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December 29, 2009

Top 10 Local Restaurant News Stories of the Decade



I can't think of another decade while I've been restaurant critic for the Sun in which so much happened on the local dining scene.

Unfortunately, much of news involved the unexpected demise of some very important restaurants. I could do a Top 10 just of closings. No, wait. I did that already.

Although closings dominated, a lot else was going on in the aughts. (And please don't tell me the decade ends next year. You can't call 2010 an aught. It's a teen.)

Anyway, here's my list of the most important local news stories where restaurants were concerned. You may not agree. If  not, please post your suggestions below.

Also, Editor Rebecca has made a photo gallery of the list, which you can check out here. ...

1) The number of restaurants that closed directly or indirectly because of the recession. Of course, the reasons were often more complicated that just a troubled economy, but it seemed to give many of the restaurants that were trying to hang on a final push. I'm thinking of the Brass Elephant, Ixia, Bicycle, Northwoods in Annapolis, to mention just a few.

2) Morris Martick retired in August of 2008, and for many Baltimoreans, it was the end of an era. While the economy may have been a factor, the closing of Martick's Restaurant Francais was an event that transcended the other closings of the decade.

3) The emergence of tapas and small plates as a way to eat in area restaurants. Tapas Teatro opened in 2001, followed by Red Maple in 2002, Iron Bridge Wine Company and Mezze in 2003, and Pazo in 2005. These days many of our restaurants offer tapas even if they aren't small plates places. And tapas restaurants continue to open. Witness La Tasca, Ranazul, Tapabar, Sam's Kid, Talara and Tapas Adela.

4) The dominance of Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman on the Baltimore restaurant scene. True, Charleston opened in December, 1997; but it wasn't until it was followed by Petit Louis, Pazo and Cinghiale in the 2000s that people began talking about the Wolf-Foreman dynasty.

5) The development of the Harbor East area as destination dining, with a range of restaurants including RA Sushi, Lebanese Taverna, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Roy's, Cinghiale, Charleston, Bagby Pizza Co. and several more.

6) National recognition for our chefs and restaurants. It started with Wolf being nominated for a James Beard Foundation award as best chef in the Mid-Atlantic in mid-decade. It continued with several local chefs appearing on the popular reality show Top Chef. We even had a finalist in Bryan Voltaggio of Volt in Frederick. Restaurants from the Prime Rib to Woodberry Kitchen have been on recent Best Lists in national magazines.

7) The appearance of socially conscious restaurants on the local dining scene. Some have done very well, like Woodberry Kitchen; some have struggled, like Dogwood. But those two led the way, and many restaurants followed to a greater or lesser degree -- even if they merely focused on organic ingredients, local sourcing or recycling. (And, yes, some local restaurants did all these things before this decade; we just didn't hear about it.)

8) The decline of Little Italy and crab houses as places locals frequent. Not to say we don't still go to both; but these eating places don't have the prominence in our dining lives that they used to, and they are often geared to the tourist trade.

9) The rise of the Lauraville/Hamilton neighborhood as a place to get very good food. It began with the Chameleon Cafe, which opened in 2001 but was something of an anomaly. It wasn't until later in this decade that we also got Hamilton Tavern, Clementine, Red Canoe, Parkside and Zeke's Coffee.

10) Although it started in the '90s, the increasing use of imported crab meat in restaurant crab cakes has become a major point of contention in this decade for those who love the Maryland blue crab.

(Kim Hairston/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:31 AM | | Comments (80)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


A very thoughtful list, EL--well done. I was especially struck by number 8--something I had not thought much about, but manifestly true.

As for number 4, let us not forget that before there was Charleston, there was Savannah from the Wolf-Foreman team.

In recognizing the rise of both Hamilton and Harbor East, I would say the counter was the continued decline of the Charles Street corridor with closings/slow downs for places like Hamptons and Harborplace downtown to Brass Elephant, Marconi's and Ixia in midtown.

