The Corner Pantry’s Shrove Tuesday menu – including pancakes and doughnuts all day long – is one of several pre-Lent celebrations happening around town.
The Corner Pantry’s Shrove Tuesday menu – including pancakes and doughnuts all day long – is one of several pre-Lent celebrations happening around town.

It’s March and it’s Mardi Gras week, Baltimore, which means it’s time for beads, masks and a whole lot more. Local restaurants are kicking off the month with a festive week. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings and announcements
Beloved taco spot R&R Taqueria’s new Baltimore location at the corner of Charles and Lombard streets opened last week.

Speaking of tacos, keep an eye on Papi’s Tacos’ new Hampden location. It should be opening any day now.

Chez Hugo celebrated one year in business last week. Congratulations to Chef Steve Monnier and the entire Chez Hugo team!

Sandlot announced that it will open for the season on May 3.

Little Italy Wine Bar Pane e Vino is now open on Sundays. (Carryout is also available.)

Sadly, Trinacria’s Mount Vernon location announced this week that they are closed until further notice. The family-owned business’ sister location, Trinacria Italian Deli on Paca Street, remains open.

In more sad news, Little Bird in Hampden closed last week. However, the owners have new plans for the space. It will become a “pub-style” spot and will be designed to handle some of the overflow from Bluebird Cocktail Room upstairs.

James Beard in Baltimore
Congratulations, to James Beard award semifinalists Cindy Wolf, of Charleston, who was nominated for Best Chef-Mid-Atlantic, and Clavel, which was nominated for Outstanding Bar Program. Both are at the absolute top of their game and deserving of the recognition. Finalist nominees will be announced March 27; cross your fingers that both make it through.

Secret menu at Cosima
Starting on Friday, Cosima will have a “secret” menu available only at the bar. The menu, which will include some interesting dishes and cocktails, will be available only by password–and to get it, guests must sign up for the restaurant’s email newsletter.

The menu and password will change throughout the year.

French Wine with Benefits at Petit Louis
Starting on Friday and running all month long, Petit Louis will offer French Wine with Benefits, a “French wine primer and rewards program in one.” Order one of four specific bottles of French wine and receive a complimentary bottle of champagne.

Ryes up Against Cystic Fibrosis
One of the restaurant and bar industry’s favorite events, the annual Ryes Up Against Cystic Fibrosis Gala, takes place this Sunday.

The event, now in its eighth year, features rye and whiskey drinks created by members of the Baltimore Bartenders’ Guild, plus small bites from 15 restaurants and a terrific silent auction. The event, which takes place at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco, is a big money-maker and it’s also always, reportedly, a blast.

Ekiben + Cocina Luchadoras
Two super-hot restaurants are teaming up on Monday, when Cocina Luchadoras pops up at Ekiben. The event starts at 11 a.m. and ends, theoretically, at 3:30 p.m. It’s entirely likely that this one will sell out, so get there early.

Magic at The Elephant
The Elephant is going magical. Starting on Friday, March 1, and recurring every Friday night throughout the month, the Mount Vernon restaurant will feature a roving performance from local magician Jacob Greenwald. Greenwald will also close out each Friday night with a stand-up performance upstairs in the restaurant’s Living Room space.

Speaking of The Elephant, the restaurant’s iconic building is up for sale. Just the building, though, not the business itself.

Busy at Vida
Vida Taco Bar has a few activities coming up over the next few days. On Monday, their Industry Night celebration (which is open to all, not just people in the restaurant industry) will benefit No Kid Hungry’s Chef’s Cycle.

And next Saturday, March 9, Vida will kick off a weekly Mindfulness & Margaritas event. A $15 ticket will get you an hour of yoga taught by a CorePower instructor plus a post-flow margarita. That’s a great deal! Class starts at 3 p.m., but attendees should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early.

March Madness Monday at Johnny’s
Johnny’s’ cocktail classes are back this Monday, with a special March Madness edition to help you get ready for prime time college basketball.

Tuesday festivities
Tuesday is Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday… or whatever you like to call the day before Lent begins.

There are celebrations all over town, including at Ida B’s Table, where there will be NOLA music playing, po’boys for eating and Southern Comfort cocktails to drink. Guests who come in wearing Mardi Gras beads or masks will get one complimentary glass of welcome punch.

The Corner Pantry will serve crepes and doughnuts all day long (in addition to other menu items–though no one will judge if you only eat the sweets).

At Mount Vernon Marketplace, the party will include live music from Rufus Roundtree and Da B’more Brass Factory, plus drink and food specials, a selfie station and giveaways.

St. Pat’s month
Irish Heritage Month starts this Friday and with it, plenty of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Get a head start on the holiday on Sunday, when James Joyce Irish Pub hosts an auction raising funds for Baltimore’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. 

Starting Thursday, March 7, Guinness Open Gate Brewery will offer an “Irish Beer Tap Takeover” featuring legacy Irish beers like Smithwicks, Harp and Kilkenny, plus several new St. Paddy’s-themed experimental beers.

Women in Wine at Gnocchetto
March is also Women’s History Month and Gnocchetto is teaming up with “freelance sommelier” Nicole Erica to celebrate. On Thursday, March 7, the restaurant will host Wine Culture with Nicole: Women in Wine Edition. The session will focus on women who make wine and influence winemaking.

Cosmic Cocktail Party
The 20th annual Cosmic Cocktail Party is Thursday, March 7, at the American Visionary Arts Museum. Tickets are on sale now for this event, which includes drinks and food from tons of local favorite restaurants and music from DJ James Nasty.

American Whiskey at Bar Vasquez
Also on Thursday, Bar Vasquez and BIN 604 Wine Sellers team up for a five-course meal featuring dishes paired with American-made whiskies. The menu sounds sophisticated and excellent, with matches like poached and seared Spanish octopus over spicy carrot puree, spinach and salsa Lucia paired with High West Campfire Whiskey and a filet with parsnips and mushrooms paired with Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon.

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

March 21: Pizza Cooking Class at Cosima
March 30: Wockenfuss Factory Tour
March 30: Charm City Night Market Underground

Kit Pollard

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