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November 9, 2010

Top 10 Tuesday -- weekly dining specials

Alonso'sI divided up this Top 10 list between what seemed to me like super bargains on one hand and the kind of introductory dining-specials you find during a restaurant week promotion on the other.

As I've been saying, I will be looking for a permanent home for a weekly specials list. You see, I'm a maverick, the last of the real cowboys, and I tend to go it alone. But, for something like this, a little planning and coordination is called for.

Two things worth mentioning: 1) the downside to a weekly dining special, especially a popular one, is that it tends to result in crowds and long waits 2) I think the tip should be based on the non-bargain price.

Here are my Top 10 area weekly dining offers, listed alphabetically by restaurant.

Alonso's/Loco Hombre –  Baltimore is only big enough for one or two lobster specials every decade. Remember the six-dollar Sunday lobster special at Frazier's on the Avenue. Didn't Keswick's have one, too? On Tuesday nights in Keswick, Alonso's promotes BYOB ("Bring your own Bib") -- for $17.99, you get a "fresh Maine lobster served with a baked potato and corn on the cob." 

Clementine – This Tuesday Hamilton night special is unusual because only tacos are on the menu. Taco platters go for $10, and the selection changes weekly. It sounds like a good way to keep the place humming while giving some folks in the kitchen a night off. No reservations. 

Corks -- I couldn't find too many weekly specials on the higher end, but Corks in Federal Hill runs a few. On Tuesdays nights, steaks and Cabernet are offered at half the usual price.

Geckos -- This Canton mainstay has been a steady and reliable promoter, and its patrons respond with loyalty. On Wednesdays, Geckos offers $10 entree specials and half-price wine by the glass or bottle  

Jack's Bistro -- There aren't too many Sunday night specials, but on the other side of Canton, Jack's Bistro offers $15 entree specials for diners at tables ($12 for patrons on bar stools). That's sounds like a smart way to work through the week's provender.

Joe Squared –On Tuesday nights, from 4 to 7:30 p.m., customers at this Charles North favorite who buy two eight-ounce beers get a free 10-inch cheese pizza.

Koco's – The most famous crab cake in all of Lauraville is featured in this Thursday night special -- a crab cake platter for $19.95. This is a very popular one. 

Kooper’s Tavern – All day Tuesday is Burger Day in this Fells Point tavern, from the time.  All burgers are discounted, with prices starting at $3.50.

Mick O’Shea’s – I think this qualifies as the longest-running weekly special in town. Monday nights in this venerable downtown bar $8 Burger and Pint Night -- a half-pound burger, fries, and 16-ounce draft.

One-Eyed Mike's -- Over in Fells Point Wednesday is Pasta Night on Bond Street Night -- for $9.99, customers are invited to "Build your own" pasta dish, with side salad, and half-price wines.

Baltimore Sun photo/Amy Davis


Posted by Richard Gorelick at 5:32 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


Richard- One Eyed Mikes and Koopers are in Fells Point, not in Federal Hill.

thanks, I'm off to the newsroom nurse now

I am with an investment group that is interested in Corks or One-Eyed Mike's. Please contact me at or simply go to the group at

One other caveat you might want to add, Richard, is that restaurants sometimes run out of their advertised specials. The Mt. Washington Tavern's specials are terrific -- the Tuesday night steak and bake and the Wednesday night prime rib dinner, both priced at $15.95. But on one Wednesday at around 7:00 PM, the Tavern was dead out of the prime rib special. And only a delightful waitress (who'd already served us wine and appetizers) made up for a manager whose reaction was that we should have known enough to come earlier. Thanks to her, we were back a week later.

Just a thought, there are a couple of schools of thought on specials...1- great way to use up less popular menu items- or 2- great place for the creative chef to really shine. lastly- a way
to get customers in the door but supplies are limited. Please discuss.

Just an idea- I there are a several of schools of thought when it comes to specials: A) great way to use up less popular menu items- B) great place for the creative chef to really shine. lastly- a way
to get customers in the door but supplies are limited. Please discuss.

This may be rather curmudgeonly (and for me, that's saying something), but the thing that really ruins a really good weekly special is when it gets too popular for its own good.

I've been in these parts long enough to remember Kooper's burger night and Little Havana's alkie brunch before they got slammed. I don't mind that other people know about it - but when they started getting persistently slammed, I could find better ways to save money than waiting over an hour for a table.

Man, that's an old picture of Alonso's. I don't think they've had that sign for 2-3 years now.

photo is from 1998 :) I love that sign

El Generalissimo -- you made me think of Yogi Berra's classic comment, "That restaurant is so popular, nobody goes there any more."

Regi's American Bistro
Tuesday 12.99 New York Strip Dinner with mashed potatoes and farmer's market vegetables....VERY Popular In Fed Hill

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner 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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