In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Baltimore Spirits Company; Baba’s Market; Alma Cocina Latina

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


Baltimore Spirits Company to Debut Cocktail Bar: The team at this award-winning spirits supplier—which has long been at the forefront of the conversation to pass legislation allowing distilleries to serve cocktails—has plans to upgrade its tasting room next year. Come 2021, visitors will be able to sample much more than small pours at BSC’s new cocktail bar opening next to the distillery at Union Collective. “Everyone has been asking us ‘when?’ and I couldn’t be happier to finally be able to say, ‘now’,” co-founder and CEO Max Lents said in a statement. Featuring its own exterior entrance, the new bar will be sandwiched between Vent Coffee Roasters and The Wine Collective, serving cocktails that feature BSC favorites such as Shot Tower gin and Epoch rye whiskey. Plus, expect drink tutorials, whiskey-blending classes, product tastings, and bottle sales in the new digs. “I can’t wait to finally have a space to serve drinks, host parties, and teach people about our industry and company,” sums up Lents. 

Crepe Crazy: As if Cross Street Market in Federal Hill didn’t already have plenty to love, a new stall selling crepes and bistro fare will join the lineup in September. Showcasing a mid-century modern vibe with white marble countertops and pops of orange and yellow, the cafe in between Steve’s Lunch and SoBeachy Haitain Cuisine will offer an array of traditional crepes, as well as paninis, salads, soups, French wines, and mimosas. But Crepe Crazy will do much more than just peddle its sweet and savory bites. The mission behind the deaf-owned business—started by owners Vladimir and Inna Giterman in Austin, Texas in 2007—is to support the local deaf and hard of hearing community by offering jobs and understanding the challenges deaf people face in the workforce. The Texas-based cafe is being brought to Baltimore by franchisees Ruslan and Betsie Kulikov, who have been vending at festivals in Maryland since 2015.

Wacky Waffles Cafe: Speaking of alliterative sweet shops, this new cafe is on track to open one block north of Patterson Park this fall. The focus? You guessed it: waffles. Charm City native Devon Jones established Wacky Waffles as a catering company five years ago, and got his start with pop-ups at festivals and farmers markets. Now, he’s renovating the space at 40 N. Streeper St. to become the brand’s first brick and mortar. Be on the lookout for classic waffles served with tons of toppings when the shop debuts in October.


Baba’s Kitchen and Market: In the next few weeks, Baba’s Mediterranean Kitchen owner Farid Salloum plans to transform the dining room at his neighborhood fixture into a grab-and-go market that offers prepared soups and salads, deli meats, cheeses, olives, baked breads, produce, eggs, and a variety of refrigerated dips. But fans of Salloum’s famous pitas, kabobs, and mezze plates have no need to worry. The regular menu will still be available for carryout (as it is currently) once the market officially opens. 

Dangerously Delicious Pies Hampden: In yet another creative pandemic pivot, Baltimore’s resident “pie guy” Rodney Henry has acquired a liquor license for his Hampden location on the Avenue. According to reporting by The Baltimore Sun, Henry is revamping the concept to include beer, wine, cocktails and an expanded menu of savory entrees that diners can enjoy al fresco. “I love pie, trust me,” he told The Sun, “but you gotta keep things interesting and be excited about what you’re doing.” He hopes to reopen the shop, which has been solely offering delivery since March, next month. 


8/29: Suckling Pig Roast at Clavel
Clavel chef/co-owner Carlos Raba recently took a trip to his hometown in Culiacán, Sinaloa, and, lucky for us, it inspired him to host a full-blown feast at the restaurant this weekend. Raba will be filling Clavel’s handmade tortillas with roasted suckling pig and “culichi” fish from noon to 8 p.m. (or sellout.) Tacos can be ordered on site to enjoy outside or you can opt to carry out a family kit and reheat them at home. 

8/29: Hue Cafe & Apothecary Pop-Up
This yet-to-open vegan street food spot in Towson is hosting its very first pop-up this weekend. Gather at Walther Gardens from 12-6 p.m. to chow down on jackfruit carnitas tacos and loaded black bean nachos with jerk shrooms while sipping refreshing hibiscus tea. The event will act as a soft rollout for the forthcoming eatery and apothecary, set to open soon on Burke Avenue. Stay tuned for more details. 


Alma Cocina Latina: Husband-and-wife owners Mark Demshak and Irena Stein took to Instagram to announce that their beloved Venezuelan restaurant, which takes inspiration from Stein’s roots in Caracas, will soon shutter its doors after more than five years of serving authentic arepas, colorful cocktails, and artfully plated entrees at the Canton Can Company. But we’re sure this isn’t the last we’ll see of Alma. The owners hinted at a possible move in the post, while thanking diners for their support and confirming that the restaurant’s partnership with Mera Kitchen Collective will continue to feed those in need throughout the pandemic. “Our destination is not confirmed yet,” the post reads. “We will keep you posted.”