Baltimore Whiskey Company Brings Home The Gold: It’s been an exciting week for the Baltimore Whiskey Company (BWC). The Remington distillery’s new Epoch Rye Whiskey—the first of its kind to be distilled in Baltimore in more than 50 years—has been awarded a double gold medal by the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The coveted double gold distinction indicates that the spirit was given a unanimous gold rating by all judges. “Epoch Rye is the light at the end of a five-year tunnel for us, and we couldn’t be happier with our product,” BWC co-owner Max Lents said in a statement. “It’s amazing to see some of the most accomplished spirit tasters list it among the best Rye Whiskeys in the world.” The distillery was also recently awarded multiple gold medals from the New York International Spirits Competition. Aside from being named Maryland Distillery of the Year, BWC took home gold medals for its Shot Tower gin and coffee-flavored amaro from its Baltamaro line. The accolades come as BWC prepares to unveil its brand new facility and ramp up production at Union Collective this summer.
Heavy Seas Expanding its Taproom: Changes are on the horizon at Heavy Seas’ 23-year-old facility in Halethorpe. Next summer, the brewery will unveil a renovated taproom and new 15-barrel brewhouse that will allow the team to get creative with a limited-edition series unique to the taproom. Local designers have already begun planning their vision for the taproom, which will be seven times larger than the current space and feature reclaimed wood tables and a private event room. The facility will remain open throughout renovations. 4615 Hollins Ferry Road, 410-247-7822
Smoke Temporarily Closing at Cross Street Market: This weekend will be the last for diners to snack on brisket and pulled pork sandwiches at Smoke’s Federal Hill pop-up. After six months, the Cockeysville ’cue joint is closing up shop while construction continues inside Cross Street Market. But a post to Instagram indicates that the spot has every intention of coming back: “We can’t wait to return to the new market,” the post reads. “This thing is going to be sick!” The first phase of renovations on the Light Street side of the market are slated to debut this fall. In the meantime, diners can feast on Smoke’s fingerlickin’ fare at its flagship location in Cockeysville. 1065 S. Charles St.
Local Brunch Spots Awarded by OpenTable: Four Charm City restaurants were recently named among the 100 best brunch spots in the country by OpenTable. This year’s list gave nods to The Food Market in Hampden, Gertrude’s at the BMA in Charles Village, Rusty Scupper in the Inner Harbor, and Woodberry Kitchen in Clipper Mill. The list was narrowed down from more than 45,000 OpenTable reviews of brunch destinations throughout the country.
Ludlow Market, Bar & Bottle Shop: Owner Christopher Spann is breathing new life into his restaurant and adjoining wine shop in the historic Foundry Building in Locust Point. The space was the longtime home of Spann’s Wine Market Bistro, which he closed in March due to lack of business. “The bistro side wasn’t hitting the necessary numbers,” he told us. Now, he is planning to launch a reimagined concept next month. Ludlow Market will offer an “upscale neighborhood” menu of shareables, sandwiches, and entrees sourced by local purveyors. Heading up the kitchen will be chef Christopher Audia, a Baltimore native whose resume includes stints at Tail Up Goat in Washington, D.C. and No. 9 Park in Boston. The Bottle Shop, which remains open throughout the turnover, will upgrade its offerings to focus more on beer and wine, as well as cured meats, cheeses, and other takeaway items. 921 E. Fort Ave. 410-244-6166
Italian Disco: A grand opening date has been set for this new ’80s-inspired pizza joint from Atlas Restaurant Group—which also owns Ouzo Bay, Azumi, Loch Bar, Bygone, and Tagliata in the area. Italian Disco will debut on Monday, May 18, featuring an elevated DJ booth and Wurlitzer jukebox. The menu will highlight wood-fired pies, sandwiches, and entrees paired with 50 craft beers on tap. 1006 Fleet St.
Papi’s Tacos: Come fall, Hampden locals won’t have to leave the neighborhood to chow down on Papi’s signature build-your-own street tacos. The Fells Point taqueria recently announced plans to open a second location in the former home of Dimitri’s Tavern on Falls Road. The spot will mimic the vibe of its flagship, with interior touches like exposed brick, strung lights, greenery, and plenty of sugar skulls. 3820 Falls Road.
Urban Deli: This Federal Hill outpost quickly became a go-to for deli sandwiches and hangover breakfasts when it opened on Light Street in the spring of 2016. And it recently reopened in larger digs a few blocks north. Taking over the former home of Wok & Roll at 1025 Light Street, the new cafe features its signature coffee counter, bar seating, and pops of bright yellow throughout. The menu consists of deli sandwiches, wraps, paninis, salads, soups, and local Towson Hot Bagels. 1025 Light St., 443-708-0495.
5/10: Creative Alliance Date Nights at Verde
Thursday evenings throughout May, Verde will be offering a special pairings dinner that includes a $20 discount on tickets to Thursday-evening shows at the Creative Alliance in Highlandtown. Head to the restaurant to enjoy a three-course prix fixe menu with options including roasted beet salad, burrata caprese, classic margherita and pistachio pesto pizzas, tiramisu, and imported hazelnut gelato. Mark your calendar for performances like Tuareg musician Mdou Moctor on May 10, musical comedian Dina Martina on May 24, and percussive dance quartet Duo Duo on May 31. 641 S. Montford Ave., 410-522-1000
5/17: Dinner for the Mamas of Baltimore: Flowers While I’m Here
Mother’s Day continues into next week at Ida B’s Table, where five female leaders will gather to host this intimate dinner and conversation. Enjoy a three-course menu from chef Dave Thomas while listening in on a discussion between MacArthur fellow Joyce J. Scott, actress Maria Broom, and performance artists Kibibi Ajanku, Rashida Forman-Bey, and Kay Lawal Muhammad. All five women are featured in the restaurant’s most recent art exhibition, SEEN, A Mother’s Intention, which will be on display from May 2-31. Ida B’s Table, 235 Holliday St., 6-8 p.m., $50.
The BBQ: It was a short-but-sweet run for this Greenmount Avenue spot, which quickly became a destination for mouthwatering barbecue and sides when it opened last summer. Among the many foodies taking to social media to mourn the loss are the owners of Dovecote Cafe in Reservoir Hill. “Fam, running a small, black-owned business is extremely hard,” they posted to Facebook. “Please support our businesses, not just when it’s trending or ‘Small Business Week.’ We’re heartbroken.” The BBQ was recently named among Eater’s 12 hottest new restaurants in Baltimore. 2602 Greenmount Ave.
Rachel New American Cuisine: Speaking of short-lived spots, this Riverside restaurant has shuttered its doors after only 16 months. Regretfully, we are no longer open for service,” management posted to Facebook earlier this week. “The staff and ownership of Rachel are incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported our endeavor. Thank you to each of our guests and the entire Fed Hill community for allowing us to serve you.” Rachel, which was a hangout for charcuterie and cocktails, brunch, and dinner service—is the latest in a string of restaurant closures occurring throughout the area. There’s no word yet on what will become of the building. 554 E. Fort Ave.