Less than a year after opening his popular artisan pizza joint Birroteca, Robbin Haas is ready to tackle his next restaurant venture in Mount Washington.
The Nickel Taphouse will open Nov. 20 in the former Blue Sage Café and Wine Bar space at 1604 Kelly Ave.
The 100-seat restaurant will serve grilled oysters, mussels, burgers and roast beef served on kimmelweck rolls, topped with sea salt and caraway seeds. The sandwich is a specialty in Haas’ native Buffalo, N.Y. The restaurant will also serve 32 craft beers on draft and about 50 wines. Menu items will cost between $5 and $19.
Courtesy Bmore Media – With its nearly $2 million renovation in its final stages, the owner of Ryleigh’s Oyster House hopes to open his new 300-seat restaurant in Timonium Nov. 8.
The 10,000-square-foot location at 22 W. Padonia Road has a 2,000-square-foot rooftop herb garden available for private dining, and a patio.
“There was never any curb appeal,” Ryleigh’s Owner Brian McComas says of the former Gibby’s Seafood spot. “So we definitely made it ‘shore house chic’ and rebuilt the whole front section of the building.”
We may be famous for our crabs, but the truth is, Maryland’s got plenty more to offer in the seafood department. In the words of H.L. Mencken, “Baltimore lay very near the immense protein factory of Chesapeake Bay, and out of the bay it ate divinely.” And we still do. Oysters actually became huge business around these parts a couple of centuries ago when we realized that this was a seafood delicacy that could be canned and shipped inland. So yeah, we may have kept the crabs for ourselves, but elsewhere they loved our oysters. This weekend, you can show your own oyster-appreciation at Oysterfest down in Federal Hill.
A gorgeous summer Baltimore night. Bubbles from Cali. Sounds perfect, no?
Yes. Perfect. As I sat along the water in Fell’s Point on quite possibly the most beautiful night of the entire summer (it was not raining!) on the terrace at the absolutely gorgeous Waterfront Kitchen, I knew I was in for a treat. The dinner, “Bubbles & BBQ,” was co-hosted by Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen and Hugh Davies of Napa Valley’s Schramsberg Vineyards. Honestly, I sometimes go to dinners like this and wonder how I got so lucky.
While I could see it was going to a fabulous night of food and wine, it was also a very casual, approachable dinner. (HooRAY, she says!) It was served family style at two long communal tables, so as food came off the grill, it was placed on the table and passed. LOVE. This allows you to meet fellow diners, get comfortable and just have fun. Relax…
And…some guests paid a little extra for the opportunity to be prep cooks: chopping, grilling and more. (I want to do that next time!) Before dinner, they passed simple hors d’oeuvres, as well as oysters right off the grill that were shucked, downed and tossed into the water. That was a lot of fun….everyone just flinging oyster shells off the pier.
That’s me. Taking it all in.
I’ve never been one for fancy restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I love great food and service but I can do without the formality. I suppose I’m more of a Peter’s Inn or Corner BYOB kind of girl. So, this was my first time at Wit & Wisdom and I wondered…what would a girl from a tiny town with two traffic lights who now lives in the land of hipsters and pink flamingos identify with there? I figured that out pretty quickly when I visited for dinner a few weeks ago. It was pretty eye-opening actually.
Courtesy Bmore Media – When Ryleigh’s Oyster first opened more than five years ago, the raw bar in Baltimore’s Federal Hill shucked about 500 oysters per week for its most adventurous eaters.
Today, with the oyster’s briny and Chesapeake Bay-friendly reputation luring more patrons to the bar, the place can breeze through as many as 5,000 of the bivalves in a week, Executive Chef Patrick Morrow says. More and more of those oysters are harvested from Baltimore’s backyard bay, thanks to a growing number of local oyster farms.
It’s easy to want to preserve populations of cute endangered species, but what about ugly animals? What about ugly animals that scare you?
Populations of large sharks off the East Coast have been reduced by 90 percent from their stable, historic numbers. And this is a bad thing. For one, the predator’s precipitous decline fueled a steep increase in the number of cownose rays in the Chesapeake that wreaked havoc on our oysters.
Now, if it were up to me, we’d start hunting and eating cownose rays to keep the populations level, but some lawmakers in Annapolis think they know better. They’ve proposed a bill targeting the shark fin trade specifically, joining four other states in banning the trade of the delicacy. Each year, somewhere between 26 million and 73 million sharks are killed for their fins worldwide. But, as you might expect, Maryland accounts for an awfully small percentage of the fin market.
Opponents of the shark-protection bill include restaurateurs, grocers, fishermen, and — I’m assuming — people who watched Jaws too young and still get nightmares. Even our secretary of natural resources, John R. Griffin, has come out against the bill, on the grounds that it will unnecessarily inhibit our local commercial fishermen, since they would be catching sharks whole, but be restricted from selling the fins.
On the other side, proponents of the measure are hopeful that reducing demand for the product, will be an effective way of reducing shark mortality worldwide.
A new study of the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population revealed that there are currently only three oysters for every thousand that once populated the bay before their commercial fishing began in earnest in the 19th century.
According to an article in The Sun, several reefs have already been declared oyster sanctuaries, but the scientists who conducted the study are calling for an outright ban on oyster harvesting throughout the entire bay.
Overfishing isn’t the only culprit in the animal’s dwindling population. Two different diseases have been plaguing oysters in the bay since the 1980s. Watermen, who harvest the oysters, blame the diseases primarily for the low numbers, and consider the protected reefs as a suitable measure.
But are we okay with driving oysters to extinction everywhere but those sanctuaries? Baltimore’s identity cannot be separated from the ecological reality of the Chesapeake Bay. Oysters and blue crabs are more than a convenient Baltimore mascot (like Mr. Boh or the Utz girl), they are integral to our cultural history, and important partners in our eco-system.
If left to its own devices, nature usually does a good job of recovering, even after catastrophe (check the mutated but thriving animal populations living in the Chernobyl blast zone). Maybe we ought to cease harvesting oysters for a few years and see what happens.