What Dahlink said - a very interesting list!

Re: number 9 - it's been great living in a part of town that gets absolutely no tourist traffic and is so far removed from the Inner Harbor/Harbor East bloc but has become known for high quality dining. The eclectic nature of the places you mentioned gives us a pretty good variety of options within a few blocks of our house. The recent closure of Grind On aside, we've been able to sustain a pretty strong restaurant community despite the downturn. Here's hoping it continues (and continues to grow!) in the next decade!

"very good" food at Parkside?! Are we thinking of the same Parkside? That place has some of the worst food ever!

mj, yep, I'm assuming we're talking about the same Parkside. You know, the one that got three stars from Richard Gorelick ("The smoked trout appetizer is a keeper. ... the trout is luscious and arousing. ... Lunch is fine here all around ... much of which shows off Parkside's in-house smoking and roasting skills and attention to detail. We were very happy with the smoked turkey club; a roast beef sandwich with herbed horseradish Boursin and roasted shallots; and a goat-cheese-stuffed risotto cake served with sun-dried tomato preserves and mesclun. I was impressed with the choice of seasonal salads ..."). I think it's the same one mentioned in Top 10 Best Places to Get Sour Beef and Top 10 Restaurant Pig-Outs (for the pigwich, appropriately enough). And it gave us this lovely photo.

So yeah.

Nicely done, EL. You managed to filter a lot of odds & ends and a whole lot of conversation into very well-crafted list.

solved Natalie - Cleatus' mystery writer name?

Yes- thanks for the Greater Lauraville plug... it is very interesting to witness and I totally agree with the sentiment that this comes at the expense of some of our midtown eateries. SEAN- I was at Grind On yesterday and they will re-open Feb 1.

MJ - when did you last go there?

The opening months were awful, in terms of evenness, taste, and quality.

Once a few bumps were smoothed over and staff trained/replaced, it got better. Light years better.
I say this as a beer snob who was impressed by the beer list and made a vow to complete it, not for the food.

Now, say, if you were going for fine(r) dining in the area, go to Clementine of Chameleon. I'd also say go to HamTav, but you probably won't get a seat.

But, for a kid-friendly restaurant that also has a great beer list (or are the two complimentary?) and as neighborhood dining, it's a decent place!

Adam -
Do you know if they are they opening at the same place, or are they moving north like the rumor mill says?

And, if they move, will they change the name, since it was location-appropriate?

Also curious about Grind On. Greg told me he was moving up Harford Road to the area around Los Amigos / Hamilton Tavern.


I live in the Lauraville area and I am still amazed at the great commnets in regard to Clementine. I think it is just awful. I wanted to love it since I am a supporter of local businesses. The first time we went it was just disappointing. The kitchen over reaches it's capabilities. They want to be like the Chameleon but just don't have the chops. I finally convinced my husband to give it a second chance. We waited over an hour for our meal(brunch) no one offered us any bread or anything while we waited. When it arrived my husband 's meal was burnt. We love Chameleon, the Hamilton Tavern, and Grind On.

SB, sorry to hear you had bad experiences at Clementine! When is it that you went? I think they had some bumps at start-up, but they seem to have ironed them out, from what I can tell. We had a couple of rocky services there early on as well, but it's been a while since we've had anything but great experiences there. Plus, every time I've been there, it's been pretty much packed, even with the newly expanded dining area.

Actually, I had one of the best things I've ever had for brunch there - a chana masala scramble. Sadly, they have yet to add it to their regular menu, despite my repeated requests!

Well the first time we went was a little over a year ago. Our most recent disaster was just a month ago. I don't want to sound like a food snob but I think many people in Baltimore think mediocre food is good food. I just can't see paying the same price for food at Clementine as I would say at the Chameleon or Petit Louis.

Interesting list. And, besides for #8, most have little resonance for me. And, I think that #3 & #7 are national trends, so something that would happen in Maryland or Iowa...

