Hot Plate: No Kid Hungry Fundraiser at Gunther & Co., The Emporiyum & Light City Return, Rye Rocks at The Walters & More

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Gunther & Co. will host chefs from several restaurants for a Tuesday night fundraiser benefiting No Kid Hungry.

Get ready, Baltimore food lovers: this week is a big one. From multiple food-related benefits to the return of two of the city’s best events, The Emporiyum and Light City, to the Orioles’ Opening Day, this week is absolutely jam-packed.

Plan your dining and drinking strategies accordingly. Here’s a look at what’s happening this week:

Chefs Band Together for No Kid Hungry

On Tuesday, April 4, a team of Baltimore chef all-stars will gather at Gunther & Co. for a fundraiser benefiting No Kid Hungry, a non-profit dedicated to ending childhood hunger.

The evening will include drinks and dishes from some of the city’s best spots: La Cuchara, Wit & Wisdom, Gnocco, The Corner Pantry and B&O American Brasserie (along with Gunther & Co., of course).

The event is raising money specifically for the No Kid Hungry Chefs Cycle, an event that happens in California in May. Gunther owners Nancy Hart and Jerry Trice will be participating as “Team Gunther.” They’ll be riding 300 miles in three days alongside chefs and other culinarians. The event’s goal is to raise $2 million overall.

Dining & Drinking for More Causes

The No Kid Hungry event isn’t the only benefit on the restaurant community’s radar this week.

On Saturday, April 1, Rye Rocks returns. This event, a fundraiser for the Walters Art Museum, is a popular one featuring a wide assortment of whiskeys, plus a talk by the extremely knowledgeable Doug Atwell of Blue Bit BBQ & Whiskey Bar and Allen Katz of New York Distilling Company.

Sunday, April 2, Birroteca is also in on the biking fundraiser action, hosting Spring Bling: The Battle in Brew Valley, an afternoon cook-off event raising money for Moveable Feast and the Fierce Chicks Rock bike team. The party will feature food from Birroteca and its sister restaurant in Bel Air, plus, The Nickel Taphouse and Encantada, and drinks from Evolution Craft Brewing, Union Craft Brewing, Port City Brewing, Charm City Meadworks, Baltimore Whiskey Company and Barr Hill Gin.

On Monday, April 3, Sotto Sopra will welcome Annette Harris and Carol Black, a pair of Italian-American women stepping into the kitchen to create a five-course meal that will raise money to support Black’s daughter in the Avon39, a 39-mile walk that raises awareness and funds to fight breast cancer.

Courses include traditional Italian dishes like risotto with scallop and braised short ribs with polenta. Ten dollars of every $55 ticket goes to support the cause.

Emporiyum + Light City

Fabulous food market The Emporiyum returns to Baltimore this weekend, on Saturday and Sunday. Like last year, The Emporiyum will take over the old Best Buy space at 600 E. Pratt Street. For two days, 90 food vendors will share their stories and food with attendees.

VIP tickets for both days are sold out, but general admission tickets are still available. It’s a great way to spend a few hours!

Following Saturday’s festivities, Mt. Vernon Marketplace will host an Emporiyum after-party, with specials around the market.

This weekend also marks the start of Light City, the celebration of light, art, music and innovation that also has a real food focus. Numerous downtown restaurants are involved in the mix – you won’t have to wander far to find something good to eat.

The event also has an official cocktail – the Golden Hour. During Light City, a number of city restaurants will be offering the cocktail and donating $1 from the sale of each drink to the United Way.

The Light City action extends beyond downtown, too, with neighborhood parties all over the city. For example, the Hamilton-Lauraville Neighborhood Lights installation, “Flora Lume,” will be unveiled on April 1 and will include food and drink from neighborhood favorites, including Clementine, Silver Queen Café, Wild Radish and Zeke’s Coffee. Look around for specials in Little Italy, too; wine bar/restaurant Pane e Vino will offer several specialty cocktails designed just for Light City.

Action in Towson

With all the fun events happening this week, it might be easy to overlook that fact that Saturday is a holiday of sorts: April Fool’s Day! In Towson, Café Troia is celebrating the day with a five-wine, four-course wine dinner featuring dishes like fennel mousse with calamari and clams in broth, paired with Greco di Tufo Vigna Cicogna from Benito Ferrara.

Doesn’t sound so foolish!

Towson is also the place to be on April 5. Towson Tavern is joining forces with Chesapeake Farm to Table and Rettland Farm for a chicken butchery and cooking demonstration. The event will include instruction from farmer and butcher Beau Ramsberg and cooking guidance from Chef Josh Vecchiolla.

Openings & Announcements

This week brought a flurry of news about new openings and upcoming expansions.

Caves Valley Partners, the organization redeveloping Cross Street Market, announced nine market tenants this week, including Ceremony Coffee Roasters and Timonium barbecue favorite Smoke.

Brunch hotspot Iron Rooster will open in McHenry Row, likely this summer, taking over the spaces currently occupied by The Greene Turtle and Piaza.

Cilantro, the terrific Mediterranean fast casual spot in Owings Mills, will open a new location downtown early in April. The restaurant has also started baking its own pita in-house.

Pappas Restaurant in Cockeysville, which opened in 2014, is expanding. The restaurant and sports bar will add a wine tasting room, plus new seating and TVs in the bar; the new look will debut in late April.

Phil Han, owner of Dooby’s in Mt. Vernon, announced he will open a doughnut shop called Sundays Bakehouse on 36th Street in Hampden. The kitchen will be helmed by Courtney Fix, previously of B. Doughnut. The shop is slated to open in mid-April and until then, the doughnuts can be found at Dooby’s and here and there at restaurants around the city.

Speaking of openings, the big one this week is Opening Day for the Orioles, which lands on Monday, April 3. Restaurants and bars all over the city are hosting events to mark the occasion – check out this roundup for inspiration.

Planning Ahead

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

April 9: Maize y Cacao at Clavel 

May 6: Heavy Seas Taco Festival

May 6: Charm City Wine Run



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