In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Fornicolli’s; Checkerspot Brewing; Patterson Public House

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


Fornicolli’s: There’s a new spot to grab late-night slices after last call on weekends in Federal Hill. The team behind Das Bier Haus on Light Street has transformed the space next door into a traditional Italian eatery and carry-out. Helmed by chef Mark Dunaway—formerly of now-closed Regi’s American Bistro up the street—the menu features staples like pizza, a classic Caesar salad, chicken parmesan, baked ziti, and an Italian cold cut sub, as well as snacks like Buffalo cauliflower and fried cheese steak eggrolls. The shop is open for dinner service weekly and extends its hours until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 1538 Light St., 443-439-5137

Checkerspot Brewing: Husband-and-wife brewers Rob and Judy Neff (who has her Ph.D in microbiology), and their business partner Steve Marsh—who founded the cask program at Heavy Seas Beer a decade ago—will finally open their South Baltimore taproom to the public on Saturday, June 30 at 12 p.m. Complete with driftwood, hanging plants, and old farm pulleys, the brewery aims to bring the outside in. “We really wanted to celebrate where beer ingredients come from,” Neff says. “We’re trying to bring nature and the city together all in one place.” Checkerspot’s beers make use of ingredients from local farms like Baugher’s in Reisterstown. There’s also a cask-conditioned Keeper’s Stout, which is fortified with crab shells from J.M. Clayton Seafood Company. Other drafts to look out for throughout opening weekend include the Juniperus juniper IPA, Southside pale ale, and Saison de Fleur. 1399 S. Sharp St.

18-8 Sushi: On the heels of The Local Fry’s grand opening, The Rotunda in Hampden also welcomed this new sushi spot last week. Diversifying the dining options in the mixed-use development, 18-8 offers bento boxes, various protein entrees, and a lengthy list of colorful rolls ranging from a classic California to a “Red Diamond” with crab, salmon, tuna, and avocado in a pink soy wrapper with mango sauce. 727 W. 40th St, Ste. 138. 410-889-1888

Button: Scott Plank’s luxe pool bar opened to the public earlier this summer, and now, the team is unveiling the pool’s accompanying restaurant. Opening on July 2, the neighborhood cafe and bar on the waterfront will feature a menu from chef Allysa Storms with salads and grain bowls, wood-fired pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and heartier entrees like Cajun Chesapeake rockfish. The laid-back spot highlights harborside seating, as well as an elevated dining deck overlooking the marina at Lighthouse Point. 2760 Lighthouse Point, 410-675-8888

The Charmery: The new Union Collective makerspace in Medfield has been gradually introduced to the public over the past few weeks. Earth Treks’ bouldering gym opened in early June and Union’s taproom debuted soon after. Now, The Charmery is ready to unveil its third retail location in the space—which also houses an expanded production kitchen that will make ice cream for all three of the shop’s locations. Officially opening on Monday, July 2, the new space is as whimsical as The Charmery’s ice cream flavors (think egg custard and the cereal-infused “Saturday Morning Cartoons”), boasting a coin-activated ice cream cone ride, giant Rube Goldberg crank-operated machine, and ice cream truck seating booth—all created by local artists and designers. 1700 W. 41st St.

The Pizza Trust: Belvedere Square Market’s newest pizza purveyor opened to rave reviews from neighborhood locals last week. The stall owned by James Clark—who also operates Clark Burger inside the Senator Theatre up the street—offers wings, fries, salads, and quick-fired pizzas in signature varieties like the “Double Double” (red sauce, double cheese and pepperoni), “Dirty Bird” (white sauce, herbed chicken, bacon bits, and bleu cheese), and the “Funcle,” topped with truffled white sauce, wild mushrooms, caramelized shallots, and shaved parmesan. 529 E. Belvedere Ave., 443-961-8111


Nori: Hampden locals might have noticed a new sign towering over the former Corner Charcuterie Bar while strolling on The Avenue recently. The space will soon debut as Nori Sushi Bar, a spinoff from the former owners of Ruby 8 Noodles and Sushi at McHenry Row in Locust Point. According to reports by Baltimore Fishbowl, the spot is aiming for a grand opening next month, complete with sushi, rice dishes, noodles, and traditional Korean rice bowls. 850 W. 36th St.

Patterson Public House: The Patterson Park community was at a loss when longtime neighborhood spot BistroRx closed its doors in the spring. But now, locals Tanya Gralto and Scott Lanphear are reopening the space as Patterson Public House—a tavern serving bar classics and locally sourced seasonal fare. Though the spot isn’t expected to debut until mid-July, the team is hosting a pop-up at R. House in Remington this week to give locals a sneak peek of what’s to come. Swing by the stall from now until July 8 to taste burgers, fries, and classic half-smokes from the restaurant’s new chefs Scott Bacon—formerly of the Brewer’s Art—and Cai Lindeman, who cut his chops at The Dabney in Washington, D.C. 301 W. 29th St.


Gather Baltimore: This local organization that distributes its signature blue bags of surplus produce to city residents in need has officially moved from its original location on Sisson Street in Remington to 4800 Harford Road—which is also the site of Hamilton-Lauraville’s Tuesday-evening farmers’ market. Gather Baltimore founder Arthur Morgan encourages locals to follow the organization’s Facebook page for information about when to retrieve the bags, which contain everything from asparagus and potatoes to peppers and pineapple this summer. 4800 Harford Rd.

Ekiben Fried Chicken Gets Nod from Southern Living: The national praise keeps on coming for Ekiben in Fells Point, whose signature steamed buns and rice bowls have recently been lauded by the likes of The Food Network and Eater. The acclaim continued earlier this week when the Korean-fusion shop was named on Southern Living’s list of the best fried chicken in every state. “If Southern Living says we have the best fried chicken in Maryland, we know we’ve got something special,” the owners posted to Instagram. “Thanks for the love y’all.” 1622 Eastern Ave., 410-558-1914


7/1: Crustacean Invasion at Mt. Washington Tavern
Mt. Washington’s neighborhood haunt is welcoming the summer in style by introducing a special menu of crab-inspired dishes that will run throughout the month of July. Be on the lookout for crab puffs, soft shell crab sandwiches, crab quiche, jumbo lump crab and parmesan rockfish filet, and a classic chicken Chesapeake. The menu will also be offered at the restaurant’s top-floor Skybar. 5700 Newbury St., 410-367-6903.

7/5: Tiki Thursdays at The Bluebird Cocktail Room
On Thursday evenings throughout the summer, this literary-themed cocktail bar in Hampden will be completely transformed into an island oasis. In addition, Bluebird’s regular offerings—its new summer menu features everything from a frozen absinthe frappe to a Midori sour over cotton candy—patrons can expect a special menu of tiki drinks, island music, and possibly a few Hawaiian shirts thrown in in for good measure. 3600 Hickory Ave., 667-303-3263

7/6: Sardegna Wine Dinner at Cinghiale
The team at this Northern Italian outpost in Harbor East is celebrating the island of Sardegna with a four-course wine dinner next week. Menu highlights will include grilled marinated mussels with capers and fennel, baked eggplant with ricotta and tomato, and traditional ricotta cake with honey pignoli gelato. Each course will be accompanied by a different pour inspired by the evening’s theme. 822 Lancaster St., 410-547-8282. 7 p.m. $89