CH CH CHANGES
Ouzo Beach: Once the warmer temperatures roll in this spring, Ouzo Bay in Harbor East will debut its own 120-seat waterfront venue across Lancaster Street. Aptly named Ouzo Beach, the expansion will further the restaurant’s Mediterranean mission with touches like villa-inspired lounge seating, palm trees, blue stone, and a 75-foot long wooden trellis. The outdoor hangout will also have its own bar and serve the same menu as the restaurant, which highlights whole grilled fish, lamb dishes, and other authentic Greek specialties.
As planning continues, the interior of Ouzo Bay is also getting a refresh this month. The restaurant will be closed through January 9 for upgrades including new flooring, a DJ booth, and basket-woven light fixtures made in Greece. All of the changes coincide with the hiring of new general manager Rita Lymperopoulos, a local hospitality veteran who was a former operating partner of now-closed Della Notte in Little Italy. “We are excited to welcome Rita into the Atlas Restaurant Group family,” said CEO Alex Smith in a statement. “In addition to being an expert on Greek cuisine and culture, she also has a wonderful reputation as a first-class restaurant operator and is familiar with the local community.” 1000 Lancaster St. 443-708-5818
Mexican on the Run: Big things are already happening for this fan-favorite taco truck in 2019. Owner Jimmy Longoria recently scored a 2008 Chevy, which will act as a sibling truck for his current kitchen-on-wheels that dates back to 1985. “Basically we have an OG and a millennial on our hands now,” Longoria quipped on Instagram. The plan is for the new truck to focus on Mexican seafood dishes inspired by Longoria’s upbringing in Los Angeles. “I grew up eating seafood as much as tacos,” he tells us. By offering eats like ceviche, shrimp cocktail, and octopus tostadas, Longoria hopes to highlight the similarities between Baltimore’s seafood staples and the Mexican iterations.
In addition to landing the new truck, Mexican on the Run is also planning to move into its own commissary kitchen in Towson later this month. The prep space will allow the team to not only expand the menu, but also accept more catering and farmers market gigs in the coming year. “I’m actually taking a solo trip back home to LA later this month,” Longoria says. He plans to visit 12 of the city’s top Mexican pop-ups, food trucks, and stalls ranked by Los Angeles magazine to help inspire the new menu. 443-800-3275
Imbibe Names Hollie Stephenson Beer Person of the Year: Heading up brewing operations for the new 62-acre Guinness facility in Halethorpe—the first on American soil in more than 60 years—is no easy feat. But head brewer Hollie Stephenson has hit the ground running, brewing batches of Guinness Blonde Ale, as well as outside-of-the-box styles like an apricot pale ale and Bulleit bourbon barrel-aged stout. Stephenson received some well-deserved praise this week when she was named Beer Person of the Year by Imbibe magazine, which reports that she is “making the venerable Guinness brand feel right at home in its new U.S. digs.”
We feel lucky to have the former D.C. resident, who worked for Highland Brewery in Asheville and Stone Brewing in San Diego before moving back to the area for the Guinness job. “Coming back and seeing this vibrant brewery community has been really exciting,” Stephenson told us in 2017. “Everyone has been super welcoming."
The Charmery Collabs With Baltimore in a Box: In perhaps the most Baltimore collaboration ever, ice cream institution The Charmery has teamed up with its Hampden neighbor, Baltimore in a Box, to create a flavor inspired by all things Charm City. The new scoop combines a sweet cream base with Otterbein’s chocolate chip cookies, Utz potato chips, and a Goetze’s Cow Tale for good measure. Sample the scoop at The Charmery’s flagship on the Avenue, as well as its other shops in Towson and Union Collective. Multiple locations including 801 W. 36th St. 410-814-0493
Atwater’s Soup Month: Atwater’s is kicking off its 20th anniversary year in style with this annual soup spectacular. Throughout January, diners who post photos of their soup (bowls range from split pea and roasted vegetable to white chicken chili and sweet potato bisque) using the hashtag #AtwatersSoup will be able to redeem points toward free items via the cafe’s mobile app. The team is also donating 10 percent of each quart sold to local charities, giving away free bowls for dine-in customers on January 23, and featuring “Customer Favorite Fridays” which let diners choose the varieties they would like to see on the menu at the end of the workweek. Multiple locations including 3601 Boston St. 667-309-7146
1/10: Origins: A Speaker Series This sustainability-focused speaker series is kicking off 2019 with a discussion about Maryland’s evolving medical marijuana industry. Chef Spike Gjerde will moderate the talk with panelists from Evermore Cannabis Company—Baltimore City's only licensed medical cannabis cultivator and processor. As with every Origins event, there will also be drinks, snacks, and a post-discussion dinner that encourages guests to engage with the speakers. Artifact Coffee. 1500 Union Ave. 6:30 p.m. $60