Hamilton-Lauraville’s First Friday celebration is March 4. Local businesses, including Silver Queen Cafe (pictured) have fun events and specials planned.
Hamilton-Lauraville’s First Friday celebration is March 4. Local businesses, including Silver Queen Cafe (pictured) have fun events and specials planned.

With Old Bay Vodka about to hit the shelves, Ukrainian spirits on menus, and encouraging reopening news, this week is shaping up to be a fun one in the Baltimore food and restaurant scene. Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Openings & announcements
After a forced hiatus for Baltimore City-led repairs, Federal Hill’s Blue Moon Too is once again open and ready for guests.

Lunch at Linwoods is back. Starting March 1, the restaurant now has lunch hours.

Pierpoint is on the road to reopening for indoor dining, though the Fells Point restaurant has had a setback – their stove died. They are working around that, though, to continue to sell weekly boxes and could use all the support they can get, especially now that they need a new stove.

Sadly, this week brings the news that a Towson institution is closing. San Sushi Too/Thai One On, which has been a Pennsylvania Avenue staple since 1997, is closing its doors on Friday. Its sister spot, B. Lounge, is also closing. They will be greatly missed by the Towson community; already, longtime patrons are sharing memories of great times at the restaurant.

Supporting Ukraine
Baltimore bars and restaurants are taking steps to support the people of Ukraine – and the local Ukrainian community – during these extremely challenging times.

In Fells Point, bars and restaurants joined together to purchase Ukrainian beer and alcohol. The effort was spearheaded by Max’s Taphouse and many of the spots are donating a portion of sales to Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen Chefs for Ukraine program.

For example, all weekend, Kooper’s Tavern and Slainte Irish Pub will use Ukraine’s Nikita Vodka in crushes. The bars will also sell liters of the vodka for $25, with 100% of profit going directly to World Central Kitchen.

At Max’s, Ukrainian options include five different beers, five sparkling wines and several spirits, including Nikita Vodka, Pervak Vodka with horseradish, and Shabo Brandy. The bar has created a special blue and yellow cocktail, too, called “Eat the Bear.” Max’s is also offering bottles for purchase to take home, with 100% of profit going to World Central Kitchen.

Also, keep an eye out for the April 9 pierogi sale at St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canton. Be sure to order early; the church was overwhelmed with orders for its March 12 sale.

Old Bay in a bottle
Get ready for some heat. McCormick announced this week that, in partnership with Frederick’s McClintock Distilling and Berlin (Maryland)-based George’s Beverage Company, it is releasing an Old Bay brand vodka.

This sounds like a terrific collaboration. George’s is known for its excellent Bloody Mary mix – which would be even better mixed with Old Bay vodka.

First Friday in Hamilton
Head to Hamilton-Lauraville for a First Friday celebration on March 4. Local businesses will have specials and fun events and Hamilton restaurants, like Silver Queen Cafe, will have drink and food specials.

Chili at the Hollow
Speaking of spicy, after a two-year COVID hiatus, Swallow at the Hollow’s ninth Chili Cookoff returns on Saturday. Ten competitors will pit their chili creations against one another, hoping for a big win. The cookoff is in partnership with Monument City Brewery, which will take over the Swallow taps for the afternoon. Each chili will also include a Monument brew.

Maryland Vegan Restaurant Week
Maryland Vegan Eats’ tenth Maryland Vegan Restaurant Week kicks off on March 4 and lasts until March 27. During the promotion, local restaurants will offer special plant-based dishes. The event is organized by the crews from Golden West Café and The Land of Kush, two Baltimore restaurants known for their vegetarian-friendly approach to menu creation.

Tons of spots around the city are participating, from established restaurants like Miss Shirley’s Café and The Verandah to newcomers like Fire & Rice and Friends & Family.

Restaurant Week-style deals at Towson Tavern
Baltimore County’s Restaurant Week promotion is on hold but Towson Tavern has launched one of its own. Starting this Sunday, every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the Towson restaurant will offer three-course prix-fixe dinners for $35.

Big Night at La Scala
La Scala’s semi-annual screening of “Big Night” is happening this Wednesday. You can reserve a spot now to enjoy a meal along with the famously food-centric film.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for:
March 15: Rombauer Wine Dinner at Liberatore’s 
March 23: Kentucky Nights at Mt. Washington Tavern 
May 28: Brew at the Zoo 

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