Grabbagreen, a healthy fast-casual restaurant “where great tasting, healthy food meets the speed and convenience of traditional fast food” opened in Hunt Valley Towne Centre. The “Eat Clean” menu is preservative-free, naturally gluten-free, and GMO-free. The franchise, which has 25 locations, is the first in Maryland.
D.C.’s Moby Dick House of Kabob has expanded into the Baltimore market with its 23rd location at The Rotunda in Hampden.
Molina Pizze & Polpette, a modern take on a New Haven-style pizza and meatball shop, opened at R. House in Remington. Molina will feature handcrafted New Haven-style pizza, sold by the slice or the whole pie, made with house-fermented doughs and sustainable ingredients and baked in an Italian-made stone hearth oven. And, there is gluten-free pizza, too!
The Point in Fells opened its second location, The Point in Towson, in the former space occupied by The Crease on York Road. It will offer upscale American pub and comfort food.
Italian street fare has arrived in Severna Park with the opening of Capiche Street Food Italiano in the Magothy Gateway Center on Ritchie Highway. The 2,400-square-foot space seats 60 and features cement floors, exposed ceilings, and white brick walls with black and orange tile accents.

Executive chef/owner Jason Hisley is leaving La Cakerie to launch a new boutique bakery. Cakes by Jason will be a high-end cake shop (they’ll also offer other baked goods, classes, and catering) and is expected to open in early 2018 in Timonium. Jason has serious culinary creds having attended Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island and The Restaurant School in Vitznau, Switzerland. AND — he won both Cake Wars and Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Find Cakes by Jason on Facebook at CakesByJasonOC.
Fells Point’s Diablo Doughnuts is moving to Federal Hill early next year in the spot formerly occupied by Felici Café on Light Street. Look for an expanded focus on special events and kids parties. Go to DiabloDoughnuts on Facebook.
Master mixologist Brendan Dorr (head bartender at B&O American Brasserie and president of the Baltimore Bartenders’ Guild) and his business partner Eric Fooy are opening Dutch Courage (next spring), a gin bar at 2220 North Charles Street. The very cool building was built in 1851and features a huge courtyard that’s almost as big as the interior.
Pinehurst Wine Shoppe in Ruxton is looking to expand to include a new, 1400-square-foot, 75-seat family-style neighborhood restaurant. It’s still in the planning stages, so stay tuned.
Restaurateur Ali Sadeghi, owner of the way popular Grille 620 in Ellicott City and River Hill Grill in Clarksville, will open a new bar (sometime next year) and restaurant at Turf Valley Towne Square in Ellicott City called Mad Chef Kitchen & Bar.
Montego Bar & Grill, a Caribbean-inspired restaurant, is set to open early next year in the spot previously occupied by Caribbean Paradise Restaurant and Lounge in Station North. The 140-capacity spot will feature Caribbean food with a West African accent.
18-8 Sushi is expected to open by New Year’s Day in the Rotunda complex in Hampden. The 2,666-square-foot space will offer sushi, Chinese food, and include a cocktail bar.

The new menu at Baldwin’s Station features crispy pork belly, shrimp cakes, smoked duck breast, excellent burgers, and craft cocktails. Love the heated deck overlooking the Patapsco with the trains rolling by! This converted 1800s train depot restaurant is celebrating its 20th anniversary, with lots of special events planned for 2018. Stay tuned.
A new seasonal menu (cocktails, too!) is available at Wit and Wisdom at The Four Seasons Hotel, featuring comfort food with an Eastern seaboard twist. Tasty selections include Wagyu steak sliders, blue crab custard, lobster pot pie, and roasted bone marrow. FYI…I had the Wagyu rib eye, and it was way tasty — clean and flavorful.
Locally sourced, seasonal menu options at the B&O American Brasserie in The Hotel Monaco include sweet tea chicken, rainbow trout, and duck wings. There are also specials each night of the week, including build-your-own tacos on Mondays and cassoulet on Wednesdays.
The Elephant on North Charles Street has a new executive chef, Orlando Amaro.
The Venezuelan native recently worked as exec chef at Station 4 Restaurant in D.C., and the new menu echoes his global experience.

