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Haute Blow Dry opens in Harbor East

A new salon specializing in professional blow dries opened its second location in Harbor East Nov. 22 and is eyeing Howard County for its third.

The Haute Blow Dry Bar doesn’t do haircuts. Instead, clients come in for a 45-minute wash, scalp massage, and professional blow out. Owner Abi Frederick, a California native, says the concept is big on the West Coast and is now reaching Baltimore.

The 650-square-foot blow dry bar at 644 S. Exeter St., across from Whole Foods, has  seven styling chairs, blue walls, and white marble countertops. Frederick is investing about $115,000 in the renovation with money from a private investor group. Haute Harbor East employs seven.

Frederick opened her first Haute at 720 Dulaney Valley Road in the Dulaney Valley Plaza in Towson in July. Frederick hopes to expand to Columbia by summer 2014.

Frederick says Harbor East has the cachet she was looking for in a location. The tony area is home to the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore and J. Crew, Anthropologie, Lululemon and other shops.

“I think that with the development of Harbor East and the new retail stores going in, I just think it’s a concept that will do really well here. Harbor East, with all the professional women and all the restaurants right there, and the hotels, I think that there’s a real need.”

Clients come in for a professional styling, for special events, or a girls’ night out. Haute offers clients a glass of wine, champagne or a soft drink to enjoy with their blow out.

“I’ve already had women coming to weddings in Baltimore and asking us if we’re open.” 

Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Abi Frederick, Haute Blow Dry Bar

By Degrees Cafe opens in Little Italy

A Baltimore chef who has worked for the Wine Market and Fleet Street Kitchen opened a casual contemporary restaurant in an industrial building on the edge of Little Italy Oct. 15.

The 1,350-square-foot By Degrees Cafe serves soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch and half a dozen entrees for dinner. By Degrees serves lunch at the counter and relies on wait staff for dinner.

Located in the redeveloped Fallsway Spring building at 415 S. Central Ave., the restaurant will hopefully appeal to young professionals in the neighborhood and adjacent Harbor East, Owner Omar Semidey says. 

Semidey says he wants to offer a small, intimate dining experience for diners who want an alternative to the massive, swanky eateries in tony Harbor East. By Degrees will seat 50 in the dining room and another six at the bar. 

He describes By Degrees as a “third-day” restaurant. When you have a friend in town, you take him somewhere nice the first day. The second day you cook dinner at home. And the third day you’re ready to eat out again, but somewhere that offers "solid food that doesn’t break the bank.” Most entrees at By Degrees cost less than $17 and soups around $5 and sandwiches under $10.

“The goal is not to revolutionize the culinary landscape, but shift it by degrees,” Semidey says.

Semidey is working with a silent business partner, whom he declined to name. He also declined to say how much he and his business partner will spend on the restaurant, financed with cash. 

The building’s developer Larry Silverstein is responsible for refurbishing several other properties in East Baltimore, including the Union Box Co. and the Holland Tack Factory, home of Heavy Seas Ale House and My Thai

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Omar Semidey, By Degrees Cafe


Federal Hill bakery launches cupcake food truck and plots second store

The world is looking sweet for Midnite Confection’s Cupcakery, which launched a food truck last month. The venture isn't just icing on the cake for the Federal Hill bakery. The owners hope the the food truck will spread the word about its confections and help them find a good home for a planned second store.

“We want to explore other areas beyond where we are,” says Sandra McNeil, co-owner with her son, Aaron McNeil, of the bakery, at 1051 South Charles St. “We’re looking for possible expansion in storefront operations.”
 
At a cost of under $100,000, the food truck venture is so new that McNeil hasn't established a set routine. During the weekday, the truck spends two days in Washington, D.C., and two days in Baltimore City. 
 
The truck is usually in Baltimore on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. but, depending on parking availability, not always in the same place each of those days. Sometimes it can be found on Monument Street by the University of Maryland downtown campus, at Harbor East or at the Johns Hopkins University campus -- all neighborhoods under consideration for a second store.
 