Here's what I'll offer up as the biggest local restaurant news stories:

The explosion on Latin American places in Upper Fells/Highlandtown area. Of course, there have been Mexican & Salvadorean places there prior to 2000, but not to the same degree. Along with this, I also want to give a nod to Peruvian chicken, especially at Chicken Rico.

In the same vein, this decade saw the abundance of Korean places, especially in the Catonsville/Ellicott City area. Add Pho #1 in Westview Shopping Center, and Spicy Garden across from H-Mart, and we've got a nice little Asian food corridor going on.

Go a little farther west, and there's Grace Garden. While it's only really been on the "map" for about a year and a half, it has quickly become the yardstick by which all other area Chinese places are measured.

And, finally: The aughts were the decade that the Sip & Bite cleaned their walls!

I think those are important and good events, but they didn't really impact the general eating public. EL

The general eating public goes to Cindy Wolf-type restaurnats or Beard awarded/top chef restaurants? Really?

"I think those are important and good events, but they didn't really impact the general eating public. EL"

It's really disappointing to hear you say that, Elizabeth. And what's more, it's precisely that attitude by mainstream food critics that has kept great ethnic cuisine in the dark for so many for so long. Grace Garden, in particular, demonstrated that a little hole in the wall that makes great, authentic ethnic cuisine can be wildly successful from both a financial and critical standpoint. Don't think other places haven't taken notice. I guarantee you that there are far more people in Baltimore today who know and understand the real differences between Sichuan and Cantonese than there were two days ago, and you vastly underestimate how success stories like this can change a local food scene. Don't think other ethnic restaurants haven't noticed, and don't think a chunk of that "general eating public" won't sit up and take more notice the next time a place like it rolls along.

Ten years ago you could have called this food nerd idealism. But the reality is that there are cities all over the country that are mainstreaming this kind of authentic ethnic food... there are papers that are covering it with the same zeal as the big restaurateurs, and there are "general eating publics" that are learning as a result.

When you say something like that, you both sell Baltimore short, and inadvertently belittle yourself in the process.

You make very good points, but I wish I were as optimistic as you. I could be wrong, but I don't think a large number of Baltimoreans could tell you where Grace Garden is or could name two Latin American restaurants on Broadway. Even though these are restaurants that are being reviewed regularly in the Sun, I'm gathering from your post those reviews didn't make much of an impression on you. And if they didn't make an impression on you...what about people who aren't yet interested in them? I don't know of any way to decide which of us is right. All of these were simply my guesses as to what most Baltimoreans saw as the important food news stories of the decade. After all, when I asked for suggestions, no one mentioned these. EL

Er... not two days ago... two years ago...

(proofreading, proofreading)

i believe that i began my trek toward foodiedom when i had lobster bouillabaisse at martick's with my father when i was 12. maybe it was the wine.

Mike, are you asking if the general eating public goes to Cinghiale, Pazo, etc? Because yes, yes we/they do.

Well, sean, we took our sons to Cinghiale last night for dinner (and not coincidentally their Tuesday 50% off wine special in the Enoteca). It is possible to eat a very fine meal there without spending a fortune. Our West Coast foodie son said it was the best food he had eaten in Baltimore, and I couldn't argue with that. What was most impressive was that the sommelier remembered my husband from a business visit about a month ago AND remembered what wine he had selected (this from a very long list!) Tony Foreman himself poured for us. We will be returning for other special occasions.

Funny, but not that long ago, everybody was touting the dominance of the Gjerde brothers (not Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman) on the Baltimore restaurant scene. If I recall, their empire included (at its peak) Spike & Charlie's, Atlantic, jr.'s, and Joy America, all since gone. Even the brothers have gone their separate ways -- Spike to Woodberry Kitchen, and Charlie to Alexander's Tavern. It might be interesting to consider why the Gjerde empire declined even as the Wolf-Foreman empire continued to prosper.

