It’s a new year, full of resolutions, promise — and opportunity to eat well in Baltimore. This year kicks off with lots of exciting news of openings, renovations, and expansions. Plus, it’s Restaurant Week season, which means it’s prime time to peruse menus.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the Baltimore restaurant scene this week:
Openings & Announcements
After a long renovation of its space, Dutch Courage, the new gin bar in Old Goucher, is open for business and is already a hit with locals.
Andina, the new empanada joint from the owners of Puerto 511, has officially opened for business.
The friendly Hampden coffee shop Spro has a new outpost in Cockeysville. Café du Spro is open in a small spot on Cockeysville Rd. near Ashland Café.
Rooster + Hen, a grocery offering weekly cooking classes and with space for workshops and pop-ups, has opened in Cross Street Market.
True Chesapeake Oyster Company is taking a little breather for part of this week. The restaurant is closed through the weekend; it will reopen Tuesday, Jan. 14 with a brand new cocktail menu and a menu for Restaurant Week.
Popular Baltimore County Italian spot Fazzini’s Taverna closed its doors after service on New Year’s Eve, much to the disappointment of its many loyal customers in the community.
The Bill Bateman’s locations in Havre de Grace and North Plaza in Parkville are closing. The local chain, famous for its wings and burgers, has closed multiple locations over the past several years; its Shrewsbury and Rosedale restaurants are still open.
Rebrands, overhauls & additions
It’s a new year, which is the perfect time for a fresh start. Several local restaurateurs agree.
Cunningham’s has been in the news this week, with an announcement that the Towson restaurant has closed for a new design (by restaurant design aficionado Patrick Sutton, who has put his mark on some of the city’s most dramatic spaces) and concept reinvention. The restaurant will reopen in the spring and the café will remain open during the renovation.
Sticky Rice will close Jan. 21 for a concept overhaul. It will reopen in a couple months as a vegetarian and vegan all-day breakfast spot called Friends and Family.
Ellicott City restaurant and beer destination The Phoenix Emporium, which was hit hard by the floods of 2016 and 2018, announced that it will cease operations in its current location at the end of March. Its owners are purchasing Ellicott Mills Brewing Company and the two businesses will merge.
Stall 11, the juice-and-more stall in R. House, is evolving into Stem Farm & Kitchen. But don’t worry: it will continue its focus on plant-based items.
The Milton Inn has a new space, dubbed The Veranda, with its own menu and vibe. The Veranda is located in what was previously an outdoor patio and while it is enclosed and has a stone fireplace (and is otherwise heated) in the winter, the roof is retractable, so when the weather is nice, dining will be semi-open air. The restaurant has developed a new snack and cocktail menu for the new space.
Baltimore Restaurant Week
Baltimore City’s Restaurant Week kicks off on Friday. This year’s promotion, which officially lasts until Jan. 19 (though some restaurants are sure to extend it), includes a couple options. Restaurants offer $15 or $20 two-course brunches and lunches and three-course dinners for $25, $35 or $45.
Restaurants have put together a stellar collection of menus this year. A couple highlights include La Calle, where you can start with choriqueso, move on to chicken topped with homemade mole and end with flan or tres leches cake; Chez Hugo, where traditional French faves like duck confit and salmon en croute are options; Cinghiale’s braised veal with broccoli rabe and fresno chilies; and Alma Cocina Latina, where dishes include an Asian-Latin-inspired ceviche and a Middle Eastern sumac-rubbed duck magret.
And that’s just a small sampling. To take a look at all the menus, visit baltimorerestaurantweek.com.
As if that’s not enough, Baltimore County’s Restaurant Week promotion begins next Friday, Jan. 17. The county’s “week” lasts through Feb. 1 and features prix fixe menus ranging from $15 to $35.
New year, new deals
Cunningham’s Café & Bakery now offers 50% discounts to uniformed police officers, military and first responders.
Noona’s has debuted a late night happy hour. Every Thursday through Saturday, from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., the restaurant offers $5 draft beers and wines, $8 cocktails, $4 burgers, $6 pizzas and $2 fries.
Pen & Quill has a new Movie Madness Monday special: every Monday, receive 10% off your meal if you show a ticket or stub from The Charles or The Parkway.
Cheers to the Lady Boss
Carrie Podles, the co-owner of several restaurants around town, including Papi’s Tacos’ two locations, Alexander’s Tavern, Huck’s American Craft and Wicked Sisters, has launched her very own wine. Called “Lady Boss,” the red wine blend comes from California and is now available any of her restaurants (you can buy cases to take home, too).
For each bottle sold, $1 goes to the Marc Boyd Legacy Fund, a non-profit, named for the late co-owner of Mother’s Federal Hill Grille, that helps disadvantaged Baltimore City youth get involved in golf.
On Saturday, Baltimore Supper Club hosts a party that’s all about soup. The Supper Club is a ticketed potluck-style event; for this one, guests bring their favorite soup to share – and there will be a special giveaway, as well.
School of Fish at Noona’s
On Monday, Noona’s seafood purveyor, “Top Hat Jeff,” will be at the restaurant to teach a class all about tuna, from what happens when its caught to how it ends up on the plate. The class – which does require tickets – includes tuna tastings and a tuna steak to take home.
The Mt. Washington Tavern turns 40 this year and as part of its celebration, it’s hosting Tavern Tuesdays featuring trivia and prizes. Every Tuesday at noon, the MWT team will post a Tavern trivia question on Facebook and Instagram. Everyone who comments with the correct answer before midnight that day will be entered in a drawing for a $40 gift card. There will be one winner each week.
NiHao pop-up at Salt
The hotly anticipated Canton spot NiHao will host another in its series of pop-ups. This one, held at Salt in Butcher’s Hill, takes place the weekend of Jan. 17 and 18. The menu is short but terrific, with dishes like Singapore crab balls and shrimp dumplings with coconut, and cocktails like the Three Kingdoms, which mixes bourbon, fernet, Campari and orange tincture.
Walk-ins are welcome but you can also call ahead for reservations.
Head for Italy?
Considering a trip to Europe this year? Gino and Lisa from Café Troia are organizing a 10-day trip to Italy, starting in Rome and traveling throughout the country. The trip, which will take place in May of this year, is limited to 14 people, so if you’re interested, get in touch with them ASAP.
Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:
February 23-25: Harry Potter at The Charmery
February 28: Partying through Time Workshop at London Town
March 11: Stag’s Leap Wine Dinner at The Milton Inn