In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Ruth’s Chris; Joint Venture Pop-Up; The Charmery Honors Drake

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


Bar Vasquez: Earlier this week, Foreman Wolf Restaurant Group debuted this new Argentinian concept in the former Pazo space on Aliceanna Street. In a swift, four-week turnaround, local interior designer Katie DeStefano has replaced Pazo’s romantic reds with brighter décor (think Brazilian Tiger wood, 15-foot palm trees, and leaf mosaic stenciling) reminiscent of South American culture. Executive chef Mario Cano Catalán’s menu features fired meats, ceviches, empanadas, and traditional Argentinian street pizzas paired with an impressive array of Malbecs and craft cocktails. Mark your calendar for Bar Vasquez’s first official cocktail event on November 13, which will benefit Youth Works, an organization dedicated to employing the city’s youth. 1425 Aliceanna St., 410-534-7926

Five and Dime Ale House: Oliver Brewing owners Justin Dvorkin and Don Kelly opened the doors to their newest offshoot brewpub in the old Murphy’s five-and-dime store on the Avenue in Hampden last week. The aptly named ale house pays homage to the building’s former inhabitant by maintaining its original logos and tile work, but also features an upgraded interior with sleek wood bar tops, leather furniture, and hand painted murals. The new hangout boasts 40 draft taps (15 of which are Oliver beers) and a menu full of upscale pub grub including burgers, pizzas, tacos, and salads. 901 W. 36th St., 443-835-2179

Wicked Sisters: In other Hampden news, this new dining destination from the owners of Alexander’s Tavern and Huck’s American Craft opened in the former McCabe’s building on Falls Road earlier this week. Though the space was severely damaged in a fire a few years back, it has been completely revamped, now boasting a brand new interior and its own game room with shuffleboard and multiple flat-screen TVs. Under the helm of executive chef Jason Horwitz, the menu will highlight an array of soups and salads, heartier lunch and dinner entrees, and the spot’s soon-to-be claim to fame, raclette (a slab of gooey cow’s milk cheese scraped right off the wheel and served tableside). 3845 Falls Road, 410-467-1000

Zoë’s Kitchen: On the heels of welcoming the likes of Bar Louie, Mission BBQ, and Smashburger, the brand new mixed-use Foundry Row development in Owings Mills debuted this Mediterranean outpost yesterday. The new eatery, which marks the Texas-based chain’s 200th location, offers a variety of kabobs, hummus, and pita sandwiches stuffed with everything from Greek chicken with caramelized onions to rosemary ham with lemon vinaigrette. 10130 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills, 410-908-2088


Clementine: After taking a year hiatus to focus on catering private events, husband-and-wife owners Winston Blick and Cristin Dadant realized that the pull of the restaurant business was too strong. Now, the duo is planning to reopen Clementine, their homey comfort food spot on Harford Road, with an updated bar program, a retail section for growler fills and prepared foods to-go, and a rotating menu of locally sourced small plates. If all goes well with fundraising (the owners hope to raise $40,000 to replenish their inventory and spruce up the interior) the space could be up and running again by Thanksgiving. 5402 Harford Road, 410-444-1497


A Taste of Hampden: Next week, Hampden’s tight-knit food scene is coming together on November 3 to raise money for the Hampden Family Center, which provides everything from after-school programs to senior support services. Mingle with neighbors, chat with chefs, and indulge in more than 20 tasting dishes from the likes of Blue Pit BBQ, Café Cito, Harmony Bakery, Ma Petite Shoe, Play Café, Birroteca, and Rocket to Venus. The Ideal Arts Space, 905 W. 36th St., $40

Joint Venture Supper Series: New York-based pop-up king Danny Newberg is paying a visit to Charm City next week to prepare a two-part dinner series emphasizing wood-fired cuisine. Working side by side with chef Spike Gjerde, Newburg will kick things off with a fish and vegetable-heavy meal at Artifact Coffee on November 2, followed by an outdoor patio party around Parts & Labor’s fireplace on November 3, complete with sharable charcuterie boards and plenty of warm cider to go around. Multiple locations including 1500 Union Ave., 410-235-1881

The Charmery Honors Drake: It’s been a great year for Drake, the multi-platinum performer whose album Views recently eclipsed 1 billion streams online, and The Charmery is paying tribute the only way it knows how. As an homage to the rapper’s Instagram handle (@champagnepapi), the Hampden ice cream parlor is churning out a limited-edition flavor fusing a Dom Pérignon base with poppy seeds throughout. The flavor will be available starting today while supplies last. 801 W. 36th St., 410-814-0493


Ruth’s Chris: After 24 years in business, Ruth’s Chris Steak House on Water Street has shuttered its doors. Steve de Castro, CEO of Big Steaks Management, which operates multiple Ruth’s Chris locations along the East Coast, said in a press release that the main reasons behind the closure are due to “changing marketplace dynamics.” The special occasion spot was best known for its meat and potatoes offerings and upstairs Havana Club, which took a major hit after the state’s smoking ban took effect in 2008. 600 Water St., 410-783-0033