Food & Drink

Open & Shut: The Royal Blue Bar; Sbread Sandwiches; Well Crafted Pizza

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


The Royal Blue Bar: We’ve been keeping our eye on this one for a while now. A new bar from the brains behind Johnny Rad’s and Snake Hill will open soon in Station North. Co-owner Randy Coffren tells Baltimore that the team is currently wrapping up staff training and waiting on their liquor license to be finalized, but they’re aiming to open The Royal Blue Bar at 1733 Maryland Ave. by the end of the month. The bar is ‘70s dive-inspired, and will offer a late-night vibe with a disco lounge and live DJ sets. 

“We’re trying to lean a little bit more toward [being] bar-centric, even though we are going to do a ton of food,” Coffren says. The menu will feature classics from Johnny Rad’s (vegan cheesesteaks, anyone?) and Snake Hill (look out for the mac and cheese.) As for the decor, Coffren says he, co-owner Rich Pugh, and operating partner Jimmy Crawford have all become “Facebook Marketplace kings.” “There’s a lot of cool pieces that I think people will be stoked about and be like, ‘Where in the hell did you get that?’” he says with a laugh.

The roughly 4,000-square-foot space features a divey front bar, a transitional space with a living room feel, and the disco lounge and dance floor, which also has a second bar. “We definitely want to use it more as a space for events and buyouts,” Coffren says. (The space even hosted a wedding just last weekend.)

The trio is also working with Beth-Ann Wilson, owner of Night Owl Gallery, who has signed a lease for the building’s second floor. “We’ve been positioning it as a creative space,” Coffren says. “We’re hoping to do some really fun stuff with her and with other featured artists and tenants upstairs.”

Coffren recommends Baltimoreans follow The Royal Blue Bar’s Instagram account for updates. He hints that a food-only soft launch could happen very soon.


Fat Patties: Are the ’70s making a comeback or what? Inspired by the popular smashburgers of the decade, chef Kevin Curley—the owner of RegionAle in Ellicott City and Canton and new Federal Hill speakeasy The Wurst Bar—has debuted this new burger-and-fries eatery at McHenry Row in Locust Point. Fat Patties, located at 1724 Whetstone Way (the former World of Beer space on the corner), is now serving up the stacked burgers, along with beef tallow fries, “monster” milkshakes, and cocktails on tap.

Expect other comfort offerings like sweet potato tots, chicken tenders, and patty melts. Those on-tap cocktails? Think classics like French 75’s, Negronis, and classic Orange Crushes. Fat Patties also offers house-made sangria, arcade games, and a rotating beer wall with seasonal selections. It’s open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight.

Sbread Sandwiches: Remington food hall R. House recently welcomed a new long-term pop-up that is taking over the stall formerly occupied by Noisy Burger. Slated to remain open through the end of the year, Sbread highlights a classic Italiano, a seasonal butternut squash grilled cheese (we’ll be in line for that), and a smoked turkey sammie with poached pears, feta, and apple butter. Sides on offer include a pumpkin pasta salad, crispy Brussels sprouts, and German-style red cabbage. The concept is described as sustainability focused, with plant-based and vegan options, as well as ingredients sourced from local family farms. 


Baby’s on Fire: Baby, it’s back. Record store and cozy coffee shop Baby’s on Fire has reopened its Mount Vernon space, welcoming customers back for indoor dining and vinyl browsing after two and a half years. The café comes from husband-and-wife team David Koslowski and Shirlé Hale-Koslowski. Coffee fiends might remember that the duo opened a second location in Fells Point next to The Sound Garden in 2019, then closed it the following year as a result of the pandemic. But record collectors and latte lovers alike will be happy to hear that its original location is welcoming guests in once again. The café operates Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


10/20: Taste of Hampden
Get a crash course on some of North Baltimore’s top restaurants at Taste of Hampden—the annual event that benefits the wellness and community support services of The Hampden Family Center—which returns this year on Thursday, Oct. 20 from 6-9 p.m. at Whitehall Mill. More than 20 neighborhood eateries will be on site, including Luigi’s Italian Deli, Nepenthe Brewing Co., Blue Pit BBQ & Whiskey Bar, Chuck’s Trading Post, True Chesapeake Oyster Co., and Firefly Farms Market. Eventgoers can expect tastings from each restaurant, an open bar, music, and raffles to raise money for the family center’s programs and services. Tickets range from $75-$100.

10/22: Baltimore Pit Beef Festival
Anyone else surprised to hear that this is the inaugural Baltimore Pit Beef Festival? The event celebrating Baltimore-style barbecue will take over West Covington Park in Port Covington on Saturday, Oct. 22. Festivalgoers can enjoy tastings from Bullhead Pit Beef, Harbor Que BBQ & Catering, Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, and more. Plus, they can sample more than 50 beers from breweries like Heavy Seas, Guinness, Hysteria Brewing Co., and Big Truck Farm Brewery. Tickets for VIP admission from noon to 5 p.m. run $75, while tickets for general admission from 1-5 p.m. run $42. The VIP ticket includes an extra hour of tastings, a pit beef sandwich, three raw shucked oysters, a souvenir glass, a swag bag, and unlimited samples of beer and spirits. General admission tickets include a souvenir glass and unlimited samples of beer and spirits. A portion of the festival’s proceeds will go to Spirit of Hope Children’s Foundation.


Well Crafted Pizza: Sad news for Baltimore pizza lovers. Well Crafted Kitchen, Well Crafted Pizza’s brick-and-mortar location inside Union Collective, will have its last day of service on Nov. 13. Its food truck will continue to fulfill catering obligations, but will not be taking any additional bookings. “As we reflected on the journey we have taken, we realized it was time to either grow or have the Well Crafted journey come to an end,” the team wrote on Instagram. “Unfortunately, we know that in order to grow our business in the way we dream, it would take fuel we no longer have left in our tank.” We’ll certainly miss spotting the 1949 Dodge pickup truck around town, and, of course, the smiling faces pulling pies out of its built-in wood-fire oven.