Hot Plate: Soft Shells, Summer Drinks and Chef Brian Lavin’s New Spot

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Strawberry Rhubarb Margherita at Charleston
Strawberry Rhubarb Margherita at Charleston

It’s summer! And both the calendar and the thermometer agree, which, after the spring Baltimore has seen, could not be more welcome news.

In restaurants, the sudden shift to warm weather comes at a great time. Even as our minds turn to the beach, there’s plenty of great summertime food action right in the city, including tons of soft shells and new ice cream flavors from The Charmery, including never-before-seen options as well as classics like their Lemon Stick.

And the food and restaurant events just keep coming. Here’s what we have to look forward to in Baltimore over Memorial Day weekend and for the week following:

 Coddies on TV

On Saturday, May 28, “Bizarre Foods – Delicious Destinations” will be in Baltimore, taping an episode at Attman’s Delicatessen. The focus is on coddies – and fans of Attman’s version of the iconic Baltimore food are welcome to come down to potentially be interviewed for the show. The taping will take place from 10 a.m.  to noon at the Lombard Street location. CORRECTION: We received this afternoon an email with the following update from Tammy Bloom, the show runner at Bizarre Foods. “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, (nor Andrew Zimmern himself) is not coming to Attman’s or Baltimore at all.  There was some miscommunication that has gotten into several media outlets.”  We are disappointed and regret the error.


Wit & Wisdom is having a big week. In addition to finally getting a chance to truly use the outdoor patio, which has a spectacular harbor view, the restaurant has two events on tap for the week.

First is Saturday’s Cellar Sessions, which features comparisons between classic Old World and New World Wine. If you’re the least little bit of a wine geek, or want to be one, you will love these sessions, taught by sommelier Julie Dalton. They are packed with interesting knowledge – and you’ll get to sip some very good wine while you’re learning.

On Tuesday, June 1, the restaurant is hosting Chefs Behind Bars, an event benefiting No Kid Hungry. The party takes place on the patio and features chefs from a handful of great local restaurants – Opie Crooks from Woodberry Kitchen, Josh Brown from Level/Fox’s Den, Chad Gauss from The Food Market, Ben Lefenfeld from La Cuchara, Bryan Voltaggio from Volt and Zack Mills from Wit & Wisdom – mixing specialty cocktails.

Last year, it was an absolute blast; it’s so fun to see how chefs apply their culinary smarts to the bar. The drinks are sure to be fabulous and the cause can’t be beat.

Happenings at Aggio

Bryan Voltaggio’s Power Plant LIVE! spot Aggio has a lot on deck, including an upcoming rose wine dinner and an educational series dedicated to the Italian liqueur amaro. More on those later, as they pop up throughout the course of the summer.

Starting immediately, Aggio will offer 3-course brunches, with a bottomless cocktail option, every Saturday and Sunday, starting at 11:30. The restaurant is known for its food and has been heaped with recent praise for its cocktail program. If you haven’t been, brunch is a great excuse to introduce yourself to the place. 

Fete Maman at Petit Louis

American Mother’s Day has come and gone, but Petit Louis is giving everyone a second chance to celebrate the mamans in our lives. In France, Mother’s Day is celebrated the last Sunday in May, so this Sunday, during brunch and dinner, the restaurant will offer all mothers a complimentary glass of rose and a flower. 

Stylish Sips

Starting May 31, Charleston will host a weekly cocktail hour – actually, an hour and a half – from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m every Tuesday. Each week will feature a new drink, champagne and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Next week’s drink, the Strawberry Rhubarb Margherita, is made with tequila, strawberry rhubarb shrub and several other ingredients, and served in a glass with a black salt rim. It sounds delicious and looks like a work of art. 

Get Ready for Gnocco

Fans of Chef Brian Lavin, formerly of Salt and Fork & Wrench, will be excited to hear that he’s heading out on his own. Gnocco, his new Mediterranean-inspired spot, is slated to open in mid-June in Brewers Hill.

The restaurant will occupy the old Brewers Hill Pub & Grill space. The menu will incorporate both Italian and Spanish influences – the flavors of the Mediterranean.

Brown Rice in R. House

The team behind R. House has been busy lately, with a stream of recent announcements about new future occupants coming to the soon to open Remington food hall.

The Brown Rice team hasn’t exactly been slacking, either. Earlier this month, the Korean fast casual restaurant, known for its successful Charles Street spot, opened a new location in Mount Vernon Marketplace.

This week, R. House and Brown Rice announced that they’ll be working together in the future, with Brown Rice opening a Korean barbecue concept, called BeBim, in the food hall. This is the fourth restaurant concept announced for R. House, which is shaping up to be an impressive, and mouthwatering, melting pot of flavors and influences.

Secret Supper

If you missed the last Secret Supper hosted by the Baltimore Sun, you’re in luck – the paper has another planned for Wednesday, June 1. The location is still top secret, but the meal will start at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and is sure to be excellent. 

Ramen at Union

Ramen fans should head to Union Craft Brewing on Thursday, June 2, when ramen pop-up Smoking Bowls makes an appearance at the brewery. The event will feature the pork-based Smoking Bowl and a vegetarian miso “Hippie Bowl” – and some pretty great beer, too.

Planning Ahead

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

June 4: Great Grapes Wine Festival 

June 7: Olive Oil tasting with Slow Food Baltimore and E.N. Olivier 

June 11: FEASTIVAL -A Food Adventure for a Cure, from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation


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