Here’s your guide to new Howard County restaurants

Indian, Peruvian and Italian cuisine are among the new offerings in Howard County’s dining scene. I spoke with the staff of Ananda, an Indian restaurant in Fulton’s Maple Lawn; Seasons 52, a chain at the Mall in Columbia where everything is under 475 calories; Italian chain Maggiano’s, also at the Mall in Columbia; and, Pisco, an Elkridge Peruvian restaurant owned by the same gentleman who owns the sleekly designed Italian restaurant Facci. You can read my story in the Baltimore Sun’s Howard Magazine.

Pictured below is the veranda at Ananda, owned by the same brothers, Binda and Keir Singh, who own the popular Ambassador Dining Room in Baltimore. The restaurant is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste buds. The ambiance harkens the glory days of the British Raj in India. The sumptuous atmosphere reminds me of some of the former British “clubs” that I have frequented in India.

The veranda at Ananda Restaurant in Maple Lawn

The veranda at Ananda Restaurant in Maple Lawn

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French fry shop opening in Federal Hill


Federal Hill residents will get new munchies to chew on after their bar crawls once a French fry shop moves into their neighborhood.

The Local Fry will move into 21 E. Cross St. sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, co-owner Kevin Irish says. He and his wife, Elizabeth Irish, will own the 40-seat Baltimore restaurant that was the home of an M&T Bank branch.

Buffalo wings and salads will also be on the menu, but the fries will be the star attraction.

“Without giving too much away, our specialty fries menu will feature fries loaded with unique toppings, sauces and seasonings,” Irish says. “Fries are oftentimes overlooked as just a side dish and our goal is to make it the star, a meal in itself. Think poutine times 10.”

Irish says the concept was born after the couple’s visit to Ireland, where, as you probably know, they are called chips.

“There were dishes we craved from Europe that we couldn’t find in the states. Our menu will have many dishes inspired by our different cultures and our travels around the world.”


French fries

Gratuitous pic of French fries

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Ware House 518 opens in Mount Vernon

The restaurant formerly known as Creme Restaurant and Lounge has reopened as Ware House 518 in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. Owner Ezra Tilaye’s new name pays homage to Baltimore’s industrial past as well as the spot’s own legacy as the site of the former Ware & Co. Furniture. The aesthetic recalls early 20th century design, Tilaye says.

Southern-inspired fare and classic Maryland staples like rockfish, oysters and crab cakes are on the menu, along with pre-prohibition-style cocktails, wine pairings and local craft beers. Christopher Vocci, formerly of the short-lived Oyster Bay Grille in Towson, heads the kitchen while Pat Raley oversees the cocktail menu.

Tilaye is also co-owner of Creme in Washington, D.C.

Dish at Ware House 518

Dish at Ware House 518

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Goodwill is opening Ellicott City store Oct. 9

Thrift shopping alert. Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake is opening its Ellicott City store today, its third in Howard County and 29th overall.

The new store is located at 10164 Baltimore National Pike, aka Route 40. It’s actually right next to the Sonic. Grab a burger, then pick up an outfit for that 80s party you were planning to throw.

The store will host a ribbon cutting ceremony and raffles from Oct. 9 to Sunday Oct. 12, giving away a Kindle Fire, a flat-screen TV and other prizes.

The new store will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Goodwill’s other Howard County stores are in Columbia and Jessup. It operates 25 retail stores, three outlet stores and GoodDeals in Rosedale. Its retail stores fund its job training programs.

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Ellicott City Sonic opening Oct. 16

Get excited for cheeseburgers and tater tots: Sonic is opening Oct. 16 in Ellicott City. The location is 10160 Baltimore National Pike, aka Route 40.

It will be the fourth Sonic store in Greater Baltimore and the very first in Howard County (#hocofood). The other Maryland stores are in Edgewater, Randallstown and Baltimore.

Sonic in Ellicott City

Sonic in Ellicott City

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Birroteca opening Bel Air location Oct. 22

Popular Baltimore restaurant Birroteca is getting a second location out in Harford County’s Bel Air. The Italian restaurant is known for its artisan pizzas, fresh pastas and craft cocktails. The Bel Air location will open Oct. 22, according to Bel Air Birroteca General Manager Jonathan Angel.

The original Birroteca location is just outside of Hampden. Owner Robbin Haas also owns the Nickel Taphouse in Mt. Washington, which opened about a year ago.

Read more about the Bel Air location in The Baltimore Sun.

Beer taps at Birroteca

Beer taps at Birroteca

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Takoma Park Busboys and Poets to house coworking space

Busboys and Poets Owner Andy Shallal has a lot on his plate these days. He’s got three new stores in the works, in Takoma Park, Brookland and Anacostia. The stores in Takoma Park and Brookland will open by the end of the year while Anacostia is about a year and a half away.

Shallal spoke to me about his plans for the stores, which include housing a dedicated area for coworking in the Takoma Park store and a culinary training center in Anacostia. Busboys blends food, caffeine, performance art and topical discussions under one roof and function, in Shallal’s view, as a community gathering center.

Read more about the coworking space here and the training center here in Elevation DC.

Andy Shallal at Busboys and Poets

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On a Roll: Baltimore chefs offer tips & recipes on making sushi at home

What’s your favorite roll? My favorites are ones that are spicy and crunchy. Words like “sriracha” and “tempura flakes” jump out at me when I’m perusing a sushi menu at a restaurant.

I spoke with several Baltimore chefs and restaurant managers at Waterfront Kitchen, RA Sushi and For the Love of Food to get their tips on how to make sushi rolls at home. Obviously, you need the freshest possible fish. Using perfectly fluffy, sticky rice is also critical. Read more here at Chesapeake Home and Living.

The Tootsy Maki roll at RA Sushi

The Tootsy Maki roll at RA Sushi

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More breweries are opening in greater Baltimore

More craft breweries are opening in Maryland, thanks to the public’s growing thirst for unique beers and new state laws that make it easier for “beer-preneurs” to break out a batch. I spoke with the owners of Jailbreak Brewing Co., Key Brewing Co., Manor Hill Brewing, Mad Science Brewing Co. and Black-Eyed Susan Brewing Co. for a Baltimore Sun story.

“Just as the foodie movement has grown, beer nerds are growing just as much,” says Mike McDonald, one of the co-founders of Key Brewing Co. “We don’t see the trend breaking any time soon.”

Read the rest of the Sun story.

Jailbreak taps at Grillfire Arundel

Jailbreak taps at Grillfire Arundel

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Bullfrog Bagels is opening its first storefront on H Street

STATUS: Now open, according to Eater DC.


Good news for fans of New York-style bagels. Bullfrog Bagels is opening its first store inside the Star & Shamrock Tavern & Deli at 1341 H St. NE. Bullfrog announced the news on Twitter and on its Facebook page.

From its Facebook page:

“Bullfrog Bagels to open first shop at 1341 H Street NE inside the eastern portion of the Star & Shamrock Tavern. More news to come.”

The burgeoning bagel business grew a following at its pop-up locations at Cork Market and CakeLove.


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