In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Clean Juice; Michael’s Cafe; The Civil

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


Clean Juice: Located just a stone’s throw from CrossFit, REV Cycle Studio, and the Under Armour Performance Center, this new Locust Point juice bar has already become a favorite for post-workout fuel. Now open at McHenry Row, the first Maryland location of the North Carolina-based chain was brought to the neighborhood by former NFL safety (and Under Armour intern) Anthony Walters. He and his wife, Kaitlyn, offer a variety of juices, smoothies, açaí bowls, and signature toasts topped with everything from avocado to almond butter. Taking a Friends approach, the organic menu lists smoothie options like “The So Basic One” (almond milk, banana, maple syrup, and strawberries) and “The Coffee One,” mixing cold brew coffee with banana, dates, and almond milk. 1702 Whetstone Way.

Michael’s Cafe White Marsh: This decades-old Timonium staple known for its crab cakes, Crushes, live music, and spacious outdoor patio recently widened its footprint to White Marsh. The second location officially opened inside the Greenleigh at Crossroads development off White Marsh Boulevard last month. At about half the size of its flagship, the new space offers a slightly scaled back menu, but diners can still expect the same crab soup, colorful salads, raw oysters, prime cuts of meat, and jumbo lump crab cakes that have been passed down in owner Michael Dellis’ family for four generations. Similar to the original, the new Michael’s is also equipped with a fully stocked bar (everything from local beer and cocktails to an extensive list of rye and Irish whiskies) and plenty of flat screens for game-watching. 720 Concourse Circle, Middle River. 410-335-5370


The Civil: An elegant dining destination is taking shape in the former home of Warehouse 518 in Mt. Vernon, which briefly operated as G.A.Y. Lounge until the fall of 2017 when co-owners Robert Gay and Joshua Persing closed amid landlord disputes. Come spring, the building at 518 North Charles Street will debut as The Civil, a renovated concept featuring craft cocktails, New American brunch and dinner dishes, live DJ sets, and private VIP spaces on its mezzanine level. The renovation yields stylish upgrades such as refinished original wood floors, glass chandeliers, sleek black furniture, and pops of gold throughout. 518 N. Charles St.

Bentley’s: On the heels of Dear Globe Coffee opening on Antique Row in Mt. Vernon last summer, this new jazz club is also readying for a debut on the 800 block of North Howard Street. The former home of Cooker’s Music Bistro is being revamped by cousins Glenda Laws, Mark Bynum, and Glenn Bydume, along with their family friend Maurice Stokes. According to Baltimore Fishbowl, the vision is for the spot to be a modernized version of their family’s neighborhood bar from “back in the day.” Opening this spring, the full bar and restaurant will focus on fare with Southern, Asian, and Latino influences downstairs, and a lounge and bar for live music performances upstairs. 885-889 N. Howard St.

Refocused: Since New America closed its doors last year, its former diner aesthetic (regulars remember the checkered floors, counter seating, and local artwork) has been replaced with repurposed woods, earthy gray tones, and ring-shaped light fixtures. The cafe space on North Eutaw Street is being converted into Refocused, a plant-based palace from local owner Jerel Jefferies. Although the restaurant isn’t expected to open its doors until March, it will host a preview night on February 16 to coincide with the the this year’s Vegan Restaurant Week. Jefferies, who won the inaugural Vegan Mac-and-Cheese Smackdown in 2016, plans to serve vegan sandwiches, wraps, salads, burgers, and, of course, his dairy-free spin on the classic oven-baked mac and cheese. 429 N. Eutaw St.


3/1: Mardi Gras Masquerade
Mark your calendar for this festive Mardi Gras celebration benefiting the Living Classrooms Foundation’s BUGS Program—an after-school initiative which teaches students a combination of cooking, gardening, STEM, and creative arts. The New Orleans-inspired fundraiser at Ampersea in Fells Point will highlight creole cuisine, boozy hurricanes, raffles, live music by DJ Impulse and Black Dandelion, and desserts crafted by the restaurant’s executive chef Casey Williams. 1417 Thames St. 7-11 p.m. $70

3/4: Cocina con Amor Pop-Up at Ekiben
In a heartfelt message posted to social media earlier this week, the owners of Ekiben expressed their support for Fells Point neighbor Cocina Luchadoras—whose owner Rosalyn Vera received arson and personal death threats last week because of a political poster hanging inside her restaurant. “The Ekiben family wants to put this out there: Threats of violence against businesses who choose to express themselves genuinely and honestly will not fly here,” the post reads. “Not in Baltimore; not in our neighborhood.” To celebrate the diversity of the community, Vera and Ekiben chef Steve Chu are teaming up to host a one-time-only lunch pop-up that fuses the flavors of both restaurants. The event at Ekiben will run from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on March 4. “Ekiben is honest and quirky and creative in a way that we believe is uniquely Baltimorean,” the post reads. “This is because Baltimoreans recognize realness and authenticity over everything. And because Baltimoreans recognize the value in our differences.” 1622 Eastern Ave.