Sotto Sopra’s L’Anno di Bergamo, a year-long introduction to the cuisine of Bergamo in northern Italy, kicks off this week with a cooking class and dinner.
Sotto Sopra’s L’Anno di Bergamo, a year-long introduction to the cuisine of Bergamo in northern Italy, kicks off this week with a cooking class and dinner.

It’s a new year, which means it’s time for new beginnings. Baltimore’s restaurant industry is already working hard on that resolution. This week brings tons of announcements of openings around town, plus the return of Restaurant Week in the city and much more.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Openings and announcements

Ouzo Bay announced plans this week to build “Ouzo Beach,” a lounge and bar located across Lancaster Street from the main part of the restaurant. Ouzo Beach will offer the same menu as the original, and will be designed to look like a Mediterranean courtyard.

Ouzo Bay’s owners, Atlas Restaurant Group, also announced design plans for The Choptank, the group’s Fells Point seafood and crab restaurant slated to open this summer. Local design superstar Patrick Sutton, who has successfully collaborated with Atlas on previous restaurants, is behind the vision.

After months of renovations (and permits), Full Tilt Brewing has opened its Govans taproom. The brewery, which is located in the Accelerator Building, has already begun hosting food trucks and welcoming the community.

Döner Brös’ Charles Village location is now open for business.

Hamilton welcomes a shop featuring local, seasonal and organic goods. Farm to Face, located in the old Grind On Café space on Harford Road, celebrates its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

The Alex Brown building is soon to have a new purpose–a delicious one. Hospitality and creative group Oxford Commons has plans to open The Alexander Brown Restaurant, or The A.B., in the building early this year.

Refocused Vegan will open on N. Eutaw Street later this month.

Akuma, from the owners of Niwana in Charles Village, will open in the Canton Firehouse. The Japanese/Korean restaurant will be BYOB.

Towson taco lovers will have a new place to visit sometime next year, when Felipe’s Mexican Taqueria Restaurant opens in the Shops at Kenilworth. Felipe’s is a small, New Orleans-based chain; it will be located in a freestanding building that will be added in the lower half of the mall.

Amid all this good news, there are a couple sad spots. First, Cross Street Market’s famous oyster bar, Nick’s, will say goodbye with a farewell party starting on Friday and lasting throughout the weekend. This is your chance to bid adieu and raise a giant plastic cup of beer to Nick’s one last time.

Also, Brew House No. 16 closed its doors on Dec. 30.

Restaurant Week

It’s that time again: Restaurant Week season! Baltimore City’s Restaurant Week begins on Jan. 11 and runs through Jan. 20.

Dozens of restaurants are participating in the promotion, which features two-course lunch and brunch options for $12-20 and three-course dinners for $20-35. Options across the city sound terrific: for example, in Hampden, Avenue Kitchen & Bar’s potential choices include tempura Buffalo lobster with pickled pepper and carrot slaw followed by crab Bolognese and horchata crème brulee. At Cinghiale in Harbor East, diners can add wine pairings for $20 and courses include dishes like a bruschetta duo and risotto with shrimp, mussels, calamari and lemon.

Check out the event website for menus from all participants.

Purple pancakes

It’s playoff time for the Ravens! Miss Shirley’s is celebrating all things purple, starting today, with a new addition to the menu: Weddle’s Playoff Pancakes. The dish is seriously enthusiastic: buttermilk pancakes with blackberries and white chocolate chips, topped with purple whipped cream, purple cream cheese icing, powdered sugar and black and purple sprinkles.

They’ll be available throughout the Ravens’ playoff run, so keep your fingers crossed that they stick around for a while.

L’Anno di Bergamo at Sotto Sopra

This year, Mt. Vernon’s Sotto Sopra will embark on a “love story” with the town of Bergamo, Italy. In an effort to share the cuisine of the northern Italian town with the people of Baltimore, chef/owner Riccardo Bosio, a Bergamo native, will host numerous events focused on the region.

It kicks off with a pair of events this week: a cooking class on Sunday and a four-course dinner on Wednesday evening. Both will feature the work of Chef Gianbattista Oldrati, a Bergamo native who cooks at the four-star Piajo Hotel (and a friend of Chef Bosio’s).

Happenings at Vida

Vida Taco Bar in Harbor Point is kicking off 2019 with lots of events, including a monthly trivia night to be held on Thursdays, with gift cards for the winners.

The taco bar also hosts monthly industry night fundraisers. The first fundraiser this year, this coming Monday night, benefits No Kid Hungry’s Chefs Cycle and Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE). The event includes a kitchen takeover from the guys at Blue Dog BBQ. The next one is on Feb. 4 and features a bar takeover by Rye’s Perez Klebahn.

Thinking tropical

Johnny’s’ monthly cocktail classes have returned for 2019. The first installment, this Monday, is a good one for the season: it’s all about the tropics.

Learn how to make a classic mojito and the matador, a tequila, lime and pineapple drink, while you warm up inside Johnny’s’ cozy space.

Origins is back
The Origins series of meals and conversation returns this Thursday at Artifact Coffee.

This month’s installment will focus on a timely topic: medical marijuana and the “local take on Maryland’s evolving industry.” Speakers include individuals responsible for selling, marketing and cultivating marijuana in Maryland. As always, the conversation will be accompanied by drinks, snacks and supper from the team at Artifact.

Gertrude’s Krautfest

Krautfest at Gertrude’s is always popular. The two-day event, which runs Friday, Jan. 11, and Saturday, Jan. 12, includes music, dancing and a buffet stacked heavy with locally made sausage options like knockwurst, bauernwurst and bratwurst from Binkert’s and kielbasa from Ostrowski’s. It’ll also have other Eastern European specialties, like sour beef and buttered noodles and roasted beet borscht with kraut (and that’s vegan!).

Planning Ahead

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

Jan. 12: Oyster, Wine & Beer Festival 

Jan. 24: RAR & Union Beer Dinner at Don’t Know Tavern 

Jan. 25: Baltimore Free Farm Fancy Dinner

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