NiHao is celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with a special meal Sept. 19-21.

From wine dinners to anniversary specials to fundraisers, this week is shaping up to be a busy one on the Baltimore restaurant scene. Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Openings & announcements
La Calle chef / co-owner Valentino Sandoval is opening a new Upper Fells Point taco spot, Bmore Taqueria.

On Sept. 13, The Brewer’s Art celebrated 25 years in business. They’re celebrating – unsurprisingly – with a new anniversary ale, plus new 25th anniversary gear available for purchase.

Fiesta Mexicana celebrated 15 years in business this week – on Mexican Independence Day.

Char’d City has now been open for two years and is celebrating with a two-fer special for call-in customers – two margaritas for $22 or an extra topping or “veganizing” for a pizza for $2. Congratulations to the team for making it through two years of business in an especially tough time.

Unfortunately, this week also brings news of several closures.

The family that owns Village Square Café in Cross Keys announced they will close Sept. 17, citing the current staffing challenges and what that means for their ability to deliver good service to customers.

Also this week, Café Troia announced that after 35 years as a cornerstone of the Towson restaurant community, it will close on Sept. 25. However, the owners did offer a reminder that another member of the Troia family owns Grano in Hampden, and some Café Troia recipes can be found there.

Sad news from Mr. Bill’s Terrace Inn
Earlier this week, Mr. Bill’s Terrace Inn announced the passing of owner Steve Eliades. The iconic crab house closed on Thursday, for a day of remembrance, and longtime fans have shared numerous memories of his big personality and generosity via social media. He died on Wednesday, just one day past his 83rd birthday.

Maryland Restaurant Week
Maryland Restaurant Week starts Sept. 17 and lasts through Sept. 26. During the promotion, local restaurants will offer all sorts of different promotions, from special menus to specific discounts. Hundreds of restaurants are participating, so no matter what corner of Maryland you find yourself in over the next week, you’ll have options.

Brass Tap gets creative
Vaccination is on everyone’s minds these days and Brass Tap has adopted a major incentive for their staff members. Each employee who gets vaccinated receives a $200 gift card to Target, Walmart or Amazon.

Whiskey on the Waterfront
This month’s outdoor party at Sagamore Spirit Distillery – held on Saturday – features food from Ekiben, B’More Greek Grill, Kooper’s Chowhound and Balti’marans, plus music, beer from Suspended Brewing and Sapwood Cellars, mixers from CaNe Collective and – of course – whiskey.

Crab cakes for firefighters
On Tuesday, local restaurants will converge on Laurel Park for a crab cake and crab soup competition benefiting the National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation. The event also includes a silent auction, games, prizes – and desserts.

Mid-Autumn Festival at NiHao
The huge Chinese event, Mid-Autumn Festival, falls on Tuesday, Sept. 21 this year and NiHao has been plans to celebrate. The restaurant is offering a special menu for dining in or take-away, from Sept. 19 through the 21st.

The two-person menu includes dishes like stuffed lotus root, wine-glazed duck breast and king oyster mushrooms with chestnut. It sounds fabulous and like an excellent way to usher in the new season.

Vega Sicilia wine dinner at Charleston
On Wednesday, Charleston hosts a multi-course dinner and wine tasting featuring the wines of Spanish winery Vega Sicilia. The meal will showcase several wines, including the Valbuena 2015 and Unico 2010. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant.

Dining Out for Life
Dining Out for Life, the annual fundraiser benefiting Moveable Feast, is back this year. On Thursday, dine at a participating restaurant to raise funds for the organization, which supports local individuals living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening conditions.

It’s one of the easiest ways to support a good cause – guests simply patronize a participating restaurant and that restaurant donates to the organization. Many Baltimore restaurants are participating, from Silver Queen Café, The Charmery and Gertrude’s to Sotto Sopra, Verde and Tilted Row.

Napa vs. Sonoma supper
On Thursday, California wine regions battle it out during a Napa and Sonoma wine dinner at the Gramercy Mansion. The dinner, hosted by Chef’s Expressions at The Manor Tavern, features five courses, including dishes like duck prosciutto with a spice cake, nutmeg and cherry gastrique paired with The Atom Chardonnay from Sonoma, and venison medallions, grilled duck heart, blueberry demi and polenta cake paired with a 2017 St. Surpery Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa.

No Senior Eats Alone Day
Thursday, Sept. 23 is No Senior Eats Alone Day (NSEAD), an event created in an effort to make sure the older adults in our community are connected to others. In honor of the day, numerous restaurants are offering discounts, gifts and other promotions.

Participating restaurants include Miss Shirley’s in Roland Park, which will offer 60% off on individual meals for guests who are 60 and older from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Conrad’s in Perry Hall, where guests 60+ will receive 20% off the check (excluding crabs) all day, and State Fare in Catonsville, which will host a bingo hall outside under a tent.

Bee’s Knees Week
The annual bee-friendly promotion, Bee’s Knees Week, starts on Sept. 24 and lasts through Oct. 3. During that time, drink a Bee’s Knees cocktail made with Barr Hill Gin at a participating local bar (or even at home) and post a photo to social media, tagging @barrhillgin. Barr Hill will then fund the planting of 10 square feet of pollinator habitat (for every photo posted).

Tons of Baltimore spots are participating in the event, including places like True Chesapeake Oyster Co., JBGB’s in Remington, The Food Market, and Dutch Courage. 

Football at The Greene Turtle
With the Ravens’ season underway, Baltimore Greene Turtle locations have lots of new food and drink specials on their menus plus a signed jersey giveaway promotion.

A lot to look forward to
This week will be a great one – but save some energy for the next few weeks, too. They’re shaping up to be especially busy!

On Saturday, the Trifecta Food Truck & Music Festival rolls into the infield at the Timonium Fairgrounds, bringing with it over 30 local food trucks and businesses, including favorites like The Local Oyster, Dangerously Delicious Pies, The Queen, and Kooper’s Chowhound, along with a full slate of bands.

Saturday and Sunday, head up to Havre de Grace for the Susquehanna Wine & Seafood Festival, featuring everything from cooking demos to steamed crabs to activities for kids.

And on Oct. 7, the Taste of Hampden event benefiting the Hampden Family Center returns. This year’s party will be at Whitehall Mill and will feature food and fun from some of the city’s best spots – all while raising funds for a great cause.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for:
September 25: Susquehanna Wine & Seafood Festival 
October 7: Taste of Hampden 
October 10: Feastival benefiting Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 

Kit Pollard

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