The Ravens face off against the Bills on Saturday night and local restaurants are ready with tons of gameday specials – including a lot of wings. We prefer the Old Bay variety over Buffalo…this weekend, at least.
The Ravens face off against the Bills on Saturday night and local restaurants are ready with tons of gameday specials – including a lot of wings. We prefer the Old Bay variety over Buffalo…this weekend, at least.

Despite COVID limitations, this week is a fun one in the Baltimore restaurant community, with Ravens playoff specials, a few ways to give back while eating and drinking well, and lots of new menus to peruse.

Here’s a look at what’s happening around town:

Openings & Announcements
Early last year, Busboys & Poets announced it would open a Baltimore outpost. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the bookstore/restaurant will open near Hopkins this spring. 

Bar ONE, an Afro-Caribbean / southern restaurant chain headquartered in Miami, will open a new location in the former home of Gordon Biersch Brewery in Harbor East. The restaurant is slated to open this spring.

Sadly, Baltimore’s brewing community suffered a loss this week with the passing of Henry “Zadie” Benesch. Mr. Benesch was the grandfather of one of the founders of Union Craft Brewing and was an important part of the Union crew.

New year, new approach
As we settle into 2021, Baltimore restaurants are staying nimble, with regular menu updates and new options.

Village Square Café in Cross Keys has adjusted its hours of operation and offerings: its popular homestyle dinners are available for carryout and local delivery (within 3 miles) every night. Dinners include tons of options, from shrimp and pesto pizza to steak frites to a hot turkey platter – plus regular specials

Gertrude’s new menu includes a bunch of family meal options designed for four, including choices like the Tilghman Island combo meal: Maryland pan-fried chicken and crab cakes, plus crab soup or Caesar salad, potato salad, green beans, buttermilk biscuits and dessert.

Woodberry Kitchen is trying something new every weekend this month. This weekend, the Clipper Mill spot is going vegan, with options like a sweet corn hush puppy appetizer and a curried baby butternut squash entrée.

Cunningham’s Café has new specials, including a $20 brunch for two with a variety of choices.

La Cuchara’s Marketplace is back – after a brief post-holiday vacation – and just as great as ever.

Orto now offers delivery within a five-mile radius of the restaurant.

The Tilted Row has a new menu for the season and new hours; they’re now open in the evenings, Friday through Sunday only.

NiHao’s full menu is now available for carryout – including the Peking duck.

Seasonal sips
It’s a good time for new brews, packed with wintry flavors.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery has released See Us, a brown ale made with sweet potato, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and vanilla. The beer was created in collaboration with Jackie Wonsey and Courtney Holden, a pair of Black beer lovers, and is the first release in the brewery’s new Allyship Through Collaboration Series.

DuClaw is releasing three new seasonal brews, including The PastryArchy Mexican Hot Chocolate brown ale and Sour Me Black Apple sour, which is made with black apple puree, orange peel, allspice, cloves and cinnamon.

Yes Chef! gives back
Have you heard about Yes Chef!, the Locust Point-based meal delivery service? The small company delivers meals to local family subscribers and for the next six weeks, they’re looking for nominations for healthcare workers who deserve free meals as a thanks for their efforts during the pandemic.

Purple everything
The Ravens take on the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs on Saturday night – and local spots are ready to celebrate.

Diamondback Brewing is going head to head with Buffalo’s own Thin Man Brewery, with a serious wager. The brewery in the losing city will travel to the winning city for a day of collaborative brewing, bringing with them their signature hometown food (wings or crabs), among other things.

On Saturday, Diamondback also has a few to-go specials, including build your own case discounts and an Elvis pizza with Memphis-style BBQ sauce.

Nick’s Fish House is selling party packs, to-go drinks and limited edition crush cups celebrating 25 seasons of the Ravens.

Abbey Burger’s wings and 12-pack playoff special is still available – and ideal for Saturday night.

Linwoods has a special Tailgate Menu with all kinds of game-friendly items.

The Charmery is now scooping a brand new flavor: Lamarshmallow Blueberry, which is just like what it sounds like: blueberries + marshmallow fluff.

At Lee’s Pint & Shell, gameday specials include a $50 package with sliders, wings, shrimp and crab dip.

THB’s purple bagels are available every Friday through Sunday as long as the Ravens are still in the running.

Gameday specials at Blue Hill Tavern include a $99 deal with chili, quesadillas, pizzas and wings.

CVP Towson’s gameday menu includes burgers, crab cakes and buckets of beer.

Gnocchi lessons
On Sunday, Cosima brings back its popular gnocchi-making class. The small class covers how to make gnocchi and sauces to go with it.

City Hydro on TV
On Tuesday, tune into “Maryland Farm & Harvest” on to hear the stories of several farms around the state, including City Hydro, a microgreen grower operating a vertical farm out of a Fells Point rowhouse. City Hydro sells its greens to local restaurants and at farmers markets and sells vertical farming kits to people all across the country.

Dinner for Pathfinders
On Thursday, Lib’s Grill will host a 5-course wine dinner – to-go – benefiting Pathfinders for Autism. Courses include dishes like a brie and apricot tart paired with J Vineyards pinot gris and beef short rib in red wine demi-glaze paired with Athena cabernet.

Restaurant Week
Instead of a traditional Restaurant Week this year, Visit Baltimore and the Downtown Partnership are promoting Rally Around the Restaurants, which is just what it sounds like: an effort to support local restaurants in a variety of ways.

The organizations have lots of great ideas about how to support restaurants that include ordering takeout and gift cards, writing reviews, and taking advantage of restaurant-run markets. Check out the Restaurant Week website for links to local restaurants and for more creative ways to support the community.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for Valentine’s Day this year: restaurants are already starting to think about special deals and offerings.

Kit Pollard

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