12 New and Renovated Restaurants in Hampden
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Named one of the top hipster neighborhoods by Forbes and Thrillist, Hampden is known for its retro cool vibe, independent coffee houses and serious dining, attracting some of the city’s best restaurateurs. The area’s dining scene is benefiting from adaptive reuse projects Mill No. 1, where the team behind Donna’s will open a Sicilian restaurant, and Meadow Mill, where La Cuchara’s Basque cuisine has been a hit since opening in April. Here’s a look at 12 New and Expanding Restaurants; we’ve included adjacent Woodberry and the Jones Falls Valley.
1. Wicked Sisters
Charlie and Lori Gjerde are opening this "upscale tavern" January '16, serving craft burgers, steaks and craft beers in the former McCabe's spot on Falls Road, Lori says. The husband-and-wife team are spending $500k to renovate the space, which was ravaged in a fire late last year. Wicked Sisters will initially seat 60 on the first floor with a future expansion onto the second.
The owners of Donna's Cafe are bringing Sicilian cuisine late fall to Mill No. 1, a former cotton mill that Terra Nova Ventures LLC is converting into apartments, offices and retail. But don't think The Godfather, says Alan Hirsch, who co-owns the Charles Village and Cross Keys cafés with Donna Crivello. Think seafood, culinary influences from North Africa and wood-fired pizza. "It's a really spectacular, one-of-a-kind location," Alan says. The 200-seat restaurant will include outdoor seating overlooking the Jones Falls. Construction and renovation on the space will top $1M, Alan says.
3. Paulie Gee's Hampden
Paulie Gee's Hampden is getting close to serving its New York-style pizza too: The logo is up and the wood-fired pizza ovens have been installed at 3535 Chestnut Ave. The menu includes soups, salads, desserts and an array of vegan pizza options.
4. Daniela's Cafe and Bakery
The owner of Daniela Pasta & Pastries on The Avenue is renovating two rowhouses to open Daniela's Cafe & Bakery at 822-824 W 36th St. Daniela Useli's 80-seat restaurant will serve ravioli, lasagna and desserts, including gluten- and dairy-free options.
5. Play Café Baltimore
Started by two working parents, Play Café Baltimore opened on Chestnut Avenue in June, offering a space for adults to sip coffee, and activities and games for kids up to age 5. The menu appeals to grownups and kids alike, with sandwiches, salads and PB&J.
Forget for a moment that a Google search for #foodies yields 33 million results. There's only one that you care about if you're looking for a place to eat falafel and drink locally brewed kombucha in Hampden. Owner Pauline Guiragoss, who also owns Canton's Gitan Bistro Cru, opened the Hickory Avenue restaurant in April.
7. La Cuchara
Since opening in April, La Cuchara has quickly assumed its place at the top of Baltimore's dining scene with its Basque-inspired cuisine serving small plates, or pintxos. Located in the historic Meadow Mill complex, La Cuchara's sleek design is marked by a massive grand entrance, open kitchen, and wood and stainless steel bar in the center.
8. 13.5% Wine Bar
It's been six years since 13.5% Wine Bar opened on The Avenue. And while it was an instant hit, it's facing a lot more competition—just look at all the places featured in this slideshow. "Stagnation is death," owner Wayne Laing says. Wayne refreshed the space, adding front doors that open up during warmer months for that indoor-outdoor "European dining experience." Cyrus Keefer, formerly at Birroteca and Fork and Wrench, has designed a global menu with dishes like sous vide octopus and French bread pizza with escargot and chorizo.
The inventive French and New American BYOB restaurant on Chestnut Avenue opened in winter, serving a prix-fixe menu that changes weekly. Get three courses at Aromes for $45 or all six for $65.
10. Corner Restaurant and Charcuterie Bar
Chef and owner Bernard Dehaene recently merged Corner BYOB and Corner Charcuterie Bar and revamped the menu to include more small plates. Corner Restaurant and Charcuterie Bar also now has a terrace.
11. Harmony Bakery
Since opening in April, Harmony Bakery has been serving gluten-free goodies on Chestnut Avenue. Doughnuts, tarts, salads and vegan pastries are all on the menu.
12. Golden West
Hampden mainstay Golden West started catering to the night owls and early risers in April when it debuted its takeout window, serving tacos, espresso, waffles and nachos.