Over the next few weeks, Vino Rosina will be transforming into Oliver Speck's Eats & Drinks with a focus on "comfort food and barbecue," says executive chef Jesse Sandlin.
"I just want to make good food," says Jesse. "I want people to come in and have fun."
The new restaurant already seems like fun when you find out it's named after Jesse's pet Juliana Pig, a type of mini pig.
Jesse and owner Jim Lancaster decided the Harbor East area was saturated with restaurants offering modern American bistro food, similar to what Vino Rosina was doing.
Hence, the change of concept at the space at 507 S. Exeter St. in the Bagby Building.
"We thought, 'Why compete?'" says Jesse, who appeared on season six of Bravo's Top Chef when the Voltaggio brothers took the top two spots. "Let's do something completely different."
The menu is still being tweaked but is likely to offer Southern-style foods like biscuits and hush puppies, brisket, pulled pork, and pork ribs. There will also be sandwiches, bar snacks, a burger, salads, and a vegetarian option, as well as seasonal daily specials.
Oliver Speck's is expected to open July 27 and will participate in Baltimore Restaurant Week (July 26-Aug. 4). Vino Rosina will close July 20.
Vino Rosina was one of the first restaurants to open in the refurbished Bagby Building, which now includes Ten Ten, Bagby Pizza Co., and Fleet Street Kitchen.
"We want to market the Bagby Building as a destination," Jesse says of the various food choices there.