“We’re trying out what places work best and adjust to customer demand,” says McNeil, referring to the food offering. “We’re newbies.”
 
For now, the truck only sells cupcakes for now, but may also offer cookies and bars later this summer. While the bakery has more than 40 flavors of cupcakes, the truck carries six flavors, chosen for their likely popularity, including vanilla bean, black velvet and lemon/lime. The cost is $3 per cupcake, $16 per half-dozen and $30 per dozen.
 
Even though no cooking is done in the food truck, the venture required getting a license from every jurisdiction and from the health department within the jurisdiction to operate. McNeil declined to discuss cost of equipping the food truck or sales so far.
 
“We’ve had some sell-out days and some days where it brings back items,” she says, pointing to factors like the weather and location.
 
McNeil opened Midnite Confection’s Cupcakery in 2010 at the Federal Hill store. Besides retail sales, the bakery caters weddings and corporate events. She says sales have grown 35 percent since opening.
 
Source: Sandra McNeil, Midnite Confection’s Cupcakery
Writer: Barbara Pash

New Hotel and Retail Building Slated For Harbor East

Hoping to capitalize on increasing growth east of the Inner Harbor, plans are in the works to build a new 205-room hotel with ground-level stores in Harbor East next year. 

Englewood LLC and Chesapeake Real Estate Group have reached an agreement to construct the property and 15,000 square-feet of retail space at a former warehouse building at 511 S. Central Ave. As the primary developer, Englewood will own and operate the hotel.

Chesapeake Real Estate Group will operate the retail space, says Ken Finkelstein, president of Bethesda's Englewood LLC. Construction would take about 18 months to complete if the project gets approvals from the city's zoning and design panels.

The planned hotel will be an upper mid-market brand, which means slightly more upscale than the neighboring Hilton Garden Inn and Courtyard by Marriott, Finkelstein says. He declined to say how much the project would cost or the hotel brand. 

The developers purchased the property at 511 S. Central Ave. in December for $3.2 million, according to state property records. The building is in the preliminary stages of the development process so it's too early to say what kind of shops  will fill the new construction, says Neil Tucker, principal at Chesapeake Real Estate Group.

"This is a pretty dynamic area where lots of growth has occurred and more will occur as Harbor East and Harbor Point expand," says Finkelstein, who launched the development firm within the last year. Finkelstein is a former partner at the JBG Cos. of Chevy Chase, which has developed numerous hotels in the Washington area. 

Finkelstein's new Baltimore hotel will face competition from the 256-room Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, which opened last year in Harbor East, and several other newer properties. But Finkelstein says he believes there is opportunity and room for another hotel in that neighborhood given the area's continued growth. 

Baltimore City officials approved a 3 million-square-foot master plan for Harbor Point, an area between Harbor East and Fells Point. The massive 500,000-square-foot regional headquarters for Chicago energy company Exelon Corp. will open there in 2014. Harbor East has seen an influx of national retailers with the recent openings of J. Crew, Anthropologie and MAC Cosmetics and new restaurants. Gordon Biersch is spending $3 million to open a 329-seat eatery in October while Fleet Street Kitchen will open next month. 
 
Chesapeake Real Estate Group developed the Babgy Building, which houses Fleet Street, Ten Ten restaurant and several offices.  

"We want to build upon the success of Harbor East with the Babgy Building project," Tucker says.

Source: Ken Finkelstein, president of Englewood LLC; Neil Tucker, principal at Chesapeake Real Estate Group 
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, alexandra@bmoremedia.com
  
 

Gordon Biersch Brewery On Tap For Harbor East

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant is spending $3 million to open a 329-seat eatery in Harbor East, becoming the latest new establishment to call the growing nightlife and shopping destination home. It's also one of the many breweries and beer-themed restaurants enjoying brisk sales

Known for its German lagers, Gordon Biersch will open its third Maryland store at 1000 Lancaster St. Oct. 22. The restaurant will employ around 80 and have at least six beers on tap, says Kelly Wilson, Gordon Biersch’s director of marketing. The building houses Charleston and Harbor Bank of Maryland.

