In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Café Dear Leon; Snow Cone Sisters; Hungry Like the Wolfe

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

Café Dear Leon: Canton locals have fallen for this new coffee-and-pastry spot that opened earlier this month in the former home of Holy Crepe Cafe on O’Donnell Square. From the wooden benches and countertops to the almond croissants and oat pecan chocolate chip cookies, everything is made by the owners from scratch. Named after co-owner Min Kim’s son, Leon, the bright and airy shop offers a coffee and tea program with blends sourced from Ceremony Coffee Roasters, as well as morning pastries, house-made granola bars, loaf cakes, and traditional Japanese egg sandwiches.

Snow Cone Sisters: Perhaps one of the most creative COVID-19 pivot projects we’ve seen yet comes from chef John Shields and his team at Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen at the Baltimore Museum of Art. While the museum is still closed, last week, curators debuted a mobile audio tour for visitors to browse its exterior buildings, sculptures, and exhibits. And to ensure audiences have a spot to grab some sustenance while taking in the works, Gertrude’s is launching an outdoor snack kiosk on Saturday, August 15. Snow Cone Sisters—aptly named after the BMA’s famous Cone Collection of early to mid-20th century works gifted by sisters Etta and Claribel Cone—will be open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to dusk, serving gourmet hot dogs and kielbasa on housemade milk bread rolls and, of course, the namesake snow cones. Cool off with flavors such as Tutti Frutti, birthday cake, chocolate-covered cherry, and Key Lime pie. Gertrude’s is also open for outdoor dining and carryout if you’d like to enjoy a more filling meal on the grounds or grab one on your way home.

Hungry Like the Wolfe: Cleverly named after its location on South Wolfe Street, this new pop-up from former Fork & Wrench chefs Cyrus Keefer and Adam Scanlon has taken over the Red Star in Fells Point. Available for outdoor dining and carryout, the menu of riffs on classic tavern fare makes use of produce from Monkton’s Karma Farm. Highlights include a cherry tomato and sourdough salad with fresh basil, maple-sriracha fried chicken wings, a Juicy Lucy burger stuffed with bleu cheese, and a French bread pizza topped with mushrooms and gruyere.

Cafe 1908: This seafood-centric spot has received a warm welcome from the Mt. Vernon neighborhood, thanks to its drool-worthy crab cakes, lobster rolls, seafood salad wraps, turkey burgers, and vegan options. The longtime caterer now offers daily specials—expect mix-and-match cauliflower, shrimp, jerk chicken, or fish tacos on Tuesdays, for example—out of its new permanent storefront at 7 W. Preston St.

The Periodic Table Restaurant & Bar: If you’re in search of an al fresco spot to try in Howard County, add this new Columbia restaurant to your list. Equipped with distanced outdoor tables, as well as indoor seating, the restaurant off of Centre Park Drive is officially open with a menu of seasonal cocktails, local beers (look out for the likes of Diamondback Beer and Denizens Brewing Co.), small plates, and burgers. Plus, hearty main dishes include Gochujang-glazed pork belly and grilled swordfish with lump crab and Thai basil cream.


The Urban Oyster: Loyalists were heartbroken when chef Jasmine Norton announced that she would be closing her brick-and-mortar restaurant at McHenry Row in Locust Point last month. But luckily, the chef assured this wasn’t the last we’d see of her. And as she continues her search for another permanent home, Norton will be operating out of the Hyatt Baltimore Inner Harbor just a few miles away. Beginning August 20, fans will be able to enjoy The Urban Oyster’s signature oysters, tacos, sandwiches, and fried seafood baskets for curbside carryout and delivery via Grubhub and Doordash.


8/14: Courtyard Cocktails with Cane Collective

If you haven’t had the chance to stop by Old Line Spirits’ new outdoor courtyard in Highlandtown, now’s your chance. Aaron Joseph of Cane Collective is taking over the bar this Friday night to showcase refreshing summer cocktails that fuse his handcrafted mixers with Old Line’s whiskey, rum, and brand new vodka. Cane Collective’s Tropical Green Orchard mixer (green apple syrup, lime, and Wight tropical tea), for example, pairs perfectly with the distillery’s single malt whiskey. Plus, Ekiben will be on site slinging steamed buns and rice bowls to accompany all of the drinks.