Eats and Drinks
Comings and Goings
The Charmery, Oliver Speck's, and Beatnik Bar
Published: July 17, 2013
For the Charmery, a grand opening celebration means simply opening the doors. In Hampden, that’s pretty much all it will take for an ice cream parlor. “We’ve gotten wonderful feedback from the community, there’s real excitement out there,” says Laura Alima, co-owner with her husband, David. The couple took over the vacant pharmacy at the corner of Chestnut and 36th, gutted the place, spruced it up with cheery paint and counters, and installed an Emery Thompson batch freezer, the Cadillac of small-batch makers. They’ll begin cranking out the cold stuff on July 20.
Using dairy from Trickling Springs Creamery, the Charmery has plans for a Baltimore-inspired menu, including Old Bay caramel, Berger cookies-and-cream, and lemon-stick sorbet. Look for the Fat Elvis: banana and peanut butter with a swirl of marshmallow. There will be sundaes and shakes and root beer floats made with Dominion root beer direct from Delaware. The Alimas are open to supplying local restaurants with the goods and are already talking to Paulie Gee’s, the annex to the famed Brooklyn pizza parlor soon to open across Chestnut in the old Hampden Republican Club. “The cool thing about small batches is you can churn out something really quickly and post a special,” says Laura. “Like if the Orioles beat the Yankees.” Hmm. Orange sherbet with macerated blueberries? The Charmery, 801 W. 36th St., thecharmery.com.
Former Top Chef contestant Jesse Sandlin, who named her pet pig Oliver Speck, has plans for a finger-lickin’ establishment for the former Vino Rosina space in Harbor East. Named after her pet (“not an eating pig”) and owned by Jim Lancaster, it will be a place for everyone, Sandlin says, “whether you come from the office in a tie or from a game in flip-flops and shorts.” The menu will include all things smoked and barbecued as well as seasonal vegetable dishes and salads. The restaurant will also revive the 16-legged burger, a Vino Rosina staple made with ground lamb, pork, beef, and bison that was discontinued after the first chef left the restaurant. Don’t worry about making a mess: The restaurant plans to stock up on napkins “that could easily transform into a bib.” Oliver Speck’s, 507 S. Exeter St., (410) 528-8600.
Tony Foreman remembers the Saturday suppers at his great-grandmother’s house. “Fried chicken was seminal,” says the Johnny’s co-owner and namesake (yes, Tony’s given name is John). His grandmother would shop at Lexington Market and prepare fried chicken livers and rice, pickled okra, and cornmeal-fried perch. Though few, if any, of those dishes will appear on Johnny’s new Sunday supper menu, those Saturday-night memories are the impetus. The prix-fixe seasonal menu ($24 per person) will be served family-style. Look for fresh tomatoes and peaches, fava beans, fried chicken, and maybe some veal. Chef Kiko Wilson’s kitchen sensibilities are more her native Guam than North Baltimore. “She’s been dying to do rice and beans in a pumpkin with Thai chili and rock shrimp,” says Foreman. Plus, you can ask for seconds. Johnny’s, 4800 Roland Ave., (410) 773-0777, johnnysdownstairs.com.
Fleet Street Kitchen is also introducing a prix-fixe Sunday supper, this one pulled from its delectable menu. “It’s a chance to do something more casual,” says David Seel, marketing director for the Bagby Restaurant Group. “We want people to know that coming here doesn’t need to be a special occasion.” The $42 prix fixe will be three courses derived from chef Chris Amendola’s regular repertoire and will be the only menu on offer, says Seel. 1012 Fleet St., (410) 244-5830, fleetstreetkitchen.com.
Meet the Beatnik
For the less well-heeled gourmets among us, the Beatnik Bar and Restaurant opened last week in Station North, serving up shrimp-and-fried lotus tacos with tofu salad and a fried egg in a nest (the nest being a bowlful of noodles). The latter cost only $4—less than the still affordably priced cocktails, like the $7 bitter melon martini or the $5 chocolate cherry martini. Check its well-attended Facebook page for days and hours of operation. Beatnik Bar and Restaurant, 2101 Maryland Ave., (410) 400-0022, facebook.com/bmorebeatnik.
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