“Harbor East is an attractive urban location that is home to numerous business headquarters as well as hotels to accommodate the business traveler,” the company’s Vice President of Real Estate John Tugman wrote in an email. “Harbor East has potential for growth.”

J. Crew, Anthropologie and MAC Cosmetics recently moved to the area. Last year, the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore opened last, along with celebrity-chef led restaurant Wit & Wisdom. It added outdoor seating for its Wit & Wisdom bar and welcomed Japanese restaurant PABU this year. The hotel also features artisan coffeehouse Lamill Coffee.

Gordon Biersch executives say they will continue to focus on the Baltimore area after having had success in other mid-Atlantic areas. Beer-themed eateries were the fastest-growing restaurant segment last year, according to Chicago food consulting firm Technomic Inc.

Gordon Biersch' sales grew 22 percent last year. The Chattanooga, Tenn., company operates about 30 restaurants in 20 states. Its two Maryland sites are in Annapolis and Rockville. 

Two years ago, private equity firm Centerbridge Capital Partners acquired the chain, now a subsidiary of CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Kelly Wilson and John Tugman, Gordon Biersch 

New Greek Restaurant Opening in Harbor East

Opa! Baltimore's tony Harbor East neighborhood is getting another new restaurant this summer. 

Greek restaurant Ouzo Bay is opening at 1006 Lancaster St., the same building that houses Charleston. The 4,000-square-foot restaurant seat 140 inside and 70 outside, according to a liquor license application Alexander Smith filed in Baltimore City.

The owners will invest at least $500,000 to open the Ouzo Bay, according to the liquor license application. The restaurant will serve modern Greek specialties, with an emphasis on fresh seafood.

Harbor East is home to Cinghiale, Arhaus Furniture, White House|Black Market and the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore. The area is getting a slew of new retailers this summer, including Anthropologie, J. Crew, Lululemon and MAC Cosmetics. The area and surrounding neighborhood of Fells Point have attracted a number of new eateries within the last year, including Waterfront Kitchen, Wit and Wisdom Tavern, the Inn at the Black Olive and Bond Street Social.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Baltimore City liquor board

Candy Shop Moving From Harbor East to Downtown

Shoppers in the Inner Harbor will soon be able to satisfy their sweet tooth with treats like old school candy and chocolate shaped like crabs.
 
The Best of Luck Candy & Gifts, a specialty nostalgia candy and gift shop, will relocate May 1 from Harbor East to a larger location at 601 E. Pratt St. in the Power Plant entertainment complex, says owner Alexis "Lucky" Thompson.
 
In the new, approximately 900-square-foot location, the business will have double the space and plans to add a coffee bar in addition to new candies, gifts, custom gift baskets, and additional room for events such as birthday parties. Thompson also plans to offer more Baltimore-themed candy and gifts.
 
Thompson expects the new location will receive great visibility from both foot and car traffic.
 
Raised in Baltimore, Thompson says she always dreamed of owning a candy shop. She recently moved back to Baltimore with her husband after working in marketing in New York. The store opened at its previous location on 612 S. Exeter St. last October.
 
The store underwent a month of remodeling as part of a relaunching of the store's brand.
 
While the company has no plans for further expansion in the near future, they do plan to do more events such as bachelorette parties and showers. The company also recently added four new employees for the new shop, Thompson says.
 
Source: Alexis "Lucky" Thompson, owner of The Best of Luck Candy & Gifts
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, Alexandra@bmoremedia.com
 
 

New Downtown Baltimore Starbucks to Open this Month

Satisfying your caffeine craving in Baltimore's downtown is about to get a little easier.
 
