Summer may be (unofficially) over, but so far the fall is looking busy for Greater Baltimore’s bars and restaurants.
This week I’ve got a packed column for you, with new restaurant openings in Severna Park and Timonium, liquor board updates on projects in Fells Point, Hamilton and Poppleton, and even a lawsuit involving a local brewery.
Anne Arundel County will gain a new sports bar this weekend, just in time for football season. JB’s, a sports-themed bar and restaurant from the 206 Restaurant Group, opens Sept. 11 in Severna Park’s Park Plaza shopping center. The restaurant group, which also owns Oliver Brewing Co., Pratt Street Ale House near Camden Yards, the Five and Dime Ale House in Hampden and other local restaurants, is planning a “high-energy” atmosphere with “a lot of TVs and a lot of approachable food,” partner Justin Dvorkin told me this spring. “We want to be the place you come because your kid just scored a touchdown,” he said. The 6,000-square-foot space will seat 185 to 200 people indoors and also has an outdoor seating area. 566 Governor Ritchie Highway, Severna Park.
Cold-pressed juice and smoothie chain Pure Raw Juice has opened a new location in Baltimore County. The new Timonium spot, which launched Sept. 9, is light and airy with high ceilings, a colorful mural featuring citrus fruits and plants sprinkled throughout. Besides juices and smoothies, the shop also serves up acai bowls, oatmeal bowls and coffee. The chain has other locations in Hampden, Federal Hill, Locust Point, Towson and Bel Air, and a Canton store is opening soon on South Haven Street. 10015 York Road, Suite A1, Timonium.
Baltimore’s liquor board approved licenses for a few new projects at its Sept. 2 meeting, while putting another on hold to allow for more community discussion. Here’s a rundown:
Luna Garden: This Fells Point cafe taking over the former Baby’s On Fire space next to the Sound Garden record shop used to be called The Moon Garden, but went through a name change after Blue Moon Cafe owner Sarah Simington left the project — initially announced as a collaboration between her and Sound Garden owner Bryan Burkert. Simington’s departure sparked a transfer of the cafe’s beer and wine license out of her name, too. Jascelyn Jones, the general manager at nearby rock tavern The Rockwell (also run by Burkert) is the new licensee at Luna Garden, which will still serve up paninis, sandwiches, fresh salads, beer and wine when it opens. Simington told me she parted ways with Burkert on the project earlier this year because “it’s just not a good fit.” “I’m a sole proprietor kind of gal,” she said, and “I wish them the best.”
The Hamilton Sports Bar & Grill is another step closer to opening, but not before making some concessions to the community. Liquor board commissioners approved a license for the bar and restaurant, which will replace the former Los Rancheros Restaurant in Northeast Baltimore’s Hamilton-Lauraville neighborhood, with the condition that the business abides by agreements with local residents that include installing and maintaining exterior lighting, keeping sidewalks clear of trash and only offering alcohol to-go if it is accompanied by a food order. Some community members also hoped the restaurant would close earlier than the 2 a.m. closing allowed by its liquor license, but owner Dante Harrison said he didn’t want to commit to closing by midnight, as the neighbors asked, due to the possibility that sports games could run later than that.
License approval for another project will have to wait a little longer due to community concerns. Uncorked @ Poppleton, a 477-square-foot beer, wine and cheese store planned in the CenterWest development in West Baltimore’s Poppleton neighborhood, will return for another license hearing Sept. 23 after commissioners asked developer La Cité to meet with nearby residents to explain the project and answer their questions. Neighbors said they feel left out of the loop on the 3.2 million-square-foot project, which will also feature more than 1,800 housing units (a mix of rentals, homes and townhouses), as well as hotels, a shopping center and office space. “We didn’t really have enough time to actually go out into the community and talk about this new venture that’s trying to come to Poppleton,” said neighbor Sonia Eaddy. “We had people who had a lot of questions… I believe we should have the right to know what’s coming into our neighborhood.”
Flying Dog, the Frederick brewery behind popular beers like Dead Rise, The Truth and Numero Uno, is headed to court again over censorship. The cheeky brand has ruffled feathers before with risque beer names like “Raging Bitch” and “Doggie Style,” and emerged victorious after a 2015 lawsuit against the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, which rejected the “Raging Bitch” label for being “detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the general public.” This time around, the brewery is taking on the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission over a label the commission judged as in “bad taste.” Our sister paper, the Triangle Business Journal, has the full story.
Rise Southern Biscuits is introducing a new way to pick up your food. The chain’s new heated locker system is like an Amazon locker for your meal: customers who order online or from a QR code outside the restaurant can retrieve their food from a glass locker that keeps meals warm and contact points minimal. Rise locations in Towson and Columbia are among the first to adopt the new pick-up method, the company said.
Travelers at BWI Airport now have the option of ordering food without leaving their spot in the terminal. The airport recently launched GateWaiter, a mobile meal delivery service, that lets people order from airport shops and restaurants and have the goods brought to them. At BWI, more than a dozen restaurants and some retail outlets are participating, according to a press release, and customers can choose to pick up their orders at the counter for free or have them delivered anywhere in the airport for a fee. The website, BWIGateWaiter.com, also offers estimated order and wait times.