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January 13, 2010

Friends to go, Sticky Rice to arrive?

NoodlesCompany.jpgMidnight Sun Sam reports that Friends in Fells Point may be closing, and one possible buyer might be the Richmond-based Sticky Rice. It's a little strange, offering tater tots as well as pot stickers, but people seem to love it.

In other eclectic Asian chain news, Noodles & Company has signed a lease to open a location in Harborplace, on the first floor of the Light Street Pavilion next to Urban Outfitters. It's the first one in the city. The opening date is set for spring.

(Chiaki Kawajiri/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:54 PM | | Comments (30)
        

Comments

I hope Harborplace isn't so ruined that Noodles & Co. can't make it there. They are the perfect place for a quick cheap meal. Even a healthy quick cheap meal if you so desire! My all time favorite of the "fast food emporiums".

Here come the chains. People, you know what happens when you don't go to small businesses? They close. I made it a point to go to Friends at least twice a month and get food, even if it was to go. If you want to keep our downtown distinct, we HAVE to go to locally owned places. Otherwise, this happens; and it all turns into some ungodly applebees/ TGIF's inedible monolith of subpar un-imaginative gunk.

captcha: twilight backwater At least you can tell what you're eating there and know the chef who cooked it.

It would make more sense for them to take over the DuClaw's space. Friend's seems like a bad fit.

Meekrat, is there a non-chain restaurant in Harborplace?

Lissa, i have no idea.. haven't been to Harbor Place in over five years. I'm a bad suburban dweller.

Owings Mills Mall is so bad that even McDonalds closed there! You know you suck if you can't even keep a McDonald's opened!

If you go to Horribleplace you can travel back to 1986 and go to California Pizza Kitchen. Mmm.. sun dried tomatoes. I tried to convince someone to go to a real restaurant instead of there once. He said, "Your shirt is ugly." My shirt cried.

Very excited to hear about Sticky Rice- I hope it's true- my friend lives in Richmond and is obsessed with that place. Keep us posted!

p.s. Not shilling- I should have thought twice before using the exclamation point. Sorry.

Kristen, one exclaimation point is permissible. When you start using 6 or 8, that is when we get out the wet noodles.

Meekrat, I do go there (I can't resist the train wreck crab kitsch, and that is the only 5 Guys in the city now), but I don't remember seeing anything non-chain.

Now, of course, one can walk a couple blocks to Little Italy or up to B&O Brasserie, but in Harborplace proper, I think it is suburban clone chain hell.

I have to heartily agree.. the santa shack (as i read in our fair paper) from this past christmas sealed it.. Anytime Santa shows up where there's shopping...

I agree about Santa, Meekrat, but when I was a child, the *real* Santa was at the downtown (Detroit) Hudson's (our major local department store, gone now, absorbed in to Macy's, I think). This was a skyscraper with chandeliers, elevators with elevator attendants, a classical music department to die for and the only international food department I was aware of.

Every year, they blocked off an entire floor for Santa and for the children's shopping area. Adults were not allowed in the children's shopping area except for the grandmotherly saleswomen that staffed it. It had low tables filled with potential gifts.

You were given an envelope with relatives printed on the outside. Your parent would check off who you were to buy for, give rough dollar amounts and put cash, a check or a credit card in the envelope, which got pinned to your shirt.

This was all amazingly awesome. When you are 4 and 5 years old, you simply can't buy anything for your parents in privacy, yet we could, at Hudson's. It was marvellously grown up.

Parents loved it because they could sit down in the waiting area and get a break.

Harborplace could never possibly be that cool, even without all the chains.

Funny that people complain about Sticky Rice being another chain coming to Baltimore. It is the furthest thing from a chain, started in Richmond and the DC one opened like a year ago- awesome fit and will kill in Fells Point. If all these people who complained about Friends leaving, actually went there- they wouldnt be leaving!

Lissa, when Harborplace first opened many years ago it had non-chain restaurants. Those days are long gone.

