Pork-stuffed calamari is one of the highlights of NiHao’s new spring menu.
Pork-stuffed calamari is one of the highlights of NiHao’s new spring menu.

With trees blooming, baseball back, and springtime dishes on menus across the city, this week promises to be a happy one in Baltimore. Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the culinary world:

Openings & announcements
The Food Market’s new Columbia outpost opened this week. Photos from the soft opening look terrific – which is no surprise, considering how consistently great the restaurant’s original Hampden location is.

A new Bonchon Korean Fried Chicken location opened in Towson last Wednesday. The restaurant is located in the Goucher Commons shopping center.

Church: A Bar will open in Old Goucher later this year. The new spot is helmed by a dream team of local restaurant industry professionals, including Chelsea Gregoire, who is one of the region’s (and country’s) most impressive beverage experts.

The Recher Restaurant Group, including Towson Tavern, Recher Theater and the Rec Room, has a new executive chef: Craig Nachodsky. Chef Nachodsky has experience with restaurants all over the region, from McFaul’s Ironhorse Café to the Admirals Cup.

Baltimore favorite Otterbein’s Cookies has a new product on the shelves: single-serving packages of miniature versions of their delicious cookies.

Unfortunately, this week also brought sad news: Ida B’s Table has closed.

The industry is continuing its post-2020 spring reawakening. This week brings news about the reopenings of several businesses that closed or limited business due to COVID.

The Manor Restaurant & Ultralounge, the Mount Vernon spot that barely had a chance to open before shutting its doors due to COVID, will reopen this week. The team isn’t wasting any time getting back in the game, either: there are drag brunches planned for Saturday and Sunday, the 18th and 19th. 

Dovecote Café, which closed its doors last April, will reopen on June 19 with a Juneteenth Festival. The café – which earned fans from the neighborhood and afar – are already buzzing about the reopening.

Village Square Café has reopened for indoor dining and is bringing back morning hours, opening at 8 a.m. daily.

Baltimore harbor cruises are back! City Cruises, run by The Hornblower Group (formerly Spirit Cruises), has resumed its dinner and brunch cruises on the Spirit of Baltimore and the Inner Harbor Spirit.

Baltimore County Restaurant Week
Restaurant Week is back in Baltimore County! Starting Friday, April 16 and running through May 2, participating restaurants, including everyone from Ocean Pride to Michael’s Café, will offer special menus and great deals.

New menu at NiHao
NiHao has updated its menu for the spring season, with some new dishes along with current favorites. Though the restaurant is a newcomer in Baltimore, it has quickly earned tons of praise, including for its dim sum weekend options – which are sticking around this spring.

JFX Farmers’ Market is back!
One of the surest signs of spring is here: the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar has restarted. The market, which is now in its 44th year, will take place every Sunday morning from now through late December. From the doughnuts to the produce, it’s one of the best food experiences in Baltimore.

Also good news: though last year, the market was limited to food vendors only, this year, artisans will also be back.

Patio party at Ampersea
While outdoor dining has been more of a mainstay staple this year than in the past, it’s always fun to recognize the start of good weather – traditional al fresco season – with a party. Ampersea will host its annual patio opening party on April 9.

The party includes food and drink specials and music from acoustic artists and a DJ starting at 10 p.m.

National Poutine Day
Sunday, April 11 is National Poutine Day – a day for us Americans to celebrate one of the greatest culinary contributions coming from our Canadian neighbors to the north.

In honor of the day, Eggspectation in Owings Mills is offering a poutine menu from now through April 25. Eggspectation’s CEO, Enzo Renda, hails from Canada – so he knows poutine. The special menu includes many creative takes on the fries, cheese curds and gravy dish, including a one featuring fried chicken and bacon and another topped with a lobster tail.

Intriguing CBD collab
Hersh’s has an interesting new partnership in the works. The pizza and pasta restaurant is working with Clayton View Farm on CBD-infused marinara sauce. The sauce’s recipe is on the farm’s website, so you can try it out for yourself.

Brunch Battle
On Wednesday, the Restaurant Association of Maryland is hosting a “Brunch Battle” in which teams of professional chefs and Maryland ProStart students from around the state will compete in an Iron Chef-inspired competition.

The competition sounds like a fun one, with a cash prize for the student from the top team and the winning chef will have an opportunity to compete in the 2021 World Food Championship in Dallas.

Happy hour pop-ups at La Cuchara
Parking lot happy hour is back at La Cuchara – but not every day. Keep an eye on the Clipper Mill restaurant’s social media for announcements of occasional happy hour pop up parties.

Virtual wine tasting for Maryland Center for the Arts
On Friday, April 16, Maryland Center for the Arts will host a virtual wine tasting event to raise money for the creation of a new regional arts center; it’s the first in a series of fundraising events for the center.

The event, which is hosted by WYPR and MPT personality Al Spoler, will feature six wines plus complementary recipes created by Pairings Bistro in Bel Air. Tasting kits can be picked up at the Liriodendron Mansion in Bel Air on Thursday.

Homerun for Recovery
The Baltimore Station’s annual Homerun for Recovery fundraiser will take place virtually on April 22 – but the deadline for signing up is Wednesday, April 14.

The event package includes appetizers and cocktails from 206 Restaurant Group – the company behind local favorites like Pratt Street Ale House and Five & Dime Ale House – and the event itself will feature music from local bands playing a variety of tunes, plus an online silent auction with some excellent options.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for:
April 24: OMGFood Benefiting The League for People with Disabilities 
April 25: Oysterfest at The Manor Tavern 
April 28: Wine and Bourbon Tasting at Peerce’s 

Kit Pollard

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