Dahlink, if they're still doing it, I heartily recommend the Sunday Supper special at Cinghiale. $25 for a set menu (all-you-can-eat antipasti), choice of a couple entrees, and dessert. We went in the last couple weeks of the wife's pregnancy and had a great meal. We'll be getting a sitter and going back at some point in the future...

What impressed me about the Sun's coverage of Grace Garden, Elizabeth, was that despite being tipped off two months earlier, the Sun was scooped and lagged six months behind the City Paper and the Washington Post(!). By the time the Sun got to it, it was months-old news (happy as I was to see it covered).

But addressing the original point, you're right that short of hiring a polling firm, we're not going to know how many Baltimoreans are aware of Grace Garden as opposed to, say, Clementine. But if what you're talking about is stories with real IMPACT on a local food scene, to blithely dismiss the explosion of certain ethnic neighborhoods and the wild success of a strip mall dive because it serves a brand of authenic cuisine that people obviously felt was sorely lacking in Baltimore... well, I think it's remarkably shortsighted and only serves to reinforce the notion -- one I've tried to refute since my time there -- that Baltimore is a bland eating town. If you really feel that the chain restaurants of Harbor East (some of which are perfectly delicious!) mean more to Baltimore's food scene than the number of authentic ethnic restaurants that are suddenly seeing the light of day, that says a lot -- and not in a good way -- about either the city of Baltimore or it's food press. Take your pick.

I hope I didn't blithely dismiss these restaurants. I believe I said these were good and important developments in answer to BaltoEllen. I think I should have talked about the rise of neighborhoods with interesting restaurants in a more general way in my list. This blog and these lists are a community effort, and one way to get more press for the restaurants you feel are being neglected by the Sun is to talk about them here. I usually ask for suggestions in advance for Top 10, as I did for this one; and you both make compelling arguments for your case. EL

I love the Red Canoe, Hamilton Tavern, Grind On, and Chameleon Cafe, and I've been overjoyed by their arrival in our neighborhood.

Clementine's taco night and their brunch are excellent, but their regular dinner menu has left us frustrated. The vegetarian options are overpriced, lack flavor, and seem to suggest that vegetarians don't need protein.

The meat dishes my partner has had fare better.

I guess part of the issue regarding "which of us is correct" as you said after Dominic's post, is who, exactly, constitutes the "general eating public." Do I count? Does Mike? Does Dominic Armato? Is it the regular readers of/posters to your blog? I think that understanding your definition of "public" would go a long way to understanding your list.

When I'm waiting in line at Chicken Rico in Highlandtown, I see a cross-section of folks--in terms of economic status and ethnicity--that I doubt exists at Wolf-Foreman restaurants, and certainly was never present at Martick's. (Speaking of which, I think you could poll people and ask them where Martick's--which I miss--was, and get the same blank stares that you say people would give you when asking them to name two restaurants on Upper B'dwy or the location of Grace Garden.)

I think it's fantastic that our area can support Chicken Rico & Cinghiale. It would be even more fantastic if contributions of small, new, ethnic restaurants garnered the same enthusiasm from critics as the ones that are out of reach for the majority of the "public"

I think you're right. I made a mistake using the term "general eating public" because if I were really writing about what interested them, there would have been more about chain restaurants on the list. To answer your question specifically, all of you count, but because you don't usually post here, we don't often hear your opinions, which seem to me very valid ones. EL

I'm very happy the revitalization of the Hamilton/Lauraville area is included in EL's top stories of the decade! As much as it seems like The Chameleon has been open since the mid-90's, we opened the restaurant in 2001.

Thanks, and sorry for the mistake. I'll correct it. EL

I don't know if there is a general eating public in Baltimore (or anywhere).Yeah, there are a variety of people in that line at Chicken Rico, but they are very different than the variety of people I see eating at Lexington Market on a Saturday lunch (when there is usually excellent free music) or the folks I see at the B&O Brasserie (not so varied) or at DiPasquale's (also not so varied).

