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August 6, 2009

Two more restaurant closings

DogwoodDinner.jpgI'm not saying these are both permanent. But it's not good news in any case.

Zagat local editor Marty Katz told me about a sign on the door of Dogwood in Hampden saying it would be closed for the month of August. It was vague about the reopening date.

The phone message when I called was even more disturbing: "We hope to reopen the week after Labor Day. Thank you for all your support. Sorry for any inconvenience....Peace."

I e-mailed the owners and got this back from Bridget Sampson: ...

Given the quietness of the month of August, we have decided to take the remainder of the month to reorganize the business into a leaner and stronger one and will be in touch about a re-opening date; we are hoping for September. Plates [its nonprofit culinary training program, cafe and catering] will continue to operate at the Woman's Industrial Exchange with increased selections in September.

I'm really unhappy about this. Owner Galen Sampson is a wonderful cook, and Dogwood was a lovely, socially conscious restaurant.

Then LGood e-mailed me just now with the news that oZ. Chophouse in Maple Lawn will be closing Saturday. Jordan's Steakhouse in Ellicott City is taking it over. I confirmed the ownership change and have a message in asking Jordan Naftal to give me a call with more details, but I haven't heard back from him yet.

When I called oZ., I said to the person who answered the phone, "I heard you'll be closing this Saturday."

She said, "We're going till our food runs out, and that puts us at Saturday."

Oh.

(Kenneth K. Lam/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 3:58 PM | | Comments (30)
        

Comments

So now we know what happens when you put rocks in the sink.

I hope Dogwood can come back. I've had some wonderful meals there, and I admire how they run their business from supporting local farms to giving people a second chance.

Christian DeLutis left Dogwood and taking over at Alizee according to In Good Taste

Yes, I've written about it here or in Table Talk and linked to it here, I can't remember which. EL

I'm shocked that Dogwood is closing and saying it's because it is slow. If that's the case then they really must count on having all the tables filled. My husband and I were just there on Tuesday night and commenting on how busy it was in there for a Tuesday night during the summer. I certainly do hope they come back. The food is good, I love their mission, and most importantly it's right outside my back door.

I thought rocks in the sink would help Oz stave off the deadly 3 1/2-star rating.

We are shocked too about the Dogwood, esp since we were just there on Saturday. The food was excellent, service great and we thought that it was packed. I hope that it does re-open at the end of August.

oZ Headline should read, " Another restaurant closes because of the over-pricing by vendors "

I too am upset at the Dogwood's closing. A friend and I tried to have lunch there a couple of weeks ago, and at that time the sign on the door said it was open only for dinner. I do hope it reopens in September. The food is excellent.

I hate to say it, because I really like Mini-Dogwood (I'm sorry, Plates is an idiotic name, and they waffled on a name so long I had to make up my own), but it needs some attention. They tend to run out of items quickly (especially the mango chicken salad) and that isn't good on a very limited menu. I also think the lemon tuna salad needs a touch of Moroccan lemon pickle or something, so that I can taste the lemon. The service can be really uneven, and sometimes downright confused.

But, it is a lovely place to have a lunch, especially if you can linger a bit. The cookbooks up on the shelves call to me (dang, they've got some great, out of print classics). My co-workers love that you can get half sandwiches.

A little attention to detail, and Mini-Dogwood would be irresistable.

I can't believe Dogwood is closing. Every time I go it is busy (though I've only once needed a reservation, I guess). The food is absolutely delicious. Hopefully they'll come back in September.

Maybe this was mentioned previously - Olive and Sesame in Towson, on Pennsylvania Avenue is closed or as the sign in the window says "Not in Service."

It also looks like The Blue Grotto on Chesapeake Avenue in Towson is closed. I was across the street and noticed paper covering all the windows from the inside.

As much as I want to believe in Dogwood because of their mission, I've seen the quality start on a slow and steady decline through a handful of meals over the last year or so. Hopefully they regroup and firm up the foundational aspects of their business that allow them the opportunity to be successful with what they are trying to accomplish socially.

My wife was just asking me why Dogwood wasn't participating in Restaurant Week. I guess now we know why. You'd think that if they were it would give a nice boost to business for at least 10 days in August as well as cultivate new customers.

If I'm not mistaken, Dogwood took a long hiatus last summer at this time. August is so dead for restaurants, it's really the only time owners and chefs can take vacation.

As for Chef DeLutis, he never stays anywhere very long, and restaurant owners know that going in. It's a risk well worth taking on their part.

Blue Grotto closed several weeks ago, yet I notice they still have gift certificates for sale on restaurant.com. Not cool!

I have it on very good authority that it is a money problem at Dogwood. I wouldn't hold my breath on it re-opening.

i'm with greg s. this chef seems to skip around a lot.

sounds a lot like some other ego-driven chefs here in bmore. can u say joshua hill?

Baltimoregal "has it on good authority" bcuz she used to work there...isn't that true, 'gal? aka a.s.

Cool name, chickencookie

We made our reservation for Dogwood on Tuesday, August 4 for Saturday, August 8 for our first anniversary. Spoke to a person when making the reservation and they even took down our cell number. Showed up for dinner to find a locked door and the sign. We got NO word they were actually closing. Loved the restaurant before, but will never go back, There is no excuse for this lack of common courtesy and basic service.

Not again. I was shocked when Bicycle did that, but Dogwood?

I guess socially conscious doesn't necessarily mean "uses basic courtesy."

Well, the silver lining is that such behavior does drive people to this blog. It was a similar incident on my birthday two years ago that led me to email EL and she suggested "Why don't you post on my new blog?" The rest is history ...

Glad you did. :-) EL

EL -- When you say Jordan's is taking over Oz, does that mean that they're expanding to a second restaurant or moving from Ellicott City?

They are opening a new restaurant with the owner of Ranazul. I go into more detail in this Wednesday's Table Talk, which I'll link to. EL

I'm very sad about the possible or likely closing of Dogwood. The owners are such fine people. Their interest in the Hampden community and training and employing people who served prison sentences shows that they have caring hearts. The food was so very, very good. I can't help thinking that the huge success of nearby Woodberry Kitchen really worked against Dogwood. Dogwood's locial farm-to-table approach preceeded Woodberry.

No, chickencookie, I don't work in the Restaurant industry. But thanks for playing!

Seems Dogwood may actually re-open. At least according to Baltimore Magazine: http://www.baltimoremagazine.net/ingoodtaste/index.php/2009/08/what-we-know-about-dogwood/

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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