7 New Restaurants in Federal Hill
Federal Hill is known for its boisterous bars that attract weekend revelers—often to the consternation of local community groups and residents. But could a handful of prominent restaurateurs cement its reputation as a destination for foodies? Robbin Haas, Mohan Thapa and Steve Armenis are all opening dining spots in the area. The neighborhood had already gotten a boost when the swanky speakeasy Bookmakers Cocktail Club opened last year.
Here's a look at seven new restaurants in Federal Hill.
The long-awaited restaurant in the American Visionary Art Museum is almost here. Robbin Haas says he expects the 140-seat Encantada—Spanish for enchanted—will open the first week of July. Melanie Molinaro, formerly with Robbin’s Hampden restaurant Birroteca, is heading up the kitchen with vegetable-centric dishes like zucchini hummus with Aleppo pepper and sunchokes with tofu. Haas also operates Nickel Taphouse.
2. Himalayan Bistro
Mohan Thapa and business partner Danny Gurung are opening this 130-seat Indian and Nepalese restaurant by the end of July at 1030 Light St, in a building owned by Klein Enterprises. Mohan says he expects to spend nearly $500k to renovate the gutted space, the site of a former 7-Eleven. He’s no stranger to the South Asian restaurant biz. He and his business partner own Masala Kitchen (pictured), which opened May 1 in Charles Village. Mohan owned downtown Nepalese restaurant Kumari but sold it in 2010. Himalayan Bistro will serve dinner and a buffet lunch seven days a week.
The 75-seat restaurant opened June 8 in the former Crazy Lil’s spot at 27 E Cross St. Dishes include beer-battered octopus and shrimp saganaki, with roasted caseri cheese, orzo and garlic confit. Owner Steve Armenis, who also owns Irish pub Shannon’s Pub & Grille, wanted to open a spot that pays homage to his Greek roots. He’s hired a Greek mixologist to devise the cocktail menu, offering unique Greek liqueurs like masticha. Steve says he spent about $250k in renovations to give Corfu a “Greek island feel.”
Bluegrass Tavern Co-owner Brett Marshall opened the sandwich shop this month at 554 E. Fort Ave. in Federal Hill/Riverside. It sells overstuffed sandwiches and features decor and music that pays homage to 80s and 90s rock.
5. Sip Kitchen & Wine Bar
Located in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sip Kitchen & Wine Bar opened in February and recently hired Anthony Marcello (picured) as its executive chef. The Culinary Institute of America graduate was a regional chef for McCormick & Schmick’s and worked for Jessup seafood supplier JJ McDonnell & Co. The seafood bistro pours 72 wines by the glass from an enomatic, or automated, wine-dispensing machine.
6. Alibaba Mediterranean Cuisine
Since opening three months ago at 1019 S Charles St, Alibaba has been serving grape leaves, falafel and other Middle Eastern fare. The site has held numerous bars and restaurants over the years, including Joey B’s Bar & Grill, The Hill and Banjara.
7. Restaurant at 1542 Light St
Jaswinder Singh says he has few details yet on the new restaurant at 1542 Light St, most recently the site of Langermann’s on Light. He and his business partner Andre Butler have filed a liquor license application to open a restaurant with live entertainment. Jaswinder says he’ll have more info after their liquor license hearing June 18.