Food & Drink

Open & Shut: Banditos; Shake Shack; STEM Kitchen

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


Banditos Tacos & Tequila: The fifth location of this Federal Hill-born chain is now open in Maple Lawn at 8160 Westside Blvd. Offering up its signature Mexican street food and infused margaritas, the new iteration of the so-called “Taco Temple” spans 5,500 square feet and features a covered patio that can seat 75. First-timers can’t go wrong with the Bang Bang Shrimp tacos paired with Banditos’ classic “Dito Rita,” made with fresh-squeezed lime juice, organic agave, and Blanco Espolon Tequila. “Every attention to detail goes into Banditos, from our restaurant design and aesthetics to the ingredients used in our cocktails and kitchens,” said Sean White, founder and CEO of restaurant group White Oak Hospitality, in a press release. “We are super excited to complement the many other wonderful offerings in Maple Lawn.” Soon enough, the restaurant’s Howard County footprint will expand again with another forthcoming location planned to debut at the Merriweather District later in 2023. 

Shake Shack: Those famous Shake Shack smashburgers and crinkle-cut fries are now conceivably more accessible to Baltimoreans than ever before—thanks to the new Canton location that is equipped with a state-of-the-art drive-thru. (Think: a digital menu board, two-lane ordering system, and separate pickup window.) Earlier this week, the fast-food chain opened the doors to its newest Baltimore location—the first in Maryland with a drive-thru—at The Shops at Canton Crossing. Of course, if you want to stay a while, there’s also  “in-Shack dining” and an outdoor patio for enjoying classics like the Shackburger, Chicken Shack crispy chicken sandwich, and an array of hand-spun milkshakes. (For a limited time, Shake Shack is also collaborating with hit YouTube show Hot Ones to bring spicy takes on menu items like the Hot Ones Burger and spicy cheese fries.) The Shake Shack in Canton is now open daily from 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.


Slutty Vegan: Baltimore native and Slutty Vegan CEO Aisha “Pinky” Cole has announced her homecoming—sort of. According to reporting by The Baltimore Banner, Cole teased a Baltimore location of her popular vegan burger chain during a recent interview with radio station 92Q. “I gotta come back home…I am who I am because of my city,” Cole said, according to the Banner. Cole also confirmed the news to The Baltimore Sun earlier this month.

Slutty Vegan got its start in Atlanta in 2018, when Cole began selling her signature made-to-order burgers via Instagram. Then came a food truck and the first brick-and-mortar location. Now, several outposts throughout Georgia—as well as in Birmingham, Ala, and Brooklyn, N.Y.—offer all kinds of plant-based, 100 percent vegan items, including a bratwurst, chicken tenders, and chili. Cole even headlined a fall tour this year for her “Pinky Cole Experience,” where she promoted her recently released cookbook, Eat Plants, B*tch. The final stop was Dec. 2 at Baltimore Soundstage. Stay tuned for updates.

Culture Cup Cafe: That prime space on Eastern Avenue once home to Patterson Perk will be in use again soon. Culture Cup Cafe will take over 2501 Eastern Ave., serving up loose leaf tea, coffee, and other breakfast items. According to the Baltimore Business Journal, the owner of the concept is Renee Harris, who also owns Marie’s Cafe LLC, a pop-up business that often operates around Maryland and in Washington, D.C. Curious to get a taste? Culture Cup will host a sneak peek this Saturday, Dec. 17 at the cafe from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The limited menu on offer will include free small coffees or vanilla chai tea samples, plus rum cake, all while supplies last. 

Raising Cane’s: This one’s for all of the FoodTok fans who have drooled over videos of Cane’s crispy chicken tenders dunked in a cup of its signature spicy sauce. The Baltimore region’s first location of this chicken tender chain is set to open its doors on Jan. 10. Raising Cane’s will debut at 4 W. Towsontown Blvd. as part of mixed-use Towson Row development. The 3,900-square-foot restaurant is located on the corner of York Rd. beneath The York apartments and adjacent to Whole Foods. 


12/17: Baltimore Spirits Co.’s Christmas in the Caribbean
This Saturday, the Union Collective distillery is bringing back its annual holiday soiree featuring “all the debauchery of an ‘80s holiday party without the copy machine,” according to an event description. Revelers can expect a playlist chock full of Jimmy Buffet, boat drinks, food from Hampden neighbor Chuck’s Trading Post, and a even a full roast pig. The agenda also includes giveaways. Anyone who arrives before 7 p.m. will get a free raffle ticket for a variety of prizes that will be given away at the end of the night. The event runs 6-10 p.m.


STEM Kitchen/Molina Pizza: Get that falafel and made-to-order personal pizza while you can. Remington food hall R. House announced that two of its original vendors, sister-spots STEM Kitchen and Molina Pizza, “will be closing out their time with us in 2023,” according to Instagram. R. House is currently taking applications for new vendors to replace those stalls, and lease terms and commitment time could start as early as spring 2023.