We applaud any effort that boosts restaurant life in underserved areas, so kudos to Mike Wagner—formerly of Aida Bistro and Piccolo's of Columbia—for opening his own restaurant in Glen Burnie. The area could certainly do with more non-chain eateries, and MJ Wagner's Via Mia (8 N. Crain Highway, 410-760-9333) is definitely that. The modest, bare-bones storefront boasts a surprisingly ambitious menu; entrées range from prosciutto-and-provolone-stuffed chicken breast to grilled Kurobuta pork loin with apples and sage—both tasty, by the way. We were a little taken aback to find the aforementioned pork—along with items like coconut shrimp and Thai mussels—on the menu (Via Mia bills itself as Tuscan), but there is a selection of moderately priced pastas, as well as a decidedly Tuscan-inflected veal dish that changes daily. Service is sweet but amateurish. But when that nice young server brings you a complimentary slice of warm pumpkin bread pudding to make up for his gaffes, you'll be willing to forgive just about anything.
A chef brings inventive Italian to Glen Burnie.
Issue date: April, 2007