This time around, we’re happy to report that most of the recent buzz in the ever-changing Charm City restaurant scene is about openings rather than closings. Here’s what’s new:
Herb & Soul Express: With its weekends-only schedule and frequent appearances at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market, Herb & Soul Gastro Cafe has made a name for itself in the community spanning far beyond its Parkville roots. Presumably, this is why the restaurant has recently expanded into a second location inhabiting the former Cosmos space in Hamilton. Although the new location offers only carryout and delivery services, Herb & Soul Express still features all of the Southern fusion specialties available on the menu of the dine-in location. Mix up your normal takeout routine with comfort foods like chicken and waffles, Buffalo wings, and catfish or shrimp po’ boys. 5429 Harford Road, 410-426-2775
Bagby Pizza Company: The Bagby Restaurant Group continues its expansion into the county with a new Bagby Pizza location slated to open in Pikesville this spring. The new location in the Festival at Woodholme shopping center will feature the company’s signature thin-crust pizzas while throwing a new menu concept into the mix. Guests will be able to choose from items categorized in the “The Way You Want It” section, allowing them to create their own pies, or “The Way We Do It” section, choosing from the chef’s favorite combinations. 1809 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville
Gibby’s East: Gibby’s has been a providing locals with the freshest affordable seafood in the area for years, and recently it has expanded to Havre de Grace. Whether you’re looking for Maryland crabs by the bushel or a platter full of crab cakes, scallops, and steamed shrimp, Gibby’s can now accommodate customers from across the region. 921 Pulaski Highway, Havre de Grace, 410-939-9625.
On the Border: While the restaurant scene in Canton surely isn’t lacking, this new addition will definitely spice things up. The Shops at Canton Crossing has recently welcomed On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, and this marks the well-known chain’s first location in Baltimore. On December 15, the 217-seat space opened its doors, serving up sizzling Tex-Mex fare beneath the light of its signature beer-bottle chandeliers. The space also features a spacious cantina, mimicking typical sports bar spaces, and an outdoor patio area for the warmer months. 3803 Boston St, 667-401-1763
Pizza Studio: In keeping with the of-the-moment create your own pizza trend, former Maryland residents Ron Biskin and Samit Varma are bringing their California-based restaurant Pizza Studio back to their hometown. The first location in the region will open in Charles Village in early January. The “Create Your Own Masterpiece” part of the menu showcases fresh toppings that diners can use to customize their own personal pies, and the “Starving Artist” section prices classic favorites like pepperoni and Margherita pizzas at only $5.99. 3201 St. Paul St.
Pique: Cyrus Keefer fans will be happy to hear that the former Fork & Wrench chef is opening a French- and-Asian inspired restaurant called Pique in Hampden this March. If you can’t wait until spring to find out what Keefer has up his sleeve, Pique’s menu will be previewed at a pop-up at Sotto Sopra on January 22
Family Meal: It’s been a great year for Bryan Voltaggio, and things are looking even better for the Top Chef alum in 2015. We thought we were going to have to wait until later this month to check out Voltaggio’s latest venture, but the chef’s second Family Meal location will be opening ahead of schedule in the former Houlihan’s space on January 2. As its name denotes, Voltaggio’s American diner-inspired spot focuses on traditional comfort food that pays homage to his home state by fusing local ingredients into its entrees. Shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and soft-shell crab sandwiches are all examples of the comforting fare to be featured at this harbor side restaurant. 621 E. Pratt St., 410-601-3242