Food & Drink

Open & Shut: Cece’s Roland Park; Vacation; RYMKS

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


Cece’s Roland Park: A Michelin-starred chef who has worked in kitchens in Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas will help open this new spot in The Village of Cross Keys. When it debuts on June 13, Nick Sharpe will helm the kitchen at Cece’s Roland Park, offering a European menu with coastal influences, plus a a wide selection of tequila and French and Italian wines. The 7,000-square-foot space will also boast an expansive open-air courtyard, main dining room, and the adjacent Cece’s Kitchen for more casual dining with pizzas and pastas. The restaurant will be under the umbrella of The Cordish Companies.

“It’s an honor to be able to come back to my home state of Maryland to join Cece’s Roland Park as executive chef,” Sharpe said in a press release. “I’m excited to bring my experiences from working with some of the country’s most renowned chefs to Baltimore with a very special menu being curated especially for Cece’s.”

This is the latest in a slew of forthcoming additions to Cross Keys, which is also expected to welcome ZaVino Italian Marketplace, Kneads Bakeshop, and a Chinese concept from Atlas Restaurant Group in the coming months. 

Rye Street Market Announces Two New Tenants: Last fall, the developers behind the Baltimore Peninsula in South Baltimore announced that popular vegan burger bar Slutty Vegan would anchor Rye Street Market—the mixed-use office, retail, and food vendor space located in the center of the 235-acre community. Now, two more building tenants have been added into the mix. The first is Virginia-based Tex-Mex restaurant Urbano, which will serve up a menu of tacos, ceviches, and heartier plates like ancho-grilled pork belly and spicy crab cakes. Additionally, the market will welcome futuristic karaoke bar Live-K (think: massive LED screens, flashy lights, and private party rooms), which has seen success with its first location at The Wharf in D.C. Though opening dates for the new concepts haven’t been firm up yet, Slutty Vegan is slated to debut fall 2024.


Vacation: The hospitality group behind The Food Market has opened a new Columbia concept that’s perfect for summer. It’s all there in the name—Vacation is meant to feel like an oasis in the middle of Merriweather Row, serving up out-of-office-inspired drinks and food. Complete with couches, hanging plants, and blankets for chillier evenings, the new eatery is located on the grounds of The Food Market’s location in Columbia and offers 4,000 square feet of all outdoor seating. There’s a retractable roof, too, for when the weather doesn’t quite cooperate.

Owner Chad Gauss and his team have created a menu of fun shareables, including birria tacos, crab dip egg rolls, and a plate of pepperoni (yes, an entire plate of the fan-favorite pizza topping with hot honey and garlic bread “for absorption.”) You’ll also find skewers, salads, and baskets of fried goodies like shrimp, lobster fingers, and chicken tenders. Expect a cocktail menu worthy of any swim-up bar, including classics like piña coladas, margaritas, and mojitos, plus originals like the Woah-Se with rosé, vodka, lemon juice, agave, ginger, and watermelon puree. There’s also draft beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages. 

It’s open every day from 4 p.m. to midnight, perfect for a pre- or post-concert hangout if you’re headed to Merriweather Post Pavilion this summer. But there are plans to better winterize Vacation so it can be open year round.

Wine Village in Baltimore: As of today, this vino-loving pop-up has once again taken over the Inner Harbor’s West Shore Park for a short stint. From the organizers of the Inner Harbor Christmas Village, the Wine Village will be open from Mother’s Day weekend through Memorial Day weekend. Expect wine gardens with European bites and wine selections that can be enjoyed on family-friendly tables, picnic blankets, and even VIP areas. Special programming throughout its run includes outdoor movie nights, local makers selling their handmade wares, a historic carousel, performances by area bands and DJs, and group games like cornhole. There’s no charge for admission. Food, drinks, and gifts are pay as you go.


Magdalena Welcomes New Chef: The Ivy Hotel’s restaurant in Mt. Vernon has tapped Ülfet Ralph to be its new executive chef. And she’s starting off strong with a fresh spring menu featuring gazpacho, risotto with ramps, and a whole branzino. Ralph is no stranger to properties under the Relais & Château banner, having headed up the kitchen at Brush Creek Ranch’s Magee Homestead in Wyoming. She most recently worked as executive chef at Canoe Place Inn in The Hamptons. 

“I am so excited to join the deeply talented team at The Ivy Hotel and Magdalena,” Ralph said in a statement. “I have long appreciated the unmatched quality of Relais & Châteaux properties and have brought my approach to a number of them, focusing on the integrity of the ingredients at their core in a healthy, vegetable-forward way. I look forward to bringing my cuisines and experiences to Baltimore.”


5/12: Crust by Mack’s Mother’s Day Event
Chef Amanda Mack, the brains behind beloved bakery Crust by Mack, is serving up something special for Mother’s Day. Together with the Alpha Female Festival, Mack will host “Taste & Turntables: My Mother’s Recipe” at her Harborplace bakeshop on Sunday. The event is part of a series that combines food by local chefs and music by local artists to “evoke a sensory journey merging sound and taste.” The Mother’s Day edition will feature three courses focusing dishes that have been passed down throughout generations, plus a complimentary glass of Champagne or a mocktail. Expect music from DJ Huxtable, DJ Sun, and The Olucination Band. Tickets are $50 for a single attendee or $80 for two. 

5/12-5/13: Fennec at Artifact
Catch former Magdalena chef Scott Bacon’s roving restaurant Fennec at Artifact Coffee in Hampden on Sunday and Monday. The coffee shop, located inside Union Mill, will host Bacon for two nights (5-9 p.m.) offering a special al la carte menu of shareable, vegetable-forward plates. Look out for dishes like charcoal-roasted carrots with chives and dill, wood-grilled asparagus with duck yolk and a green ramp curry, and grilled oyster mushrooms with a caramelized sunchoke hummus. Joey Wight of Wight Tea will serve cocktails and nonalcoholic beverages to pair with all of the eats. No reservations are needed.


RYMKS Bar & Grille: After two years in business, this Little Italy soul food spot and sports bar—known for its drink specials, pool tables, and DJ dance parties—will close its doors on May 19. “It’s been a pleasure serving Baltimore over the past few years and meeting so many extraordinary Baltimoreans,” the restaurant wrote on Instagram, adding: “We invite you to join us over the next two weeks to savor your favorite dishes.”