Then there is yet another kind of eating public who'll go to Grace Gardens, Lexington Market, Chicken Rico and Cinghiale's in the same week or month, happily. Some of those folks hang out here, some don't. I don't think that was the group Elizabeth was writing to, but, hey, I'm not her.

We had dinner at Clementine last Wednesday, and it was pretty good. The crab soup had very fresh vegetables in it and the broth was just spicy enough, not too salty or overloaded with Old Bay.
I had the teres major and it was very good; my girlfriend had the stuffed quail and liked it a lot.

In closing news: today is the last day for Du Claw Fells Point.

Not a huge loss, but I'm curious to know what will take its place. Anyone know?th

Funny, I was just calling when you posted this, but I was told the managers couldn't talk to me until after 2 p.m.EL

The food at Du Claw in Fells Point was always dry, overcooked, and just plain horrible. The only positive is their is awesome during spring and summer months. The location is great too. I hope whoever takes it over does something great with it!

EL -- sorry to post before your call! I hope you find out something from them.

I work in the same building as DuClaw and the rumor mill has been spinning that none of the staff was informed about the closing. The current story is that a former server heard about the closing elsewhere and notified the staff.

Could the Sun run a piece on the wait staff from this year's closing: ask when they were informed, how they handled the news and where they are now?

BaltBabs -- the patio is the only think to miss about that place. The food wasn't well prepared. Really, how do you screw up salad? And the service, especially at the bar, was some of the worst I ever encountered.

Hey, I appreciate tips! EL

sean, yes, Cinghiale does still offer the fixed price Sunday Supper, which we have enjoyed. You can sign up for regular updates and get the exact menu in your inbox every weekend.

There is also a three-course prix fixe option any night of the week (with or without paired wines). Check out the bottom of the menu for particulars.

We go to Sunday Supper at Cinghiale once or twice a month. If, like me, you don't know Italian wines, consider asking for Joey, who appears to be the manager on Sundays. He really knows the (long) wine list well, and has made some very good recommendations for us.

The staff there have good memories, and it only takes two or three visits before you're greeted like long-lost family.

Captcha: it's strained (Cleatus' baby-food name)

You did say they were important and good events, and I shouldn't gloss over that. And I realize when you do something like this for a big paper, you're under fire no matter what you write. And I realize it's easy for me to throw stones when I can write whatever I want on the web without an editor looking over my shoulder.

But please understand how what you wrote in response to Ellen's first comment -- whether it reflects how you feel or not -- sounds an awful lot like a polite way of singing the old "normal people just aren't interested in that kind of food" refrain. And while it's easy to fall back on the old "does the media reflect popular culture or guide it" question, when it comes to this subject, at least, the answer is staring us in the face. People can't get excited about food they don't know exists. For decades, that's been the refrain -- Americans aren't interested in the real thing. But along comes the internet, for the first time people can actually *get* information about the real thing and -- surprise! -- turns out they're interested after all.

I don't live in Baltimore anymore (which is why I didn't catch it when you pinged the crowd prior to writing the piece), but I spent two great years there and it was thrilling to watch the explosion in interest just over that short time. Tradmed has been underestimating the American diner for quite a while now and I guess what I'm saying is, please, don't fall into the same trap, because I think a good diner/media positive feedback loop when it comes to these types of places could work wonders for Baltimore right now. I think your fair city is ready to be more excited about its Grace Gardens than about the honor of becoming one of 33 lucky cities to host Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine.

I think I'm also starting to repeat myself. Probably time to move on.

As I said above, I was wrong to say that. And I ask in turn you not stereotype the Sun's reviewers. Dominicano, for instance, got a more positive review than Roy's did in the Sun. EL

Hey, Hal, maybe we should schedule a Sunday Supper meet-up in the coming year!

Captcha: litchis not (wonder what Cleatus would do with that? Hold the litchis, please.)

Let's schedule a D@L Sunday Supper at Cinghiale one month from today, which is Sunday, January 31st.

