Food & Drink

First Look at Easy Like Sunday in Locust Point

The Cross Keys brunch spot opens its second Baltimore outpost at McHenry Row.

Three days before the grand opening of the latest Easy Like Sunday location at McHenry Row in Locust Point, servers are studying the menu, baristas are testing drink recipes (like a pretty-in-pink iced beetroot matcha latte), and chef/co-owner Sean MacCuish is overseeing a mock service in the kitchen—where his staff fires favorites like fried chicken atop cornmeal pancakes and steak and eggs with a fresno chimichurri. 

In the midst of the prep, a worker from the bank a few doors down stops in to welcome the owners—MacCuish operates the restaurants with his wife, Anna MacCuish, and Anna’s cousin, Antonios Kokolis—to the neighborhood. He’s one of many neighbors who have recently popped in to check on the status of the breakfast-and-lunch restaurant, which officially opens to the public on Monday, June 10. 

“Cross Keys is such a beautiful space, but we’re hidden, so you have to really know who we are and what we do,” Sean says of their Baltimore flagship at The Village of Cross Keys in Roland Park, which opened in March 2023. (Before coming to Baltimore, the owners launched the original Easy Like Sunday concept in Charlotte, North Carolina.) “But here, it’s so visible and inviting. There’s a lot of positivity around that.” 

From left: Co-owners Antonios Kokolis, Anna MacCuish, and Sean MacCuish.

Joining the mixed-use McHenry Row development off of Key Highway was something the owners were immediately interested in upon learning that the building’s previous tenant, Iron Rooster, had closed last year. They took over the space on February 1, and quickly got to work removing the TVs, renovating the bar, and brightening the space with Easy’s signature English garden aesthetic. 

“It’s almost like you’re having brunch on a patio, but it’s inside,” Sean says of the design. “That’s always been the driving force for us.” 

Adds Anna: “Especially with the seasons here. If it wasn’t for seasons, I think we’d all agree our whole restaurant would be outdoors. We just love that feel.”  

Highlighting hanging greenery, crystal chandeliers, gold-framed mirrors, pops of pink, and a thriving indoor trellis, the interior design was spearheaded by Anna, with signature touches handmade by the staff themselves. The resin gold leaf tables, for example, were created by Sean. 

“We want people to be able to take pictures everywhere, from the bathrooms to the bar,” Kokolis says, explaining how the atmosphere plays into the overall dining experience—especially in the age of social media. “When we all walked into this space, we knew it was perfect for what we wanted to do.” 

The new home seats 130 inside—including 18 barstools—and 30 on the patio that the owners added in the front. In the back of the house, Sean says that, compared to Cross Keys, there’s slightly more room to breathe in the kitchen—which will allow for some additions to the menu once the restaurant gets off the ground. He estimates that three-to-four new dishes and drinks will drop in Locust Point in the coming months, before eventually migrating to the menu at Cross Keys. 

For now, though, diners can look forward to his original lineup of brunch hits, which includes the seasonal blueberry-lemon pancakes with sweet ricotta; a Tuscan Bake that fuses pork sausage with tomato, mozzarella, feta, and poached eggs; crab cake benedicts; brunch burgers; and a sweet vanilla yogurt bowl loaded with fresh berries and house-made granola. 

“You’re not confined to one thing with brunch,” Sean says of the versatility of the concept. “You can think outside of the box and bring different flavors that all fit under this umbrella of what brunch means to a lot of people. We have Southern-inspired dishes, Italian-inspired dishes, Greek dishes. Creatively, it just opens the door for so much more.” 

Above: Seasonal lemon-blueberry pancakes with whipped ricotta and an espresso martini; Fried chicken and cornmeal pancakes with peach habanero jam; the Tuscan Bake; Steak and eggs with potatoes and fresno chimichurri.

Creativity is a huge part of what fuels the three-person team, who all agree that the food coupled with the decor is what has resonated with their Cross Keys clientele. They’re sticking with their no-reservations model in Locust Point, but want to assure guests that, even if there is a short wait time, it’s the most efficient way to go. 

“We’ve compared the numbers of Cross Keys to Charlotte [which does take reservations],” explains Kokolis, who oversees the front-of-house staff, “and based on our current system, we’re able to seat and feed more people than if we were to take reservations, because there’s just so much lag [when guests are late for their reservations.]

“We don’t want people to wait, trust me,” he says, also mentioning that bar seating is first-come, first-served. “We’ll bring in tables from outside if we have to. We just want everyone to have a great experience.” 

With two locations on opposite ends of the city, the owners hope to make Easy Like Sunday more accessible to locals who are familiar with the restaurant, but also present the concept to people who might not have heard of it. Although there are no further expansion plans on the horizon as of yet, they’re not ruling out additional eateries in the future. 

“It’s always exciting bringing it to a new crowd,” Anna says. “We’re all so proud of Easy Like Sunday, so when you’re introducing it to someone for the first time, it’s such a great feeling.”