Bird in Hand: Last week, James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Spike Gjerde and the owners of The Ivy Bookshop opened the doors to this new bookstore-café in Charles Village. Located on the Johns Hopkins campus, the hangout is meant to be a go-to spot for students and neighborhood locals alike, featuring communal workspaces, lounge furniture, and a 2,500-title collection curated by The Ivy’s staff. The menu, executed by chef de cuisine David Speegle, features everything from puffed cereals and pour-over coffees to open-faced sandwiches and French bread pizzas. 11 East 33rd St.
Amano Taco: Joining R. House’s diverse pack of food purveyors is Mexican-born chef Claudia Santillan, who will be bringing her family’s age-old taco recipes to the communal food hall when it officially opens later this month. Amano Taco will incorporate local vegetables, slow-roasted meats, and a variety of grilled chilies into its made-to-order tacos, rice bowls, and side dishes. Be on the lookout for specialty offerings including grilled street corn with cotija cheese and radishes, a “Pollo Guajillo” taco with roasted chicken and a red chili sauce, and traditional Mexican rice pudding. 301 W. 29th St.,443-347-3570
The Brass Tap: A grand opening date for this new taphouse inside The Fitzgerald apartment complex on Mount Royal Avenue has been set for December 12. The Midtown beer bar will highlight 60 taps (half of which will be local), and a menu full of pub grub with options like tacos, soft pretzels, flatbreads, and spring rolls. 1205 W. Mt. Royal Ave., 410-989-3459
Rise Biscuits & Donuts: This North Carolina-based bakery is making its mark on Maryland in 2017. Rise, whose fresh-baked goodies have received accolades from Food & Wine magazine, recently announced plans to open four new locations in Baltimore, Towson, Rockville, and Silver Spring in the coming months.The chain’s menu puts an emphasis on biscuit sandwiches topped with everything from sweet potatoes and fried green tomatoes to bacon and macaroni and cheese. The doughnut offerings are equally expansive, with “old school” flavors like classic glazed and lemon icing, as well as “new school” options like maple-bacon, pineapple-basil, and crème brûlée. Stay tuned for updates.
Whiskey Hill: Federal Hill favorite Stalking Horse has shed its modern flair in favor of Southern charm. At a rebrand release party on November 11, the bar’s first floor officially debuted as Whiskey Hill, a 75-seat whiskey bar featuring sleek woods, updated furniture, and a reimagined menu highlighting truffle shoestring fries, meatloaf burgers, maple-bourbon wings, and Belgian waffle sandwiches. For the time being, the bar’s original club vibe (with it’s signature boozy vodka slushies and live DJ entertainment) will remain as is on the top two floors while the owners observe whether the new concept catches on with diners. 26 E. Cross St., 410-244-6722
Hilo: Temperatures might be dropping in Charm City, but chef Munehiro Mori is hoping to transport diners to the sunny islands of Hawaii with the fare at this new stall opening inside R. House later this month. The micro-restaurant will focus on poké (pronounced POH-keh), Hawaii’s traditional delicacy that consists of rice topped with seasoned chunks of raw fish. In addition to build-you-own poké bowls with toppings like mango, pineapple, seaweed, and macadamia nuts, chef Mori will highlight sushi rolls and miso soups, alongside entrees like garlic fried chicken and fried pork chops with Hawaiian salsa. 301 W. 29th St.,443-347-3570
Uncle’s Hawaiian Grindz: The Harford County dining scene welcomed this new island-inspired destination from former Food Network contestant Kaimana Chee last week. Chee’s menu pays homage to his native Hawaii, highlighting tiki drinks paired with a variety of poké dishes, noodles with spam, grilled shrimp skewers, honey-glazed salmon, pork shoulder smoked in banana leaves, and broiled mahi mahi with a passionfruit beurre blanc. For the mainlanders, the menu also lists options like a traditional burger, nachos, and fish and chips. 2315 Belair Road, Ste. 2B, 443-966-3999
Origins Speaker Series: This sustainability-themed speaker series is celebrating its 14th installment next Thursday, November 17, with a panel discussion delving deep into the details of local fruit trees and hard cider distilleries. Listen to panelists Gwen Kokes of The Baltimore Orchard Project, Rob Miller of Distillery Lane Ciderworks, and Ben Wenk of Three Springs Fruit Farm weigh in before digging in to a family-style meal with dishes inspired by the evening’s topic of discussion. 1500 Union Ave., $60, 410-235-1881
Baltimore Cakery: This beloved bakeshop, known for its wedding cakes topped with figurines of the Utz Girl and Mr. Boh, shuttered its doors in Fells Point last month. In a message posted to the bakery’s website, management cites retirement as the primary reason for the closure. “We can’t thank enough all those families who chose us to be part of their celebrations—the birthdays, (two 100th birthdays), anniversaries, bridal showers, and, of course, weddings,” the post reads. “It is what made Baltimore Cakery so successful, and so rewarding to own.” There’s no word yet on what will become of the Fleet Street space. 2001 Fleet Street, 443-869-3930