While an exact date has not been announced, a company spokesperson says that Starbucks plans to open a location at 100 E. Pratt St. location sometime later this month. The address is also the corporate headquarters of T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Italian restaurant Brio Tuscan Grille, which opened this month.

It will be the second standalone Starbucks in downtown. There's another Starbucks on the west side at 1 E. Eutaw St. On the other side of the city, there's a Starbucks in Harbor East next to Landmark Theatres and one in Canton's Can Company. 

Starbucks' Ellicott City location on Baltimore National Pike, has just been remodeled and given an expanded cafe menu, says a spokesperson. The renovations include new chairs, floors and coffee counter. 
 
The expansion is a marked shift for the Seattle coffee giant, which closed 600 stores around the country several years ago during the recession, including two downtown locations on Charles Street and at Harborplace. It also closed a store in Belvedere Square. 
 
In all, Starbucks currently has more than 50 stores in the Baltimore area including stores in Charles Village and Mount Washington.

Source: Starbucks spokesperson
Writer: Alexandra Wilding

Anthropologie Boutique to Open in Four Seasons

Women’s apparel shop Anthropologie will open a boutique at the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood.

Baltimore City’s Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel is slated to review plans for the store’s design Dec. 8. The store would join clothing shops White House Black Market, South Moon Under and Urban Chic.

A unit of Urban Outfitters Inc., Anthropologie’s other area stores are located in Towson and Annapolis. There’s also an Urban Outfitters in Harborplace.

Baltimore City architect Robert Quilter says the store’s architect David A.Levy & Associates Inc. of Akron, Ohio wants to do something “different” with the storefront, which is why it needs the city’s design panel to review its plans. He deferred additional design questions to David A. Levy architects, who could not be reached for comment.

Urban Outfitters officials could not be reached for comment.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Urban Design and Review Panel


Circulator Launches New Green Line Route

The Charm City Circulator, Baltimore's free bus service, launched a new route on November 1, 2011. The new Green Route will allow Circulator riders greater access to popular points downtown. The new route includes stops at City Hall, the Maritime Park connection to the Water Taxi and the Johns Hopkins Medical Campus.
 
The Green Route also increases access to the Fell's Point area including Harbor East. Popular attractions for both tourists and locals, including the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Broadway Market, are features of  the new route. The new Green Line interconnects with the orange Line at Harbor East, but does not have a connection to the Purple Line. It  also allows riders to connect with Metro trains at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Shot Tower/Market Place stations.
 
The launch of the Green Route also coincides with the addition of a new bus type to the Charm City Circulator fleet. The Orion VII BRT Hybrid bus will go into service as part of the Circulator fleet. The new model of  hybrid bus will be used throughout the Circulator's routes.
 
Financed by Baltimore's parking tax revenue, The Charm City Circulator has carried approximately 3 million riders since its initial launch. The Circulator is slated to expand service to include a new line running from the Inner Harbor area to Fort McHenry in the spring of 2012.
 
Writer: Amy McNeal
Sources: Downtown Partnership, Charm City Circulator
 
http://www.charmcitycirculator.com/route/green-route

Candy Store Opens in Former Amaryllis Spot in Harbor East

Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood just got a little sweeter.

Candy shop the Best of Luck, opened this month at 612 S. Exeter St. in the former Amaryllis jewelry store space. The shop sells nostalgic candies – think pop rocks and Charleston Chews — gift baskets, chocolate-covered pretzels, gummy bears and saltwater taffy. It also features sugar-free concoctions.

After a career in the sports and entertainment industries, store owner Alexis Thompson wanted to start her own business.

“I always had a sweet tooth and a love for different kinds of candies,” Thompson says.

It’s a bit of a career change for the Baltimore-born Thompson, who represented Serena Williams, Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett, and pro golfer Michelle Wie as a junior agent at the William Morris Agency.

“I want to be my own boss,” she says.

