From national recognition from the James Beard Foundation to celebrations of local brews, this week is an exciting one for the Baltimore restaurant community. Here’s a look at what’s happening:
Openings and announcements
Ovenbird Bakery’s new Lexington Market location soft opened this week. The bakery, which gained fame after it opened in Little Italy in 2019, will be open in the market from Wednesday through Saturday, offering bread and pastries, plus breakfast and lunch fare.
Speaking of Lexington Market, Trinacria’s new location in the market is also up and running.
Congratulations to the team from W.C. Harlan, which celebrated 10 years in business this week. The Remington bar, which is beloved for its moody atmosphere and creative cocktails, was the first spot opened by husband and wife team Lane Harlan and Matthew Pierce, who also own (or part-own) Clavel, Fadensonnen and Angels Eat Lemons. They also have a new project in the works, a cocktail bar in Mt. Vernon called The Coral Wig.
The Four Seasons Hotel has announced a new leadership team within its food and beverage offerings, including a brand new executive chef: Tristan Baker. Chef Baker has experience at several Four Seasons properties, including Nevis and Chicago.
This week, STEM Farm + Kitchen in R. House will close – but there’s also some good news coming out of the Remington food hub. Last week, Tio G’s Chimi and Empanadas opened as a permanent stall, in the space formerly occupied by Noisy Burger. Tio G’s currently serves empanadas, burgers and lemonade and the menu will expand in February. Its owner, Gerdyn Mojica, also has a spot in Lexington Market.
In her weekly newsletter, Charm City Cook announced that the popular D.C. ramen spot Toki Underground is expanding to Baltimore. The new shop will be on Greenmount Avenue in Waverly – and will mostly likely be a major hit from day one.
Little Italy restaurants Aldo’s Ristorante and Germano’s Piattini have been purchased by a Little Italy resident and produce company owner, who hopes to reopen both in the future – great news for the neighborhood and for all lovers of Italian food.
The Baltimore Business Journal reported this week that a new Mexican restaurant, Baja Tap, will open in the old Bond Street Social space next summer.
This week also brought some sad news, unfortunately, with the announcement of the closure of Bo Brooks. The crabhouse had been in business since the mid-1960s (though only in its most recent home in Canton since 2000.
James Beard recognizes Baltimore
Social media was abuzz this past Wednesday, when the James Beard Foundation released its list of semi-finalists for its 2023 awards.
Baltimore received several mentions – including both venerable restaurants and relative newcomers. Charleston received a nomination for Outstanding Hospitality Program, a national award. In addition, Chef Chris Amendola of Foraged Eatery and Chef Steve Chu of Ekiben are both included on the Best Chef Mid-Atlantic list, which includes chefs from Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The Baltimore food and restaurant community’s excitement about the local nominations was palpable on Wednesday – and was a good reminder of how much local restaurateurs and chefs support one another, even though they are, technically, competitors. That collaborative and celebratory spirit is a major part of what makes the Charm City food scene so special.
Big congratulations to all the nominees – especially those three.
Baltimore City Restaurant Week is finally here; the event starts Friday and runs through Sunday, Feb. 5. Dozens of local restaurants are participating, offering $35, $45 and $55 prix fixe menus.
Participants include a wide variety of restaurants, from iconic spots like Tio Pepe, which has curated a menu with some of its classic dishes, including the shrimp in garlic sauce and roast suckling pig, to relative newcomers like Topside in the Hotel Revival, which is offering a menu with options like potato leek soup made with coconut milk and caramelized onions and a seafood rice spiced up with pimento aioli.
The Howard County and Harford County promotions both run through Sunday, Jan. 29. While Baltimore County’s event is technically over, some restaurants, like The Manor Tavern, have decided to extend their offerings through at least this weekend.
Anniversary celebration at Conrad’s
On Sunday, Conrad’s Perry Hall restaurant is celebrating nine years in business with a day full of specials, including $9 burgers, double orange crushes and happy hour appetizers. Congratulations to the Conrad’s team!
Wednesday is Feb. 1, which means it is officially the start of Maryland Craft Beer Lovers Month – better known as FeBREWary.
During the month, which is organized by the Brewers Association of Maryland, breweries will host numerous events all over the state, including launches, like the tapping of Double Groove Brewing’s “Come See About My Pale Ale” in Forest Hill on Feb. 9, and the Love Thy Beer party, featuring tons of breweries, in Silver Spring on Feb. 10.
Small plates pop-up at Larder
On Wednesday, starting at 6 p.m., Larder will host a pop-up event with Nomad Coffee, featuring small plates focused on fermented foods from Barcelona. The event is a collaboration with Spanish companies Ma! Condimentos Vivos de Asia, Bravasa, and Maison Carpinelli.
Thursday, Feb. 2 is a great day for wine lovers.
That evening, True Chesapeake Oyster Co. is partnering with the family from Drouhin Vineyards for a five-course meal featuring Drouhin wines paired with creative dishes from Chef Zack Mills.
Also on Thursday, One Eleven Main in Bel Air hosts a representative from Damilano Barolo, which hails from Piedmont, Italy. The evening includes a five-course meal with pairings from the winery, including courses like venison ravioli in truffle cream paired with the 2017 Barolo Cannubi.
Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for:
Feb. 4: Ice Cream for Breakfast at The Charmery
Feb. 4: Fermentation Class at HEX Superette
Feb. 15: Little Red Dress Party at Duck Duck Goose