is the U.S. National Shucking Contest, in which the winner is crowned as the country’s best shucker.

Chappellet at Magdalena

Sunday evening, Magdalena will showcase the wines of Chappellet Winery, during a multi-course meal designed to pair with five wines from the Napa winery known for its complex and impressive wines. The winery’s

Harry Potter is back

This Monday, Johnny’s Roland Park digs will once again transmogrify for Halloween week, becoming Baltimore’s own Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Stop by anytime between Oct. 23 and Halloween to experience the magic of Harry Potter right in Charm City.

Happy 25th to Gertrude’s

On Wednesday, Oct. 25, Gertrude’s celebrates 25 years in business – a huge accomplishment. The BMA restaurant will honor the occasion the way it celebrates so many others – by giving back.

On Wednesday, Gertrude’s will host a Community Night benefiting Our Common Table, which is Gertrude’s owner John Shields’ nonprofit that focuses on the preservation and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

During the event, the Gertrude’s menu will reprise some of its classic dishes from over the past 25 years and, no doubt, many memories will be shared. Congratulations to Chef Shields and the rest of his excellent team.

Wild mushrooms & wine

On Wednesday, The Elkridge Furnace Inn hosts wild mushroom-focused wine dinner. The chefs at the Inn are mushroom enthusiasts (and growers) and have created a multicourse menu to highlight the autumnal treat.

Bourbon & Bites

Also on Wednesday, The Tilted Row gets smoky with Bourbon & Bites, a whiskey tasting featuring Barrell Bourbons along with small bites from the kitchen.

A Wicked Affair at True Chesapeake

True Chesapeake Oyster Co. kicks off Halloween weekend with a spooky dinner (for adults) on Friday, Oct. 27. Dubbed “A Wicked Affair,” the five-course meal features dishes like hand-formed noodles with black beans and smoked mussels, and cabbage-wrapped catfish with creamed spinach.

The evening also includes optional wine and cocktail pairings, plus live music – and guests are expected to come in costume.

Boo-ze at Max’s

Speaking of grown-up Halloween festivities: Max’s Taphouse has opened a seasonal pop-up bar in honor of the season. Jack’s on Broadway features Halloween-themed cocktails and beers and is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting at 5 p.m. 

Thinking ahead to Thanksgiving

Halloween is still a week away – but it’s not too early to start planning Thanksgiving menus, especially if part of your cooking strategy involves leaning on local restaurants for aspects of your meal. Some spots, like The Corner Pantry, are already taking orders for desserts, side dishes and even main courses.

Planning for the future

Mark your calendars for:

Oct. 28: Maryland Crab Cake Festival

Nov. 2: Dia de los Muertos at La Calle

Nov. 4: Baltimore Craft Beer Festival

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

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