Arômes, the French restaurant in Hampden, has closed. Word “on-the-street” is that there will be another concept in downtown Baltimore called Chez Hugo.
Parts & Labor in Remington’s fi ne dining atmosphere has changed to a more casual vibe featuring sandwiches and snacks. PartsandLaborButchery.
Papa Gil’s, the Italian-American restaurant in Crondall Corner Shopping Center on Owings Mills Boulevard, has closed.

OK…not exactly local news but…very cool. Now, you really CAN have breakfast at Tiffany’s. The Blue Box Café opened on the fourth floor of the Tiffany & Co. flagship store overlooking Fifth Avenue in NYC. Dishes include avocado toast, truffled eggs, and smoked salmon bagels. The café is decorated in Tiffany’s signature blue, and you can order a take-home cake in the shape of the blue Tiffany’s box. #decadent


Points South Latin Kitchen
Experience traditional South American dishes at this dedicated GF eatery, while enjoying drag brunch or drag bingo! (See May 2017 FSM cover story.)

Sotto Sopra
This cozy, elegant Charles Street eatery features farm-to-table contemporary Italian cuisine and showcases special Broadway and opera nights.

Eat good, do good
Owners Michael and Jennifer Myers opened Sam’s Canterbury Cafe as a place to meaningfully employ their son, Sam, who’s on the autism spectrum. It’s since grown into a treasured neighborhood gathering spot that serves fresh, quality food in a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. Open for breakfast and lunch, Sam’s offers a great “Grab ‘n’ Go” menu, online ordering, fresh pastry, and Zeke’s coffee. Plus, you can walk your four-pawed friends to Tripp’s Terrace (soon to be heated), named after the Myers’ dog. Most importantly, Sam’s has created a culture of mutual respect and understanding, offering employment to adults on the autism spectrum who can work and thrive with the encouragement of a very dedicated team. (See March 2017 FSM cover story.)

Sydney Norman Rom, my four-pawed son. My family: Mom Rom (and Syd’s fave brother Pedro), Robin, Jeff, Lindsey (and soon to be nephew-in-law Daniel Berkowitz), Ally (all the way in Hong Kong), Ricky, Thrish, Ryan (and soon to be niece-in-law Kate McNichol and their fur baby Bob Barker), and Reggie. Also thankful for so many great friends and extended family, Dr. Richard Layton (FYI, if you have food allergies, THIS is the man to see), Jackson Browne, Andy, Wacha, and all the housewives, great clients, and my FSM family. And thinking about Michael Birchenall, who always got a big kick from my end-of-the-year column.



Sooo…every year I write a whole column on my favorite things. This year, there’s so much news re openings and soon-to-be-open spots that I pared down my fave things to a portion of this column so I could fit everything in. Wishing everyone a happy holiday season and a happy, healthy, and safe new year.

The Milton Inn
The rib eye steak with seriously colossal lumps of crabmeat in garlic butter sauce is amazing. Flourless chocolate cake — yum!
Harmony Bakery
Outstanding gluten-free bagels, cookies, doughnuts and lots more from this Hampden bakery and restaurant. The chocolate cake is a lil gift from on high!
Pierpoint Restaurant
Chef Nancy Longo’s tomato crab soup. That is all.
Sue Island Grill & Crabhouse
Overlooking the water, this Essex crab house serves excellent, heavy steamed crabs. There’s live music on the deck, and the outside bar is built into a boat. Very cas(ual) and fun. My new go-to crab place. SueIslandGrillandCrabhouse.
The Dog Chef Café
How about a personal chef for your dog? Trained Chef Kevin Matthews creates custom meal plans and human-grade, tasty treats, including moon pies, kale biscuits, and sweet potato fries. And def try the hemp oil treats with catnip (relaxing effects) for joints, anxiety, and general energy. Buy online at

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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