Jt, how is Sticky Rice the "furthest thing from a chain" if there are a bunch of them? Isn't that the definition of a chain?

wallop manufacturers

Lissa,
There is a 5 Guys at Conklin and Boston Sts.

True, RayRay, and that is actually the last one I ate in. I forget about it because, while that is closer to my house than Harborplace, it is more difficult to get to. Plus I hang around downtown a lot more than I hang around Brewer's Hill.

I think Fells Pt has enough bars and Kali/Mezze/etc restaurants that it could use a different food option, whether it be one of a kind or one of, God forbid, three regional.

I also like the idea of eating tator tots with chopstix... seems actually more appropriate than a fork or spoon. But it also reminds me of eating a candy bar with a fork and knife, and once again, any part of life can be tied back to an episode of Seinfeld.

Wonder why the space formerly occupied by Legal Seafood at Pratt and Calvert remains vacant. Seems like an ideal location for a restaurant. If memory serves, they moved only because of a lease dispute.

The Legal Seafood spot has been many things. I say return to a Friendly's. Noodles and Co. is in the Baltimore area at White Marsh, I know but I have found their food to be as appallingly awful as the rest of these company's offerings, P.J.'s (coffee), Moe's Southwest Grill (Mexican), and Mama Fu's (Pan Asian). What chain we REALLY need in Baltimore is WHITE CASTLE!!!

Have to agree...Noodles & Company is horrible. Dry and oversalted. Def not worth the $10 it cost. Harborplace will always be an ideal location for chains as Harborplace is a tourist destination. Tourists can relate to Cheesecake Factory and the likes. Most tourists are not going to know a thing about locally owned restaurants.

MDtopdad, you mean we really need the return of Little Tavern, don't you? That is, if you're talking about non-chains, regional pride, and all that... Buy 'em by the bag, baby!

BaltBabs, $10? What are you getting? My whole bill including drinks is usually something like $15 - and that's for 2 people! Thai Curry soup and small Ceasar salad with tofu and iced tea. Plenty of food and good too!

My son likes one of the pricier dishes that involves chicken and a spicey marinara sauce and even that is under $10 - and not very salty.

JeffS we could always have a return of Jack in the Box and buy "bags 'o grease".

Joyce -- Last time I was there I had a caesar salad, pasta with shrimp, and a drink...9 something and very close to $10. Salad was fine, but pasta was hard and sauce was salty. Nothing to write home about.

I find it mind-boggling that tourists prefer chains. What's the point of traveling if you're just going to go to the same chains you go to at home?

When I grew up where I grew up, there were no chain restaurants besides McDonald's and Burger King. We also rarely ate out... So eating at a big name restaurant (Pizza Hut! Outback! Cheesecake Factory!) on vacation was a treat.

In the last ten years, the chains have worked their way up to where my parents live, so now when they come to visit me or I go to visit them, eating at the neighborhood place is the treat. But there are a lot of people from a lot of places to whom that chain meal is still a treat.

I agree, one of the highlights of traveing for me is trying new things. I imagine a lot of tourists, especially those with children, might prefer chains. Maybe not?

I am excited about having a Sticky Rice here in Fells Point! I am in DC regularly and go to the DC one about twice a month. I have a great time whenever I go for dinner or just drinks. I would not call it a chain I think the same owners own both the DC and Richmond location.

i run a business in Fells Point, and I have to say that I think it's great that this type of restaurant is considering the area. Fells Point generally has (with the exception of Sam's Kid, which I LOVE) high end places like Kali's, etc or bars that serve food. There is virtually nothing in between for me to recommend to my guests. I've complained about this for years- my customers want to sdit down to eat at a reasonably priced casual restaurant that is not mainly a bar. Something like this would do very well in the neighborhood.

never liked friends, glad to see it go. it's a shame about fell's though, I miss crabby dick's with their horrible decor and excelent fried hard crab. of course I still miss mike's and that great chili, don't know how many years thats been.

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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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