Riptide by the Bay in Fells Point has hired a new chef, updated the menu, and will be introducing fine dining in a refurbished second-floor dining room in the spring.
"It was always a long-term goal," said general manager Meredith Rippel, whose husband Roger is a co-owner of the restaurant. "It took some time. The first step was getting our foot in the door."
When the Rippels opened Riptide four years ago, they were the "new kid on the block," Meredith said. "It wasn't easy."
But their bar food, combining West Coast and Baltimore flavors, and steamed crabs eventually drew a crowd to the outdoor breezeway and cozy first-floor dining room and bar.
They still want to attract those customers, Meredith said, but are hoping to bring in new diners with upscale cuisine in the upstairs room—which has great views of the water—when it's complete. There also will be an upper-level outdoor deck.
In the meantime, new chef Cyrus Keefer has been making changes to the current menu, adding entrees for the first time and creating "small bites." The new offerings should be available next week.
The main dishes include pan-seared scallops with cauliflower puree, seafood cioppino, braised beef short rib, and pan-roasted cod. The appetizers sound amazing, too: cheese-steak spring rolls, wild mushroom & Gruyére pot stickers, and chicken nuggets with bacon, white-cheddar dipping sauce, waffles, and maple butter ($11). Yum.
Cyrus—who trained at Philadelphia's Walnut Hill College Restaurant School—is no stranger to Baltimore kitchens. He was previously at Maisy's and, this summer, won the People's Choice award at the annual Crab Bash at B&O American Brasserie for his "Blue Crab and White Corn Raviolini."
He also headed the kitchen at the short-lived Brasserie 10 South on South Calvert Street, which received 3 ½ stars from The Sun's previous reviewer Elizabeth Large in 2009.
But Cyrus, pictured right with sous chef Adam Scanlon, is happy to be at Riptide with the Rippels. "I have a vision. They have a vision," he said. "We're going to go somewhere special."
Photo by me