Baltimore Wine Village at West Shore Park is open through the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. Photo by Kory Aversa.
Baltimore Wine Village at West Shore Park is open through the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. Photo by Kory Aversa.

The sun is shining over Baltimore as the region jumps into the unofficial start of summer. From new summer and graduation hours to specials inspired by the season, local restaurants are embracing early summer in a variety of ways this week. Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Openings & announcements

A few weeks ago, JBGB’s in Remington announced it would revamp its concept – and now it has. On May 23, the restaurant JBGB’s added lunch hours and a new concept, The Butcher and The ‘Wich, which offers a butchery and lunch counter menu focused on the sandwiches that have made its County counterpart, John Brown General, a lunchtime destination.

The sandwich menu (which also includes chocolate soft serve) is available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., during which time the butchery counter is also open. JBGB’s regular evening menu and bar is still available after 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 

The Coral Wig, a new cocktail bar from W.C. Harlan’s Lane Harlan and Matthew Pierce, has opened in the Hotel Ulysses in Mt. Vernon.

The Verandah Kitchen in Hampden has added new summer lunch hours, starting May 26. The Indian restaurant is now open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Milton Inn is open for special graduation season hours, including lunch on June 2 and June 9 – with reservations available now.

Congrats to the team at Gunther & Co., who celebrated seven years in business last week.

Flying Dog Brewery, the Frederick brewery that has been a cornerstone of the brewing industry in Maryland for years, has been acquired by FX  Matt Brewing Co. The new owners, who have already been brewing some of Flying Dog’s beers, will take over all production and stop brewing beer in Maryland later this summer – though they announced they have plans to open a taproom and “innovation brewery” space in Frederick.

Literary arepas

Irena Stein, the proprietor of Alma Cocina Latina, has a new project: a cookbook focused on arepas, featuring recipes and her stunning photos. The book, called AREPA, will launch on July 18 and is available now for pre-order on Amazon and via Simon and Schuster.

Cocktail dinner at Dutch Courage

Tickets are going quickly for the two seatings of a cocktail dinner at Dutch Courage on June 14. The four-course meal includes creative pairings like a salt-cured sea scallop with fermented white peach and olive tossed with lemon oil and Baltimore Spirits Co. Skeleton Gin, paired with a cocktail also incorporating the peach and gin alongside ingredients like basil and vinho verde.

Brew at the Zoo

The Maryland Zoo’s big craft beer festival, Brew at the Zoo, is back again May 27 and 28. The festival, which is a fundraiser for the Zoo’s animal care and conservation programs, includes live music, Zoo admission, and samples of over 80 craft beers, wines and hard seltzers.

Final hurrah for the Wine Village

The Wine Village in Baltimore, the fun new Inner Harbor attraction that popped up in West Shore Park this past month, is open for one more weekend – through the evening of Sunday May 28. Throughout the weekend, the Village will feature live music and a variety of food and drinks, including lots of wine, wine slushies, wine-infused fruits and more.

Italian Festival

Friday June 2 – and all weekend long – Little Italy celebrates the Feast of St. Anthony with a festival on Stiles and Exeter streets. Stop by for bocce, music, games, and tons of wine, beer, food and culinary festivities – including a Giant Meatball Contest and a sausage-eating contest

Spring menus

Late spring in Maryland means it’s time for a lot of excitement on local menus.

At Towson Hot Bagel, Memorial Day weekend means it’s time for the return of Old Bay bagels. This summer, THB’s Everything Old Bay and Asiago Old Bay bagels are back on the menu. Plus, as in years past, THB will donate a portion of proceeds from the Old Bay bagels to the Maryland Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Over Memorial Day Weekend, Cinghiale’s menu will celebrate spring asparagus. The Harbor East restaurant is offering a special four-course menu showcasing the spring vegetable, with dishes like triangoli pasta filled with burrata and lemon and paired with asparagus, pistachios and mint.

Asparagus also makes an appearance on Little Donna’s menu. There, it’s paired with a blue corn crepe and baked with chili aioli.

The crew at The Corner Pantry celebrates strawberry season with treats like strawberry basil donuts.

At Thames St. Oyster House, crispy soft shells come with grilled corn salad with tarragon buttermilk and remoulade.

Seasonal flavors at The Oregon Grille take the form of a burrata salad featuring English peas, basil pea puree, radishes and wild ramps.

Soft shells are all over the menu at Sally O’s, where the kitchen even makes crab dip using them.

The Elkridge Furnace Inn has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appetizer on the menu: fried squash blossoms. The treat has a very short season and when it’s over, they won’t be available again until next year.

Planning for the future

Mark your calendars for:

June 9: Sour Fest at Max’s Taphouse

June 10: Wine & Food Festival at the Fairgrounds

July 23: Tacopalooza

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

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