I think that gives us enough time for people to adjust their schedules. The 31st is also the week before the Superbowl, which is always a slow week.

The only concern I have is that restaurant week(s) is between Jan 22 and Feb 7, so we might have to make a reservation to make sure we can get a table.

RoCK--sounds good to me. I would be glad to make the reservation if people will let me know how many to expect and what time works best for everyone.

Here's to a happy 2010, everyone!

Can do, RoCK. I'll even show this time, because I know you'll protect me from all those scary strangers.

What time? Yes, reservations are probably a good idea.

Hmmmm... that sounds like fun!

sean, start lining up a babysitter for Hennessy now!

Lissa, I'm not scary. You can ask RoCK.

And I just got a blast from the past from Robert the Single One, of dear memory. I always make charitable contributions the last day of the year, and in the pile there was a personal note about the contribution I made in RtSO's memory this spring. I wasn't expecting that. One of his coworkers wrote that they miss him very much, as do many of us here.

Dahlink, we can talk about the recent changes in OCLC TB 257. I'm really very excited about the new 542 tag, although it is going to be a real drag to implement.

Or I can just hide in the corner.

I'm actually more excited about the update to QRYM PB 732. I think the implications for the Zy7-42 protocol are promising, although I'm concerned about Tyrulean protocols in the XY spectrum. Hopefully, the Q-spectrum analysis, as discussed in Mark Repard's Theories of implementation in the 734.agn context will alleviate some of that.

Or... what?

Babysitter? Nah, I'll just let Lissa hold her.

I mean, look at how cute!

Hey, if Sean gets to bring his child, Lissa can bring her dog (at least it will be leashed!). Does Cinghiale offer crabcakes?

She's very expressive, sean, but I'd like to see the look on Lissa's face if you hand her off to her.

Lissa, we can talk tags as much as you like, but I might have to bring along a cheat sheet. RDA, anyone? (Anyone???)

Excellent Captcha: itchy Major.

*highfives sean* Good one, bro!

I have recipes for the child. I've eaten cuter things. I mean, have you ever really looked at an uni?

Trixie, I fear Conan can't walk that far. He's getting pretty frail. Poor boy will be 18 in a few months. I look forward to taking him down to City Hall to register to vote.


Trixie, I hope you're not implying that I let my kid off-leash in public!

Lissa, I have a baby sling you can borrow for Conan.

Sorry, Dahlink, I impressed on AACR2 at college, and I'm leery of this newfangled RDA stuff. I think it is just a bit too giddy to be usable in the Real World.

sean, that is so sweet of you, but carrying 40 pounds of chow around, even in a sling, is tiring.

Although, I wonder...if I put him in a baby sling, can I convince restaurants he is just a hairy Viking child?

Lissa, I am hoping the cataloging world decides to ignore RDA or (more likely) reject it as too expensive to implement at this time. I am still waiting to see some good examples of RDA applied to actual records. And then there's the new BIBCO standard and how will that relate to RDA? Oh, excuse me--people are snoring!

I feel you, Dahlink. Nice theory, but reality is not congruent.

I think we put them to sleep long ago. I don't know why people just don't adore the elegance of cataloging.

You can tell me all about BIBCO. I'm not at all familiar with it. Still trying to recover from FRBR.

You can probably safely ignore BIBCO for now, Lissa, as Library of Congress is doing for the time being ... but we can discuss encoding levels until they turn off the lights and kick us out.

Dahlink, I think we're scaring everyone away with this glimpse of the Real Life of Library Staff.

I can talk about things besides machine readable cataloging. Um...yeah...eally...erm...I'll bring my e-reader if you bring yours.

"Real Life of Library Staff", now that's a reality show I would watch!!

Trixie, you might be an audience of one!

Um, Lissa, I'm still wedded to print, although many of my coworkers do have e-readers.

I'm like Batman.
I only appear when I'm really, really needed.

Continued Volcano (yes, indeed.)

