In Good Taste

Cinghiale Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary Next Week

Owner Tony Foreman looks back on the history of his Italian destination in Harbor East.

By Lauren Cohen | September 13, 2017, 9:00 am

In Good Taste

Cinghiale Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary Next Week

Owner Tony Foreman looks back on the history of his Italian destination in Harbor East.

By Lauren Cohen | September 13, 2017, 9:00 am

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Perhaps one of the most striking details that hits when you first walk into Cinghiale in Harbor East is the array of decorative wine bottles that line seemingly every spare inch of the enoteca’s shelves and windowsills. But, what most might not know about the collection of vino vessels, is that each one tells a story of a guest that has shared a meal at the restaurant throughout its 10-year run.

“I had the restaurant built so that it was loaded with shelves for these bottles that we would have our guests sign,” says co-owner Tony Foreman, who estimates that there are nearly 1,000 bottles on display. “It’s funny—it’s a tradition that we started the first week we were open, and even now whenever I’m in the restaurant I always look up at that original shelf and remember some of the first people who came in."

The signed bottles—which are inscribed with messages ranging from “Happy Birthday” to “Best Drink of 2007” in metallic marker—are a small part of the vision that Foreman had for the Italian restaurant when he debuted it 10 years ago.

⇓ Article continues below ⇓

At the time, his restaurant group, which he co-owns with Chef Cindy Wolf, had already conceived of Charleston and Petit Louis. But Foreman was anxious to showcase Northern Italian food, a concept people weren’t yet familiar with, and go beyond just Americanized spaghetti and meatballs.

“During the first year or two, people struggled to understand it,” he explains. “Italian food is a very natural, one-ingredient driven style of cooking. It’s like the beauty of a sunrise. If you get a beautiful mushroom, you want to show the mushroom. You never want to cover it or fuse it with something else. For a while, we had to work to translate that to the audience.”

Eventually, the concept caught on, and the restaurant became a go-to for its handmade pastas, house-cured charcuterie, roasted meats (Cinghiale translates to “wild boar” in Italian), lengthy wine list boasting more than 600 labels, and commitment to local sourcing.

“Right around our second anniversary was like a switch flip,” says Foreman, who has since helped open Johnny’s and the recently rebranded Bar Vasquez. “Baltimore is so smart. People just have to try it enough to get a feel for it. You have to hear enough of a song to instinctively dance to it.”

To celebrate hitting the decade mark, Cinghiale will offer half-priced bottles on its official anniversary on Thursday, September 21, as well as complimentary glasses of prosecco for all diners the week of September 18-24.

Looking back on the restaurant’s run, Foreman says that some of his favorite memories include hosting regulars, as well as groups visiting from Northern Italian cities like Milan and Verona. He also notes that he has enjoyed watching the local dining scene, as well as the farm-to-table movement, thrive alongside the restaurant.

“Years ago, it never occurred to me that what we were doing was farm-to-table,” he says. “But I don’t know where else you get food. For Italians, it’s kind of a given. Just like how the sun comes up and it goes down. Farmers grow food, and you cook it.”

Meet The Author
Lauren Cohen is a digital staff writer for Baltimore, where she blogs about food, events, lifestyle, and community news.

You May Also Like

On The Town

The Charles Opening in Former Mad River Space Later This Month

We tour the new modern-industrial concept in Federal Hill.

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Tagliata; Huckle’s Brand Hot Sauce; Club Charles

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

On The Town

Ravens Food and Drink Specials for the 2017-2018 Season

We round up the best bird-watching spots all over town.

In Good Taste

Atlas Restaurant Group Debuts Tagliata and The Elk Room

We got a sneak peek of the Italian chophouse and neighboring speakeasy in Harbor East.

Food & Drink

Review: Five and Dime Ale House

Five and Dime Ale House is worth the pocket change.

In Good Taste

Share Kitchen Opens in Locust Point

Nikki Marks launches new production space for food startups.

Connect With Us

Most Read

Shine-y, Happy People
Shine Creative’s Jamie Campbell and Drury Bynum share their entertaining secrets.

Head of the Class
Sonja Santelises is ready to lead Baltimore City Public Schools.

The Launch: September 2017
Our nine musts from this month's calendar of events.

Fashion Sense
How designer and BSA alum Christian Siriano made a name for himself in the fashion world.

Head for the Hills
Ten nearby mountain getaways where you can unload, unplug, and unwind.