In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Ministry of Brewing; Ekiben; Sorrento of Arbutus

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

By Lauren Cohen | December 26, 2019, 2:53 pm

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Ministry of Brewing; Ekiben; Sorrento of Arbutus

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

By Lauren Cohen | December 26, 2019, 2:53 pm


Ministry of Brewing: Over the summer, we gave you a sneak peek at this new beer destination that has taken shape inside St. Michael’s Church in Upper Fells Point. Though locals were keeping their fingers crossed that the brewery would officially open last weekend, final inspections were still underway. But, to give antsy beer lovers a first taste at their signature brews, Ministry has taken over three taps at Canton’s Hudson Street Stackhouse with its “Wispy” hazy pale ale, “The Point” Czech pilsner, and “Old Maude” English brown ale. As for the actual space, the team is eager to open as soon as all the loose ends are tied up—which could be any day now.

Ekiben: The rumors are true. This week, Ekiben owners Steve Chu and Ephrem Abebe gave fans of their famous steamed bun sandwiches an early holiday present by confirming what the local food scene has been speculating for weeks now. Come early 2020, the Fells Point favorite will open a second eatery on the Avenue in Hampden. In a video posted to Instagram, the owners officially announced the new location that is reportedly taking over the former TigerStyle space in the alley behind Avenue Kitchen and Bar. The beloved Asian-fusion concept, which got its start at the Fells Point farmers’ market in 2014, has made a name for itself in the local dining scene—and beyond—for its staples like the Thai chicken meatballs, Taiwanese curry fried chicken, tofu nuggets in spicy peanut sauce, and tempura broccoli. Here’s hoping all of the signature dishes, and Ekiben's frequent food collaborations, will carry over in the new space.

Neo Pizza: Signage recently spotted above the former AJ’s Deli stall at Mount Vernon Marketplace indicates that this Maryland pizza chain—which has locations in Bel Air and Annapolis—will be opening in the space in the coming months. Neo Pizza specializes in wood-fired pies, craft beer, and worldly wines. Its current locations also offer smaller plates like meatballs and fried calamari, as well as salads, burgers, and club sandwiches. The communal market, which highlights everything from dumplings and charcuterie to Indian bowls and Greek fare, hasn’t seen a pizza spot since Cocina Al Volo closed earlier this year.


Sorrento of Arbutus: For more than 50 years, this neighborhood haunt has been the place to go for a quality slice in Arbutus. Owner Ella Kostinsky recently took to Facebook to announce that, although the restaurant will be sticking around for generations to come, she is planning to retire and pass the torch. “Change is inevitable and important in order to grow, and bring innovation within our community,” Kostinsky wrote. “I am excited to begin the next chapter in my life, and just as excited for the next chapter of Sorrentos.” In her message, she thanks longtime customers for their support, and assures that the new owner—who has more than 40 years of experience in the food business—will be preserving the spot’s name and secret pizza recipe. “I feel confident the new owner will grow the restaurant,” she said. “and that it will become even bigger and better.”


12/28: Battle of the Birdland Wing Festival
Back in its fourth year, this celebration of all things wings is taking over Delia Foley’s in Federal Hill this weekend. The price of admission includes two drink tickets, a bottomless wing buffet, live music, and cash bar specials from 12-4 p.m. But the main events are the wing-eating contests—the first of which will be a race to see who can demolish 30 wings in the shortest span of time. The following “Hellhound Challenge,” which unsurprisingly requires a waiver, will crown the first eater who finishes 10 flaming-hot wings in a sauce that clocks in at a base of 9 million Scolvill units—which are used to measure pungency.

2/23-25: The Charmery Presents Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
We know, we know—February feels like a lifetime away. But The Charmery’s full-sensory movie showings tend to sell out quickly, so this is one to have on your radar early. The ice cream factory at Union Collective has previously hosted screenings of films including The Princess Bride and Elf with accompanying themed treats, and now it’s transforming into a Hogwarts-themed wonderland. See the first movie in the Harry Potter franchise like you’ve never experienced it before with a self-served popcorn bar, special punch, and other treats that correlate with scenes in the movie. $30

Meet The Author

Lauren Cohen is the digital senior editor at Baltimore, where she covers food, events, lifestyle, and community news.

You May Also Like

In Good Taste

Without Reservation: Ben Lefenfeld of La Cuchara

We check in with area restaurants in these troubling times.

On The Town

Cinco de Mayo Specials to Liven Up Your Virtual Fiesta

Order to-go margaritas and other essentials from these local spots.

In Good Taste

Without Reservation: Dave and Tonya Thomas

Husband-and-wife duo, formerly of Ida B’s Table, talk about what’s next.

Food & Drink

Mt. Washington Tavern Pours One Out For The Preakness Stakes

Make your own Black-Eyed Susan with tips from owner Rob Frisch.

In Good Taste

Chelsea Gregoire Leaves True Chesapeake Oyster Co.

The hospitality veteran is devoting herself to full-time restaurant consulting.

On The Town

Outdoor Dining Parklets Are “Lifesavers” for Fells Point Bars and Restaurants

Community unites to help create al fresco seating using repurposed materials.

Connect With Us

Most Read

WTMD’s First Thursdays Go Virtual for the Rest of the Summer: The planned overhaul of the annual festival will be postponed until next year.

Boxer Yahu Blackwell Is An All-Everything Businessman: The 33-year-old Baltimore native is the owner of the new Rita’s Italian Ice in Hampden.

Five Things to Know About Democratic Mayoral Nominee Brandon Scott: The 36-year-old City Council President rallies past Sheila Dixon to win Democratic mayoral primary.

The Womanist Reader Creates an Online Library of Black Literature: A Baltimore writer curates an evolving list of women writers for her women followers.

How These Surprise Quarantine ‘Flower Bombs’ Are Helping Families in Need: The paper-plate flowers have become a massive fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House.