I suffer from something I like to call season envy. All winter long, I fantasize about the scent of Coppertone, and just as summer arrives, the thought of a cozy fire becomes appealing. Some people might just call this “general discontent,” but that is for my therapist to work out.
Anyway, it’s hot and muggy here in Baltimore (surprise!), and while most of you are enjoying all that summer offers, I am daydreaming about cooler months ahead: a chill in the air, the smell of burning leaves; I’m wearing new boots, bundling up, and heading out for dinner. Where, you ask? Well, the following yet-to-open restaurants are potential candidates.
Up first: Earth Wood & Fire whose website reads “coal fired pizza and cuisine coming to Baltimore this fall.” Simple enough. Located at the corner of Falls and Clarkview Roads (next to Falls Road Animal Hospital), this new spot looks like it’s going to be much more than a pizza parlor. Its party-vibe Facebook page tells of a buddy-story-turned-business-venture adventure. “Meet the men behind Earth Wood & Fire, Carter Mason, Mark Hofmann, Greg Gunning and John Toomey. They met over a decade ago, on Water St. at happy hour… Over the years they’ve shared a love of food, fun, and good pizza. The opening of Earth Wood & Fire is a dream come true for each of them!” (Can’t you just see them, totally buzzed, drawing out the logo on the back of a napkin?) Their vision appears to be coming along nicely: Mega money likely spent on construction, the new space looks huge! I predict a big bar scene mixed with a fun and lively restaurant space. A younger, more casual Tark’s? If the food delivers, this could be a real winner.
Next, a stab at the family-friendly market. The Baltimore restaurant powerhouse team Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf are at it again in Roland Park. They are opening their yet-to-be-named eatery in the space that was formerly the Roland Park Deli (around the corner and downstairs from their own Petit Louis). Here, Foreman and Wolf are getting back to their roots with an American menu and wine list. The press release describes the vision for the interior as “lively and bright with several windows and vaulted ceilings,” and “highlighting historic and architectural elements.” I picture a less beachy Coast at Shutter’s. As for “family restaurant” requirements, the layout certainly looks offspring-friendly, as does the promise of accessible pricing (lower than Petit Louis). There’s most certainly a gap in the local market for a well-done place that welcomes kids. Tony & Cindy seemed poised to capitalize on this. My daughter will have the penne pasta with butter, please! The owners expect the as-yet-unnamed restaurant won’t open until the end of the year.
Does anyone know what is going on at the Valley Inn? We were all thrilled with the news that the venerable Teddy Bauer (of Oregon Grille and Mt. Washington Tavern fame and, oh yeah, he’s also famous for being an All-American lacrosse player) was taking over. Didn’t we all have visions of the faded lady rising like a phoenix from the ashes in his capable hands (or was that just me)? There was the much reported transfer and expansion of the liquor license to Mr. Bauer in December. Since then, witness a whole heap of…nothing. Just Ye Olde Valley Inn. No teams of drywall installers, no kitchen equipment deliveries, no patios being laid (a personal wish). Therefore, the rumors swirl. Are there zoning issues? Building issues? Problems negotiating final details with the original owners? We’ve heard all three. A call to the restaurant provided no answers just a nervous evasiveness. Despite all that, we heard today that the deal is set to close this week. But for now, we can still enjoy Veal Oscar under the glow of a five-watt bulb. Let’s pray that changes soon, although an expectation of a fall opening is really dreaming.
We would be remiss to leave out the three new restaurants slated for the Four Seasons Hotel. Michael Mina, a celebrity chef with restaurants in Las Vegas, L.A. and San Francisco, among other cities, will oversee the main restaurant, Wit and Wisdom, a contemporary tavern serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Another restaurant, La Mill, a coffee shop, will serve breakfast and lunch. And Pabu, a dinner-only restaurant, will feature fine Japanese cuisine.
Doesn’t piping hot miso hit the spot when you’re chilled to the bone? And wearing adorable toffee-shade knee-high boots. Let a sweating reporter daydream.
Do you have the inside skinny on any new restaurants opening this fall? Let us know in the comments.