Crab fondue with Old Bay funnel cakes is on the menu at the newly opened Manor Hill Tavern in Ellicott City.

Welcome to March! The traditionally volatile month came in like a lamb this year, which gives Baltimoreans more reason than ever to go out and enjoy local restaurants.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in and around town this week:

Manor Hill Tavern Opens

Earlier this week, Manor Hill Tavern, the new Ellicott City restaurant from the owners of Victoria Gastro Pub and Manor Hill Brewing, opened its doors. The restaurant’s opening has been hotly anticipated – last year’s flood slowed the timeline – and early reports are terrific.

For now, Manor Hill is in “sneak peek” mode, with limited hours (4 p.m. to midnight) and a limited menu. Head chef Chad Wells, formerly of Alewife, is turning out some great-looking, locally sourced food, including pizzas from a custom-built brick oven. 

Hamilton Happenings

Today is First Friday on Harford Road in Hamilton, which means the local businesses have fun events planned. At Clementine, the list of kid-friendly options is especially long tonight. Plus, $1 of all spirits sold between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. will be donated to Hamilton Elementary Middle School.

Head back to Hamilton on Sunday for brunch at Maggie’s Farm. The “mega brunch” will last from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature a pop-up from Bottoms Up Bagels, one of the city’s most popular (and quick to sell out) bagel brands.

On Thursday, Zeke’s Coffee, just a hop and a skip from Maggie’s Farm, will play host to Wild Radish, which will host a “How to Vegan” potluck and party recipe workshop. The evening will include some vegan favorites that will be welcome at any potluck – vegan or not.

Mezcal Fabulousness

Any day is a good day to go to Clavel, the Remington mezcaleria known for their excellent food and drinks. However, right now might be the best time. A big chunk of the staff has just returned from a research trip to Oaxaca – and they’ve brought home new drinks and tons of inspiration. 

Mac & Cheese in the Park

On Saturday starting at 5 p.m., mac and cheese lovers will flock to Patterson Park, where All 4 ONE Creative Arts will host a Mac & Cheese Challenge benefiting The Patterson Park Youth and Family Engagement Committee.

The event will include mac and cheeses in three categories: pasta, contemporary (mixing it up in terms of pasta, cheese, seasoning or additions) and vegan/gluten free. There will be winners in each category and an overall winner. The event is limited to 35 entries…but that’s still a whole lot of mac and cheese. 

Bourbon at Birroteca

Also on Saturday, Birroteca will host one of its Saturday School sessions. This one, dubbed My Old Kentucky Home, is dedicated to all things bourbon. Sadly, the class is sold out, but it sounds like a great time. The restaurant hosts regular Saturday School sessions – check them out and be sure to make reservations well in advance. 

Ryes Up

This Sunday, one of the restaurant and bar community’s favorite events – Ryes Up Against Cystic Fibrosisreturns for the sixth year in a row.

The event, which takes place at Hotel Monaco, is sponsored by the Baltimore Bartenders’ Guild. BBG members will create 19 different rye-based cocktails for a hotly contested competition – plus there will be local wines and spirits, punch, beer from Union Craft Brewing, coffee from Argosy Café and small bites from 15 local restaurants.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – an excellent cause that makes an enormous difference in the lives of patients with CF.

Papi’s Turns Three!

Papi’s Tacos in Fells Point celebrates its third anniversary this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the popular Mexican spot will celebrate with happy hour drinks and specials all day long. Keep your fingers crossed, too – when the weather is nice, the courtyard behind Papi’s is one of the best spots in the city. 

Expansions & Upgrades

Good news for the people of Little Italy, Harbor East and surrounding areas. Clark Burger, the popular burger-and-poutine joint next to The Senator Theater, announced this week that it will be opening a new location in the Central Avenue spot that most recently housed a second Tortilleria Sinaloa location. 

Around the corner in Harbor East, restaurants that are a part of the Atlas Restaurant Group – including Ouzo Bay, Azumi, Loch Bar and the soon to open Tagliatahave a new COO. Atlas has hired Salvatore Feli, an experienced restaurant executive most recently with Fig & Olive, to handle operations for the growing organization.

Planning Ahead

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

March 21: Buffalo Trace dinner at Bar Vasquez 

March 25: WTMD Chili Cook-off

April 1: The Emporiyum 

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