Prime Corner Baltimore: Hampden locals have been witnessing the gradual transformation of this shop on the corner of 34th Street and Chestnut Avenue. The former home of Play Cafe now boasts a colorful, hand-painted exterior, and an interior filled with unique grocery items, deli fare, coffee, candies, and flowers. The New York-inspired bodega from Hampden local Tess Russell will officially open to the public this Saturday, September 22. “I want to honor the neighborhood and have this be a grocery store that people can use in that way,” Russell told us. “But I’m also very interested in food and beverage, and have tastes for odd items. The fun balance will be making it so that you can get milk and eggs, but also so you can discover new things like wild drinks, snacks, and other local products.” 3400 Chestnut Ave.
Alexander Brown Restaurant: This new dining den set inside the historic Alexander Brown investment bank building downtown is nearing its debut in the next few months. Under the helm of brother-and-sister duo Blake Casper and Allison Adams—who operate a sister-restaurant inside a similar historic property in Tampa, Florida—the 170-seat spot will pay homage to Brown, the iconic mercantile who most notably funded the B&O Railroad and Baltimore’s first public water system. The space, which is partially owned by descendants of Brown, will preserve architectural details while offering a menu of New American fare. According to liquor board documents, executive chef Richard Anderson is planning to serve dishes such as Hickory-smoked salmon crostini, seasonal chopped salads, tomato and prosciutto flatbreads, and a chicken burger topped with feta and cumin aioli. 135 E. Baltimore St.
Blackwall Hitch: This Annapolis favorite—which also has locations in Alexandria, Virginia and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware—is bringing its seafood specialties and upscale decor to the Inner Harbor this fall. Located on the first floor of the former Candler building on East Pratt Street, the 10,000-square-foot restaurant will feature multiple bars, outdoor seating, and a mezzanine level. Be on the lookout for dishes including sauteed shrimp in a Creole butter, herb-marinated whole branzino, fried oyster po’boy with cherry pepper remoulade, and classic steak frites. 700 E. Pratt St.
Das Bier Haus: Earlier this month, owners of this German-inspired beer hall in Federal Hill officially unveiled a new second-floor dining room. The grand opening party, which was attended by former Ravens Dennis Pitta and Todd Heap, debuted the top-level space featuring communal tables, exposed brick, and multiple flat screens. The expansion comes on the heels of the opening of Fornicolli’s, an Italian eatery that Das Bier Haus owner Nate McKinney debuted next door to the bar in June. 1542 Light St. 443-708-8854
Frazier’s on the Avenue: Whether you’re in search of a quick bite, open pool table, or a cold can of Boh, this Hampden dive is always there when you need it. Though regulars have grown fond of the spot’s classics (including the crispy tots and crab dip with warm pita), Frazier’s updated its menu this week with some fresh options. Aside from the fan-favorite wings and club sandwiches, the new menu now lists additions like Southwest egg rolls with Sriracha ranch and the vegan “Impossible Burger” topped with avocado and red onion. 917 W. 36th St. 410-662-4914
Expedia Gives Love to Baltimore’s Bread Aroma: This week Expedia.com rounded up the top cities whose smells invoke a sense of nostalgia, and the iconic aroma of fresh-baked breads in Fells Point earned Charm City a spot on the list. “The smell of freshly baked bread drifts from Baltimore’s Schmidt Baking Company and H&S Bakery, wrapping you in a warm hug,” writes Expedia staff writer Chloe Mulliner. “Smelling like home sweet home, Baltimore will have you salivating as a trail of sugary and floury aromas hits your senses.” Baltimore was named alongside other cities like Chicago, Buffalo, and Miami on the quirky, yet totally accurate, list.
9/20-10/14: Burnt-Coat Haenyo Pop-Up at Stalking Horse
Stalking Horse in Federal Hill will be hosting this epic pop-up collaboration on weekends throughout October. Swing by Thursday-Sunday to sample eats from local pop-up Haenyo, which specializes in Korean-fusion fare, and Burnt Coat, an American concept from local chef Cai Lindeman. Pair the bar’s signature boozy slushies with special menu items including panko-dipped corn dogs with hot mustard, Korean fried chicken, Gochujang pulled pork nachos, and a burger topped with cheddar and dijonaise. 26 E. Cross St. 6 p.m.-12 a.m.
9/24: Farm to Chef Maryland
Now in its ninth year, this foodie fundraiser is uniting 30 area chefs with local farmers to benefit TasteWise Kids, an organization offering interactive programs that teach elementary school students about the importance of urban agriculture and healthy eating. Gather at The Assembly Room to taste dishes and sip spirits from the likes of Foraged, Chez Hugo Bistro, The Outpost American Tavern, R. Bar, The Elk Room, and Ida B’s Table. Each dish and cocktail recipe will feature the bounty of a specific local producer, including the Baltimore Orchard Project, Moon Valley Farm, and Prigel Family Creamery. The Assembly Room, 316 Guilford Ave. 6:30 p.m. $115-150.
Cafe Zen: Diners in the Belvedere Square area are mourning the loss of the kung pao chicken and vegetable fried rice at this longtime Chinese food purveyor, which has officially closed its doors. Earlier this month, the North Baltimore eatery transformed into a new Asian concept, A1 Sushi. Featuring new furniture and interior upgrades, the spot offers a sizeable sushi menu, as well as classic Chinese pork, chicken, and beef dishes. 438 E. Belvedere Ave. 410-532-0022