Food & Drink

Open & Shut: Baja Tap; Drift Bar; Peter Chang Baltimore

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


Baja Tap: The former Bond Street Social space in Fells Point won’t be empty much longer. If you haven’t noticed its colorful wraps covering the windows yet, Baja Tap is expected to take over the restaurant at 901 S. Bond St. in mid-September. The concept—focusing on tacos, margaritas, and live music—already has a location in Washington, D.C. that opened earlier this year. But partner and chef Greg Lloyd says the Baltimore spot “has always been in the works.” “The space in Adams Morgan worked out, and we thought it’d be a great testing ground,” he adds. “Then we could hit the ground running in Baltimore.”

The Fells Point space was appealing for its high foot traffic and large footprint. (Including the expansive patio, Lloyd says the spot clocks in at around 10,000 square feet.) He’s also excited about joining the neighborhood’s noteworthy hospitality scene, mentioning bars like Waterfront Hotel. “When you think about all the places that are going to surround us in Fells Point, I think it’s a recipe for success.”


Drift Bar: We sometimes take for granted how many amazing waterfront dining spots Baltimore has to offer, and Canton just welcomed yet another one. (And not a moment too soon with the blazing temperatures we’ve been experiencing this summer.) Drift Bar is now open as a floating “cocktail dock” at Lighthouse Point Marina. Expect a variety of frozen tropical libations—the globe and fishbowl-shaped vessels are popular for group hangouts—like margaritas, daiquiris, frosé, and a coconut mojito. Pair those with shareable bites like a hummus plate, Italian beef meatballs, lamb chops, lobster rolls, and pulled pork sliders. 

Vice President of Food and Beverage Lars Kristiansen says the response only two weeks after cutting the ribbon has been overwhelming. “We thought we’d get a soft start, but that didn’t work,” he says. “It’s been packed.” As for curating the menu, Kristiansen says they were going for upscale waterfront dining with plenty of seafood, but still wanted to keep it casual and fun. The best time he recommends patrons stop by? Sunset, for the great views. “It’s just a feel-good place.”

The Crazy Crab Bag: ICYMI, The Crazy Crab Bag is now open in South Baltimore serving up seafood with a Southern kick. The concept at 1741 Light Street, from owner Arrica Ashe, started as a food truck and highlights boil bags filled with snow crab clusters, crawfish, mussels, shrimp, potatoes, and corn. Brunch is also available, where diners can find shrimp and grits, French toast topped with a fried lobster tail, and chicken and waffles. 

Dave’s Hot Chicken: Fan of hot chicken and “Hotline Bling”? You’re in luck. Dave’s Hot Chicken, a fast-growing Los Angeles-based chain that has significant investment from superstar Drake, will open a location in Owings Mills tomorrow at 9900 Reisterstown Rd., in the shopping center next to Foundry Row. Like other locations, the 2,000-square-foot space will specialize in jumbo hot chicken tenders and sliders, along with side servings of kale slaw, mac and cheese, and seasoned fries. The chicken is offered at seven various spice levels ranging from “no spice” to “Reaper™” (which requires a signed waiver). 

And for those curious, Drake isn’t the only celebrity investor in the franchise, which has sold the rights to more than 700 franchise locations in the U.S., Middle East, and Canada and will open 70-plus locations this year. Others include former California First Lady Maria Shriver, Samuel L. Jackson, and Good Morning America anchor and retired NFL player Michael Strahan.

Peter Chang Baltimore: After reopening Canton hotspot NiHao and reconceptualizing its menu earlier this year, famed restaurateur Peter Chang has expanded his footprint in Baltimore with Peter Chang Baltimore. The newest iteration of his namesake restaurant—located at 1923 Ashland Ave. near Johns Hopkins Hospital—specializes in dim sum with offerings that include dumplings, pork belly buns, and Sichuan cold noodles. There’s a variety of entrees too, like the limoncello crispy jumbo shrimp (a standout dish you can also find at NiHao), bamboo fish, mapo tofu, and dry fried cauliflower. Bubble teas with classic boba toppings are also on offer. 


7/30: Brunch(ish) by Carroll & Son Fine Foods and Kitsch Restaurant
North Baltimore neighbors Carroll & Son Fine Foods (inside Union Collective in Medfield) and Kitsch Restaurant (located near the Johns Hopkins University campus) are teaming up to serve a one-of-a-kind brunch service this weekend. The Kitsch team is packing up their gear and heading to Union Collective to serve a collaborative menu of chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, braised pork belly, and chicken liver mousse cream puffs alongside the Carroll & Son chefs. Stop by between 12 and 3 p.m. to get your Sunday-afternoon fix.