Open & Shut: Greg’s Bagels; Big Mama’s Asian Kitchen; Grano Pasta Bar
The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.
By Lauren Cohen. Posted on February 09, 2017, 2:37 pm
Greg’s Bagels: Last year, Belvedere Square regulars were saddened by the news that owner Greg Novik would be forced to close this decades-old bagel shop to tend to his health. But now, locals are preparing to resume their early-morning routine as Tommy Hearn, one of Novik’s former employees, works to get the store back up and running. Greg’s officially reopened this morning, featuring its signature baskets of fresh-baked bagels, hand-cut lox, and an array of spreads. Though Hearn has touched up the interior with a fresh coat of paint, he’s intent on continuing Novik’s legacy, keeping the spirit of the shop exactly the same: “It really says something to go 70 years and not have anyone say anything bad about you,” Hearn says of his mentor. “If I can be half the guy he is and make people laugh every day the way he has, that’s a blessing in itself.” To read more about Novik’s personal journey, pick up a copy of our upcoming March issue. 519 E. Belvedere Ave., 410-323-9463
The Outpost American Tavern: It’s been two years since Porter’s Pub shuttered its doors on the corner of East Cross Street and Riverside Avenue in Federal Hill, and after months of murmurs of a possible reboot, neighborhood locals Chris Frisone and Seunng Cho officially reopened the rebranded space last week. The 60-seat restaurant now features an updated interior with refinished woods, pops of red, and vintage knickknacks on display. Headed up by Top Chef alum Jesse Sandlin, the corner bar boasts a reimagined menu featuring dishes like goat cheese ravioli, skirt steak frites, roasted half chicken with butternut squash risotto, and a breakfast-for-dinner dish incorporating pork belly, fried eggs, and a cornmeal waffle. The beverage options are equally expansive, with an array of craft beers, house wines, and colorful cocktails. 1032 Riverside Ave., 443-388-9113
Berries by Quicha: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this sweets shop debuted its second location on Light Street in Federal Hill last week. Owner LaQuicha Brown offers hand-dipped strawberries covered in everything from white chocolate and cookie crumbs to milk chocolate and bacon bits. Specialty creations also include strawberries stuffed with cheesecake filling and boozy berries infused with flavored vodka. 920 Light St., 410-444-3239
Mi & Yu Noodle Bar: It’s been a great few months for Mi & Yu Noodle Bar, the Asian-fusion restaurant that got its start with a cozy shop in Federal Hill and recently set up a stall inside Mt. Vernon Marketplace. Now, foodies in Hampden won’t need to venture far to sample the spot’s signature DIY ramen bowls and steamed bun sandwiches, as chef/owner Edward Kim plans to open a third location at the Rotunda next fall. Slated to make its debut in October 2017, the new space will join grocery chain MOM’s Organic Market and yet-to-open fancy movie theatre CineBistro in the mixed-use development. 711 W. 40th St.
No Idea Tavern: Changes are on the horizon for this South Baltimore staple, which will soon see a new name, menu, and interior upgrades under new ownership. Former general manager Jon Ferguson recently took over the bar alongside service industry veteran Stacy Lynch, who has worked at Ropewalk Tavern for more than a decade. With a shared focus on hospitality, the new owners have decided to let the community pick the bar’s new name, and will be taking suggestions until the official grand opening party in August. In the meantime, the duo will concentrate on updating the interior with rustic wood paneling and additional dining room seating, and unveiling a new menu featuring salads, burgers, and fine-tuned brunch fare. 1649 S. Hanover St., 410-814-0342
Shake Shack: Though you certainly can’t go wrong with a classic cheeseburger paired with a hand-spun milkshake, Shake Shack is throwing some new options into the mix for diners looking to switch up their usual order. Earlier this week, the Inner Harbor store—which recently opened a new location inside the MGM National Harbor Casino—unveiled a few barbecue-inspired items including crispy barbecue chicken sandwiches, crinkle-cut bacon cheese fries, and cheeseburgers topped with ale-marinated shallots. End the meal on a sweet note by slurping down limited-edition vanilla toffee or Mud Pie-flavored shakes. 400 E. Pratt St., 443-973-3630
Big Mama’s Asian Kitchen: The boys behind Ekiben in Fells Point were best known for their presence at local festivals and farmer’s markets before settling into their own brick-and-mortar restaurant last year. Now, the college buds-turned-steamed bun purveyors are getting back to their pop-up roots, temporarily setting up shop inside R. House’s rotating stall February 15-22. Dubbed Big Mama’s Asian Kitchen, the pop-up will put a new spin on the brand’s signature Asian-fusion cuisine with a small, two-dish menu. “The food is going to be totally different from Ekiben, but still stay true to our philosophies of strong, flavor-forward food,” co-owner Steve Chu tells us. Stay tuned for the full list of offerings, which Chu says will be released on social media prior to opening day. 301 W. 29th St.
The Local Fry Second Anniversary Party: We can’t believe this Federal Hill fry shop is already turning two. To celebrate the special birthday, husband-and-wife owners Kevin and Elizabeth Irish are hosting a party at the store on Sunday, February 12 featuring worldly dishes inspired by their cultural backgrounds. The mash-up will feature the collaborative eats from of The Local Fry and Ekiben, with plenty of beers from Union Craft Brewing to wash it all down. 21 E. Cross St., 410-244-1283
Grano Pasta Bar: This spinoff of Hampden’s famed Grano Emporio shuttered its doors in Federal Hill late last month. According to reports from SouthBMore.com, the shop posted a sign on the front door that reads “For Rent, Fully Equipped,” though there’s no word yet on the reasons for the closure. Luckily, the brand’s two other Hampden locations are still up and running for diners craving authentic Italian pastas.
Lauren Cohen is a digital staff writer for Baltimore, where she blogs about food, events, lifestyle, and community news.