The holiday season – and all of its gluttony – is behind us but there are still many reasons to dine out (or carry out). Here’s a look at what’s happening this week in the Baltimore restaurant world:
Openings & Announcements
Some of the biggest buzz this week was around the announcement that the Foreman Wolf restaurant group has purchased the Milton Inn. The gorgeous, historic restaurant will reopen in the spring with current Petit Louis chef Chris Scanga taking over the kitchen.
The iconic Fells Point spot Jimmy’s Restaurant is changing hands again. Its new owners, Denzil and Nedine Richards, will change the restaurant’s name to Denzel’s Shark Bar Grill. While the menu will continue to feature breakfast dishes, the Richards also plan to add some Caribbean, southern and seafood options.
A few places that closed briefly, for one reason or another, have reopened. Alma Cocina Latina is now open for carryout in its new Station North Space and CookHouse in Bolton Hill has reopened as a market carrying a variety of interesting items, including prepared foods.
Collabs in the County
Keep an eye on social media for The Point in Towson. The downtown Towson restaurant has plans to host Monday night pop-up events featuring different city restaurants. The collaborations start Feb. 1 and will be a great way to see some friendly faces from the city.
New year, new approach
With the new year upon us, many local restaurants have taken the opportunity to adjust menus or tweak their overall approach.
Nacho Mama’s Towson recently added some Mama’s on the Half Shell favorites to its menu – good news for Towsonites (or anyone) who miss the Canton spot’s classic seafood dishes.
Red Star has added a new lineup of fresh pasta to the menu. The choices sound terrific, from squid, pepperoni and broccoli buds to spaetzle with brown butter and prosciutto.
Speaking of pasta, Grano Pasta Bar has added a sliding window and invested in outdoor ceiling heaters and vinyl curtains, so outdoor seating will be an option when the city opens back up for outdoor dining.
Paulie Gee’s has adjusted its menu: wood-fired pizzas will now only be available on Wednesdays. Unfortunately, the Hampden pizza spot shared that the wood-burning ovens are too costly to run every day, given the lower volume of sales right now.
Magdalena and Of Love and Regret have updated takeout/delivery menus for the new year.
Dutch Courage – which has an incredible lineup of bottled cocktails, among other things – now has delivery from Wednesdays through Sundays.
SoBo Café is getting in on the hot chocolate bomb craze: the café made a batch of bombs that look delicious – and like they’d be a lot of fun.
Petit Louis is making traditional Galette Des Rois (king cakes) in honor of Epiphany. Though the official holiday was earlier this week, the bistro is accepting orders for the cake through the end of the day Jan. 8 and the cakes can be picked up on Saturday Jan. 9.
Sicilian wine dinner
On Saturday, The Elkridge Furnace Inn hosts a five-course wine dinner featuring dishes from southern Italy and Sicily. Courses include dishes like a house-made mozzarella starter and an entrée of herb-braised rabbit in sundried tomato brown sauce.
Abbey Burger Bistro has a great Ravens playoff package available, including sliders, wings and a 12-pack of Miller Lite.
Cosima returns Jan. 8 from a brief winter hiatus and the restaurant’s Italian cooking classes are back on Sunday, Jan. 10, when Chef Donna Crivello will teach a small group how to prepare excellent gnocchi.
Bagels for everyone
Friday, Jan. 15 is National Bagel Day and THB is celebrating with free bagels. Order a beverage using the myTHB mobile app and you’ll receive a free bagel and cream cheese. Plus, a portion of all sales on Jan. 15 will go to support the Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund.
And don’t forget: as long as the Ravens are still in the running for the Super Bowl, THB will offer purple bagels every Friday through Sunday.
I scream for ice cream…and teachers
The Charmery has a fun new project in the works. They’re asking local kids to nominate “extraordinary educators” for the chance to win ice cream for a year and to create their own custom flavor with the Charmery crew, with a portion of proceeds going to their school.
Nominations are open now through Jan. 22 and to celebrate the contest, the shop is now scooping a very academic flavor: cheddar cheese peanut butter crackers in a peanut butter base.
Dundalk Food Trucks
One of the more positive outcomes of the pandemic is the success of the food truck model, with local communities inviting food trucks to parking lots all over the region.
One of the new food truck hotspots is the parking lot of Dough Boy Fresh Pretzel Co. in Dundalk. Each week, the lot welcomes a new lineup of trucks (and Dough Boy pretzel goods are also available).
Take-out Get Down
The Take-out Get Down New Year’s Eve collaboration between local restaurants and DJs Aaron Brown and DJ Impulse was such a success – and so much fun – that the participants have plans in the works for additional upcoming events. So stay tuned – especially as Valentine’s Day approaches.
Normally, Baltimore City restaurants would be gearing up for Restaurant Week right now. However, in light of the current situation, the promotion has been postponed – hopefully to return sooner rather than later.
Five years of Hot Plate
On a final note, this column marks five years of Hot Plate appearing on Baltimore Fishbowl. And what years those have been! Baltimoreans in the hospitality and food business are endlessly creative and a lot of fun to watch.
The past year has, of course, been incredibly challenging for the restaurant industry. From my perspective, it’s also been the most inspiring. Watching restaurateurs adjust their business models on the fly, create entirely new businesses, and step up to help one another and serve the community, even when they are struggling, has reminded me that Julia Child was right: people who love to eat are the best people.
So thank you to the local restaurant community – and to the guests who support them – for an entertaining and educational five years. I’m looking forward to a lot of great meals and events over the next five.
Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:
Jan. 17: Southern Italian Cooking Class at Cosima
Jan. 21: Lib’s Grill Virtual Wine Dinner for Pathfinders for Autism