NiHao is taking over Baltimore Spirits Company’s Cocktail Gallery for a Lunar New Year celebration on Sunday.
NiHao is taking over Baltimore Spirits Company’s Cocktail Gallery for a Lunar New Year celebration on Sunday.

This week is a good one in the Baltimore restaurant world, including parties, new menu options, and opportunities to give back to the community. Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Openings & announcements
Renderings for Kneads, a multi-use space including a bakeshop, market and private spaces, owned by H&S Bakery, were released this week. Kneads will be located on S. Central Ave. in Harbor East and is slated to open this summer.

CRUST by Mack announced this week that the shop will be moving next summer. Currently located in Whitehall Market, CRUST will be taking over a larger space in the Midtown/Mt. Vernon area.

COVID policies
COVID stats are improving but restaurants are still navigating the impact of positive cases and staffing issues, so before heading out to eat, be sure to check in with your destination to make sure you’re aware of any guidelines or closures.

Plus, it’s that snowy time of year again. This past week offered a good reminder that sometimes restaurants have to close their doors for weather reasons, not just COVID – making it a doubly good idea to check in with a restaurant before heading out.

A new class at Groundwork
Groundwork Kitchen, the Pigtown culinary arts training program, has welcomed students for its second 12-week training session. Groundwork, which is operated by Paul’s Place, graduated 14 students from its first cohort in December. The program works with the graduates to help them find employment in local restaurants and other organizations with a food service need, from hospitals to support organizations.

NiHao takes over BSC
On Sunday, NiHao will pop up at the Baltimore Spirits Company Cocktail Gallery, staging a full takeover of the bar in celebration of the Lunar New Year.

The pop-up includes Lunar New Year-inspired drinks (both alcoholic and spirit-free) and a selection of NiHao menu items. Plus, there will be gifts and surprises, including everything from new year fortunes to gift cards.

Good winter news
Cosima has an updated winter menu, including new pastas, pizzas and main courses, with options like pizza salumi with onion jam.

The bar at Dylan’s Oyster Cellar has reopened, so you can once again post up for a drink, a dozen, or something else entirely.

The Red Star has a new happy hour menu, including $5 appetizers and $10 pizzas – a steal!

Virtual Krautfest
Krautfest is a favorite annual event at Gertrude’s. This year, the meat-and-kraut party is going virtual, as part of Chef John Shields’ educational program “Chesapeake Farm & Bay to Table.”

The Krautfest episode of the program will take place via Zoom on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and will feature a behind-the-scenes look at how Krautfest comes to be, including appearances from Shields, Gertrude’s chef Doug Wetzel, and Binkert’s German Meat Products co-owner Sonya Binkert.

Wintertime at Boordy
Boordy Vineyards has fun events planned all winter long, with reservations available for tables in its gorgeous barn. This weekend, there’s live music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and an appearance from the Pasta La Vista food truck on Saturday and charcuterie and cheeses available to pair with wines on Sunday.

Restaurant Week begins
Baltimore Restaurant Week starts Friday, Jan. 28, and tons of local restaurants are participating in the promotion, which includes $25, $35 and $45 prix fixe menus. The restaurants share their menus on the Restaurant Week website, so you can get lost in the options as you plan your meals for the week.

Kids’ coat drive at Alexander’s Tavern
Now through Jan. 31, the staff at Alexander’s Tavern is collecting new winter coats, sized for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade. The coats will be distributed to kids at John Ruhrah Elementary / Middle School by the Community Engagement Organization.

You can drop off anytime between 11:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. – and grab a drink and bite while you’re there.

La Food Marketa notes of encouragement
On Feb. 3, La Food Marketa will donate a portion of the day’s sales to the Baltimore Hunger Project. Anytime between now and then, you can stop by the restaurant to drop off a note of encouragement – a colored card included in a bag of food given to a child – that will be sent to BHP along with the restaurant’s donation.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for:
Feb. 12: How Does It Feel Dinner with H3irloom Food Group 
Feb. 14: Valentine’s Dinner at Of Love and Regret 
Feb. 18: Anniversary Party at Ampersea 

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