WHINING ‘N DINING by Randi Rom (JAN 2013)

Randi Rom is a Baltimore special events planner, marketing and public relations maven, freelance writer and head of R.J. Rom & Associates. Randi has been writing her insider news on the Baltimore food scene since Foodservice Monthly hit the marketplace in February 2002. Have a hot scoop? Contact Randi via e-mail at or by phone 443-691-9671.

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Happy and Healthy New

SOOO looking forward to visiting some of the newest healthy
eating spots and cool events ‘bout town. Susan
, owner of Breathe Books in Hampden will be expanding her
business to include Breathe Bookstore
featuring vegan, vegetarian and Ayurvedic foods. Heading the all-star
kitchen staff will be Don and Rene Gorman, from Puffins Restaurant and Joann
, the former pastry chef from Louie’s
the Bookstore Café.
is a certified Ayurvedic consultant and cooking teacher. I’m impressed already.

So psyched about this one! One Dish Cuisine opened in Ellicott City and it specializes in
dishes for those with food allergies – with options that are gluten free,
casein free, soy free and lots ‘o other allergen free items. AND – they have a
color-coded menu that clearly identifies all allergens. How cool is that? Their
allergen free products such as pizza, breads, cakes and pies can be found at
restaurants, retail locations and health food stores—or you can order products
directly from their restaurant.

OPEN FOR BIZ: The Ale House Columbia opened at 6480
Dobbin Center Way at the site of the former Rocky Run restaurant. They have a
line-up of 30 draft beers featuring Baltimore-based Oliver Brands, 40 bottled beers and 3 traditional cask-conditioned
ales. And – their signature cocktail menu includes house-made mixes and
house-made infused spirits. Owners Donald
and Justin Dvorkin also
own the successful Pratt Street Ale
in Baltimore. “We saw an opportunity to provide a unique experience
to the Howard County market,” commented Kelly and Dvorkin. “Now, local
consumers looking for a world-class selection of brews combined with an
outstanding menu and late night hours can make Columbia their destination.” The
family-friendly restaurant underwent a one-year, $3 million renovation and
features seating for 250 and semi-private dining spaces for special events.
Chef Juan Valdez created a menu that
showcases fresh local ingredients with a twist on traditional comfort food. I’m
looking forward to checking it out and visiting my friend, sales and events
manager Alyssa Hayes, who
previously worked her marketing magic at the Rusty Scupper in Baltimore.

My Thai Restaurant
is returning to the B-town dining scene this month. Previously located in Mt.
Vernon, the new 6,000 square-foot location at 1300 Bank Street at The Tack
Factory in Fells Point was developed by husband and wife team of Brad and Pui Wales, Baltimore City restaurateurs since 2007, and Jirat Suphrom-In, a Thai chef that
follows his mother Pui’s techniques. The contemporary décor will feature
exposed brick, a 40-foot long bar and a stainless steel and wood appetizer
grill bar with seating for 15 where guests can watch chefs at work.

blogger Amy Langrehr started her own
gourmet brownie line that is now sold exclusively at Ma Petite Shoe on 36th Street in Hampden. What could be better than
one-stop-shopping for shoes AND gourmet chocolates? Charm City Cook Salted
Caramel Brownies combines three kinds of chocolate, sea salt and caramel to
create decadently dense fudgy brownie. 
They’re sold individually and are packaged in compostable boxes ready
for gift giving. Susannah Siger,
owner of Ma Petite said, “We are so thrilled to support a local woman
entrepreneur and to assist her in following her passion. It is one of the
things that makes Ma Petite Shoe so unique … our ability to provide a venue
for an exceptional range of chocolate that includes local as well as
international chocolatiers.”

General manager Mark
and executive chef Jerome
from McCormick &
Schmick’s at the Inner Harbor
in Baltimore recently unveiled a new look as
well as new menus at the popular downtown restaurant. The restaurant can
accommodate up to 2,000 guests and they have one of THE best decks in
town—RIGHT on the water –it’s gorgeous. A raw bar, serious desserts and tasty
cocktails —thanks to sales and marketing guru Barb Rayner for hosting the opening soiree.








About the Author

Michael Birchenall is Editor and Publisher of Foodservice Monthly, a regional trade publication covering the foodservice industry of the Mid-Atlantic (DE, DC, MD, VA). Foodservice Monthly has been recognized as the Restaurant Association of Maryland's Allied Industry Member of the Year and by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington as the Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year.

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