Atticks Takes Steps to ‘Grow & Fortify’ Wine and Beer Industries

The Maryland Wineries Association’s (MWA) Kevin Atticks has launched a new management firm aimed at supporting and strengthening businesses/associations by providing organizational, management, special event planning, legislative direction and strategic development assistance. Grow & Fortify, LLC was started to help businesses in the agricultural, agri-tourism and food systems arenas. In 2002, Atticks was hired to lead the Maryland Wineries Association and succeeded beyond expectations in expanding the association.

The board of directors for the MWA endorsed Atticks’ proposal to launch Grow & Fortify, and agreed to join as the firm’s first client. “When Kevin joined the Maryland Wineries Association, there were just 12 wineries in the state and a lot of work was required to grow the industry,” said Rob Deford, proprietor of Boordy Vineyards. “Now, there are over 70 wineries throughout the state and that list continues to expand. Kevin galvanized the industry, achieving major legislative changes and launching marketing programs that have advanced Maryland wine.” Also joining the client roster for Grow & Fortify, LLC is the Brewers Association of Maryland. “We saw what Kevin has done for the wine industry over the years and we were impressed! We have lots of members with varied experience and need someone who can band everyone together and provide one voice for the industry,” said Ben Savage, chief marketing officer at Flying Dog Brewery, and president of the Brewers Association of Maryland. Congrats Kevin!

Major congrats to Andy Norris, owner of Bertha’s Mussels in Fells Point and Celeste Corsaro from The Plant Bar in Belvedere Square … he put a ring on it! I expect that Downtown Diane and I will be flower gurls! No pressure …

WHAT’S NEW: Ra Sushi Bar introduced a new, seasonal menu. Featured dishes include Chili Garlic Shrimp (yum), Seared Ahi Tuna, Red Heart Roll and tasty drink concoctions. Blue Ghinger Martini anyone? Ra Sushi Bar is located at 1390 Lancaster Street in Harbor East.

On Monday February 9, The Iron Bridge Wine Company will host a special wine event featuring Dario Pennino from Mastroberardino Winery in Campania, Italy. Pre-paid ($35 per person) … reservations are required. For more info, go to

VALENTINE’S DAY SUGGESTIONS: Whether you’re single, plural, perusing or impressing – if you’re looking for a great, restaurant for Valentines’ Day – here are a few of my personal faves.

The Milton Inn, in Sparks—casual in the c. 1740 Lounge or romantic in the Hearth Room.

Fells Point: Pierpoint. Corn and crab chowder. Nuff said.

If you’re looking for outstanding mussels—head on over to Bertha’s.

All things beer-cross the street to Max’s Taphouse.

Canton: Langermann’s. Shrimp & grits. Done.

Little Italy: Da Mimmo’s!

I love me some Café Gia.

Tio Pepe. Shrimp in garlic sauce. So OMG!

Sotto Sopra. Special, intimate atmosphere.

Hampden: Grano Emporio. Gluten free pasta dishes available. Yum.

Columbia area: The Highland Inn-casual fine dining. Lobster, bacon, mac & cheese anyone?

Baldwin’s Station. Converted 1800’s train station. Love it.

Arundel Mills: Vivo Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar in the Hotel at Arundel Preserve. Casual

COMING SOON: Himalayan Bistro, specializing in fine Nepalese and Indian cuisine, will open at 1030 Light Street in Federal Hill in Spring 2015. Chef Danny Lamichhane, who has more than 20 years of experience working in Indian restaurants, will lead the kitchen. Himalayan Bistro’s menu will include traditional Nepalese and Indian dishes including Chicken Tikka Masala, Momos Nepali and lamb chops. Mohan Thapa, owner of Himalayan Bistro, jumped at the opportunity to join the Federal Hill neighborhood. “I could not pass up the opportunity to be so close to both the Horseshoe Casino and the Inner Harbor,” he said. “1030 Light Street is the perfect location for Himalayan Bistro and we hope that both Baltimore locals and visitors will enjoy our restaurant and cuisine.” With construction already underway, Himalayan Bistro is expected to open in March 2015.

GOODBYE: Chazz: A Bronx Original, a Harbor East pizza restaurant co-owned by the actor Chazz Palminteri and the Vitale family, owners of Aldo’s in Little Italy, has closed its doors after three years. I read about the closing on Sergio Vitale’s personal Facebook page. I don’t know why it closed, although The Baltimore Business Journal has reported that a court filing was made last month in Baltimore City Circuit Court by one of the restaurant’s vendors. It’s always difficult when a business closes-especially in small town/big city Baltimore. My suggestion? Go to Aldo’s Restaurant and show your support for the Vitale family who, btw are honoring Chazz gift certificates at Aldo’s beginning March 1.

About the Author

RANDI ROM is a Baltimore special events planner, marketing and public relations maven, freelance writer and head of R.J. Rom & Associates. Have a hot scoop? Contact Randi via e-mail at or by phone at 443-691-9671.

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