Water for Chocolate’s Hangover Omelette. The restaurant is taking part in the Black Restaurant Challenge. Photo by Arli Lima
Water for Chocolate’s Hangover Omelette. The restaurant is taking part in the Black Restaurant Challenge. Photo by Arli Lima

-New restaurants and expansions in Baltimore include: Fells Point’s Pie In The Sky (716 S. Broadway) in the former location of Mare Nostrum; a second location for the Baltimore Soup Company (2 E. Wells St.); the recently renovated Walters Cafe in the Walters Art Museum (600 N. Charles St.); additions to Hollins Market (875 Hollins St.) where Pigtown’s Culinary Architecture opened Culinary Architecture Cafe and where Neopol Savory Smokery, also in Belvedere Square, is about to open up another location; a second location near Johns Hopkins Hospital for vegan soul food favorite Land Of Kush (840 N. Eutaw St.) has been announced for this year; once-shuttered soul food restaurant Darker Than Blue, which closed in 2013, will reopen in Northwood Plaza by Morgan State in 2019.

-Among the restaurants that have closed recently: Charles Village’s Paul Chen Hong Kong (2426 N. Charles St.), Federal Hill’s Metropolitan Coffee House & Bar (902 S. Charles St.), Canton’s Firehouse Coffee (1030 S. Linwood Ave.), and Dinosaur BBQ, the well-received chain with a location here in Harbor East at 1401 Fleet St. since fall of 2015. Belvedere Square Irish pub Ryan’s Daughter (600 E. Belvedere Ave.), which was open for 14 years, closed on Jan. 21, though a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page hinted at something else coming soon (“We see it as a chance to start something else and we might see you sooner than you think in another location”).

-Hampden’s Union Brewing is set to receive a $500,000 loan from the Baltimore Development Corporation to expand its space in Medfield/Hampden. Among the things the loan will help Union pay for is a new 60-barrel brewing system, which they first mentioned in May of last year.

-Dependable lunch spot Chickpea City (202 W. Read St.) has expanded its menu, adding some burgers including a kofta burger—a 6 oz. beef or lamb patty in the minced, meatloaf-like style of kofta. Topping options include whipped garlic sauce, tahini, hummus, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, mixed, pickles, hot peppers, beets, mediterranean salad, and shuttah (red pepper sauce).

-The Mondawmin Mall Target, whose closing was announced in November to much community outcry—and plenty of corporate apathy from Target—finally closes on Feb. 7 and with it goes not only a major shopping hub in West Baltimore but a place where many got affordable groceries. One possibility for the massive, soon-to-be-vacant building is for the city to acquire it and open a food hall in the style of R. House or Mount Vernon Marketplace, the Baltimore Business Journal reports.

-Related to another food desert oasis removed: Mayor Catherine Pugh’s recent decision to no longer use the term “food deserts” but instead to call them “healthy food priority areas.” Pugh claims the change is due to accuracy because indeed, places where food deserts exist don’t simply lack food but healthy food specifically. Yeah sure, but it also feels like another way Pugh is obsessed with optics more than change. We won’t stop using the more evocative “food desert” term and we won’t stop wearing our “No Food Deserts” caps designed by rapper Greenspan and available at nofooddeserts.com.

-Feb. 9 is National Pizza Day and Ribaldi’s Pizza & Subs (3600 Keswick Road), once the location of Angelo’s, is one of the 8,000 pizza spots involved in Pizza Across America, a large-scale pizza donation initiative. Ribaldi’s donation will go to Baltimore’s Manna House (“a welcoming setting where the poor and homeless can enjoy a nutritious breakfast seven days a week”) located at 435 E. 25th St.

-CiderCon, which began on Jan. 30 continues through Feb. 2, mostly takes place in Harbor East’s Marriott Waterfront, but there are a whole bunch of public events around town listed at ciderweekbaltimore.com.

-The Black Restaurant Challenge begins on Feb. 3 and runs through Feb. 25 with black-owned restaurants across the city offering discounts, specials, and more.

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