Hot Plate: Juneteenth menus, Solstice celebrations, Father’s Day beer, wine dinners and more

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Le Comptoir du Vin opened Back Bar, a space for cocktails, beer and wine, this week. Photo by Suzy Dunn.

Baltimore has so much to celebrate this weekend, from Juneteenth and the Solstice to dear old dad. Local restaurants are up to the task, offering a fun lineup of wine and beer dinners, special events and more. Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Openings & announcements

The beloved Little Italy restaurant Velleggia’s, which closed over a decade ago, is making a comeback – but outside of the old neighborhood. Chef Brendan Hudson, a grandson of Frank Velleggia Sr., is partnering with Chef David Montaguedo on a new venture in Cross Street Market, which will feature some favorite dishes from the original restaurant.

Gundalow Gourmet has been busy lately. In addition to selling excellent prepared foods, the Gundalow team is opening a kitchen, gift and design shop in Whitehall Mill – opening day is Friday. During the opening party, which starts at 4 p.m., you can grab sips and bites from Gundalow, from other vendors, or from Cocina Luchadoras, which will be popping up at the Mill that afternoon.

Gundalow also has plans to open another location in The Shops at Kenilworth.

Speaking of Whitehall Mill, Crust by Mack has moved back into its old space while it awaits the completion of its standalone store on Preston St.

Keep an eye on the old Café Troia space in Towson. Last year, Banditos Tacos and Tequila announced it will be opening in the Allegany Avenue building; this week, they announced a likely opening in early July.

Papi’s Tacos has opened a new location – at the beach! The popular Baltimore taco spot now has an Ocean City outpost at the corner of 15th Street and Coastal Highway.

Back Bar at Le Comptoir

On Friday, a new space opens at Le Comptoir du Vin: an intimate back bar where guests can enjoy natural wines, beer and cocktails. It’s a sweet spot for anytime and is especially nice when you’re waiting for a table in the dining room.  

Mount Royal Night Market

On Friday night, head to Huntingdon Avenue for a Night Market event hosted by Mount Royal Soap Co. The event will include several pop-up vendors plus beer from Peabody Heights Brewery and food from Ekiben’s food truck.

Solstice celebrations

Old Westminster Winery’s annual Solstice Festival is back again this year. On Saturday, the winery’s new vineyard, Burnt Hill Farm in Clarksburg, will host a fun outdoor party with food from local faves like Ekiben, blacksauce kitchen, and Little Sesame, along with music, artists and lots of wine.

On Tuesday, Cosima hosts a Summer Solstice Bacchanalia wine dinner including four savory courses paired with Sicilian wines – dishes like tuna carpaccio with salsa verde, chiles and lemon, and braised short-rib pizza with caramelized onion, ricotta and goat’s cheese.

Juneteenth events

Juneteenth – June 19 – is this Sunday and local Black-owned businesses offer a variety of ways to celebrate the holiday.

One of the city’s biggest celebrations, AFRAM, will take over Druid Hill Park with performances and vendors. Plus, the AFRAM organizers have partnered with multiple Black-owned businesses located throughout the city to feature special dishes available through Sunday.

Baltimore’s Black-owned restaurant community is impressive (and much larger than the AFRAM list), so diners have plenty of opportunity to visit Black-owned restaurants. You can find those restaurants throughout the region, from Station North (Nancy by SNAC) to Owings Mills (Georgia Peach) to Federal Hill (Home Maid). Plus, The Restaurant Association of Maryland keeps a running list of Black-owned food businesses and restaurants located throughout the state, including over 50 Baltimore restaurants – places like Colin’s Seafood and Grill and Water for Chocolate.

Beer & Steak for dads

Sunday is Father’s Day and Guinness Open Gate Brewery has big plans for dads, including a ticketed event, dubbed “Guinness Grills for Dad,” that features special beers and grilled steaks, along with an afternoon of music from The Great Train Robbery. Tickets for the dad dinner are available for purchase in advance.

Also on Father’s Day, Bondhouse in Fells Point has a fun brunch in the works, including $2 off all beers, all day long.

John Brown General and Butchery and its city outpost, JBGB’s in Remington will both have 100-day dry-aged tomahawk ribeyes and Japanese a5 Wagyu available to take home to grill for Father’s Day. The steaks will be available starting at 10 a.m. on Friday.

La Cuchara wine dinner

If your father is more of a oenophile, La Cuchara is a good bet for Father’s Day. On Sunday, La Cuchara is exploring the wines of Bodegas y Vinedos Valtravieso in Ribera del Duero. The wines will be paired with five courses, all of which are sure to be spectacular.

Wine dinners at Elkridge Furnace Inn

This week, Elkridge Furnace Inn is hosting a pair of wine dinners. On Tuesday, the venue will showcase the wines of Italy, with a five-course meal including dishes like lamb over zucchini, tomatoes and onion, paired with Titolo Aglianico del Vulture Doc.

On Thursday, the team hosts a wine dinner featuring wines from the American West Coast paired with dishes like a charcuterie board including smoked quail, salmon rillettes and a northwestern cheddar.

Patron dinner at Jimmy’s

On Wednesday, fans of tequila – and giving back – can head to Jimmy’s Famous Seafood for a four-course dinner featuring cocktails from Patron, benefiting The Baltimore Station.

The meal includes dishes like a chili lobster roll paired with a Patron cucumber mint cooler, and local rockfish tacos with mango citrus slaw, paired with a breezy drink called the Summer Sunset.

Bromo Art Walk returns

On Thursday, downtown Baltimore welcomes the return of the Bromo Art Walk, a fun cultural event featuring art and performances of all different kinds, and the opportunity to check out studios, theaters and other art spaces in the Bromo Arts District.

And, of course, there is food! As you enjoy the Art Walk, you also have the opportunity to take advantage of special deals from several participating restaurants, including Forno, Vegan Juiceology and Cuples Tea House.  

Under the Tuscan Sun wine supper

Also on Thursday, Chef’s Expressions at the Manor is hosting an “Under the Tuscan Sun” wine dinner, including courses that explore the sunny cuisine of Tuscany, paired with regional wines.

The dinner, which takes place at Gramercy Mansion, is also a benefit for TasteWise Kids.

Twilight on the Terrace

On Thursday, Gertrude’s hosts Twilight on the Terrace, the annual fundraiser for the Pride Center of Maryland. The party features music, dancing and an open bar plus, of course, great food in a gorgeous setting.

Planning for the future

Mark your calendars for:

July 3: Tacopalooza at La Food Marketa

July 17: Birdland Crab Feast at Jimmy’s Famous Seafood

Sept. 30: Passion for Food and Wine benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Maryland



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