So enjoyed the cataloging debate :) Never thought I would ever read something like that and understand what people are talking about! That's what an LIS degree can do for you! I'm a "regular reader, lazy poster" can I still get in on the Cinghiale dinner?

captcha: horace since
mmmmm...anyone? Actually I've been posting without entering to see if they give me a more interesting phrase. Nothing beats the "neglect treadmill" I got earlier.

Bubbles, see you on the 31st!

Loved your previous Captcha btw--perfect for a January post! Mine is could quirking.
Could indeed.

There are no rules about how many times you have to post before joining in offline, Bubbles. Come, and we'll discuss authorized headings or something.

And, I don't have an MLS.

Is there a "supper club" dinner time for the 31st?

I'm super excited (Lord, I hope that doesn't sound creepy!)

of witched: Cleatus's halloween choice? (Im still new to this, so points for effort?)

We don't have a time or a count yet, Bubbles. Time to start twisting arms.

RoCK, if you are busy, I can make the reservation.

Lissa, I already volunteered to make the reservation. I just need to know how many and what time. Since it's Sunday Supper, how does 6:30 work for everyone? Too early? Too late?

EL, could we have a separate post so people could respond to give us a count?
Pretty please?

Ah, sorry, Dahlink. Didn't mean to step on your Birkies. 6:30 works great for me.

No problem, Lissa. You want to make sure no one leaves without paying their share?

I saw a subject heading today you might appreciate: "Roadkill /v Fiction"

Dahlink, I always make sure the bill and tip are covered before I leave. I used to wait tables for a living.

My favourite subject heading was Automobiles - pregnancy.

Good one, Lissa!

I waited tables, too, but that was in my college dining hall, so no tips or direct payments were involved.

d'Entressen fluidly: Cleatus's French tutor name

Um, can I invite myself to supper club too? As a long-time lurker, I feel like I know you all.

pintos offered - Cleatus' Used-Car Salesman name

Don't see why not, Matt. Only takes one post to stop lurking.

I think for a sunday supper the earlier the better. 6:30 is ok, but we shouldn't go any later.

RoCK, shall we ask EL to create a poll on the time?

I agree with RoCK. No latter than 6:30, but earlier is better for me.

The restaurant opens at 5:30, but it's always awkward to be the first at the party.

How about 6 pm? That leaves enough time for a leisurely dinner without making people feel like they are getting home too late on a work night.

6 works for me.

The Enoteca (the bar) opens at 5:00, but they theoretically don't serve food until 5:30. We generally go there at 5:30 (but we're old, and should be in Florida doing early-bird specials), but 6:00 would work very nicely.

Okay, I think we have a consensus that 6 p.m. is a good time. Now we need a head count. I will ask EL to make a separate post for that (please, EL?)

Stop with the old, Hal! You are making me feel like I should be cataloging my aches and pains and dusting off my funeral plans.

Re: No. 9 on the list:

Zeke's coffee is moving their retail spot to the former Grind On location (4607 Harford Road). Apparently they will prepared coffee & muffins as well as their beans, etc.

Not sure when this will happen, and still no word on if/when Grind On will reopen.

The owner, Thomas Rhodes, told me it's not going to be a coffee shop, and he's hoping for next month. EL

Ah, I misread a quote. From Baltimore magazine:

"Zeke’s is moving its retail operation into the old Grind-On spot (4607 Harford Rd.) in Lauraville in early February. Ryan Schmidt, general manager of production at Zeke’s, said the new place will be a “coffee lab” as opposed to a coffee shop.

Customers will be able to buy beans and sample coffee. For instance, organic Sumatra will be available on a regular basis. But the shop will also brew other kinds of coffee for people to taste. It won’t be a place for people to hang out and have muffins, Ryan said."

So there ya go.

try the glass grill on eastern ave. good food great bar and nice glass work.

Very sad to report that the Parkside has closed today for good.

I heard that earlier today, but have not been able to reach anyone there as yet. I'll let you know when I hear more. LV

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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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