She spent about $20,000 to open the store next to Whole Foods and hopes that the location next to Fells Point, Canton and downtown will help it get good foot traffic.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Alexis Thompson, Best of Luck

New Four Seasons Hotel to Include Pool Bar, Outdoor Seating, and Sushi

Baltimore City’s liquor board has granted Baltimore’s long-awaited five star Four Seasons Hotel a liquor license for its two restaurants, room service, and a rooftop pool bar.

The 256-room hotel is expected to open next month at 701 Aliceanna St. in Baltimore’s swanky Harbor East neighborhood. The restaurants will include outdoor seating and live entertainment, according to the license application.

Wit and Wisdom, a Tavern by Michael Mina, will be its signature eatery, serving comfort food and featuring a live-fire grill and rotisseries. The 156-seat eatery will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The 136-seat Japanese restaurant Pabu will open February 2012. Pabu will feature sushi, small plates, 100 types of sake, bamboo ceilings, and solid wood tabletops.

The pool bar will seat 45 on a terrace overlooking the Inner Harbor. The Four Seasons will also feature a coffee shop called Lamill Coffee.

The hotel applied for what is known as a “Class B” hotel license for properties with at least 100 rooms and a $500,000 investment.


Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Four Seasons

Contemporary, "Sexy" Restaurant to Open in Harbor East

An Illinois restaurant company will be dishing out contemporary American cuisine in Harbor East next year.

Townhouse Kitchen and Wine Bar will open at the Eden apartment building at 777 S. Eden St. during the first quarter of 2012, says Margaret Meginniss, a principal at retail brokerage firm Sierra Mid-Atlantic. The area is home to a bevy of high-end condos and swanky restaurants and, soon, a Four Seasons hotel.

Based in Glenview, Ill., Restaurants-America Consulting Group Inc. operates Townhouse and six other restaurant concepts. The 8,000-square-foot Baltimore restaurant will be Restaurants-America’s fourth Townhouse. The others are located in Deerfield and Chicago, Ill., and Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Menu items at the Chicago restaurant include jerk red snapper ($16), halibut piccata ($22), and penne diablo ($13). Ahi tacos ($11), jalapeno bacon-wrapped shrimp ($12) and surf & turf sliders ($12) are listed under its small plates.

“It’s a contemporary concept that’s very sexy,” Meginniss says.

And it’s possible that the restaurant firm, which operates about 15 eateries to date, will open another in the Greater Baltimore area. Sierra represents Restaurants-America nationally.

Midtown, Bluepoint, Red Star Tavern, One North, the Grillroom, and Primebar are Restaurants-America’s other concepts.


Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Margaret Meginniss, Sierra

MAC Puts Weight Behind Renovation

The Maryland Athletic Club is pumping up its Timonium facility this month with new workout machines and a makeover for its exercise studios and basketball court.

The focus of the renovation will be to allot more space for free-motion equipment, General Manager Michael Meehan says. That includes stability balls, medicine balls, and kettle balls that allow members to challenge their balance. It will also include resistance machines that rely on cables that let the user move around freely, rather than the restricted movements that are typical of traditional weight machines.

The Timonium MAC, which celebrates its 15-year anniversary in November, will shut down for a week in August during the renovation.

The gym is also sprucing up the floors in its yoga and pilates room, basketball court and swimming pool.

New elliptical trainers, computerized bikes and cycles that work out the upper body will go into the gym when it reopens Aug. 29.

The MAC has two other locations, in Harbor East and Hunt Valley.


Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Michael Meehan, MAC


Two New Restaurants Slated for Harbor East

Two new restaurants spearheaded by the folks behind Bagby Pizza Co. will open next to the Harbor East eatery.

Ten Ten, billed as a contemporary American bistro, will open late August in the former Dutch Connection flower shop space. Fleet Street Kitchen, which will feature artisanal and local foods, will open in the winter, says Bagby Restaurant Group Director of Marketing Carmel Gambacorta.

The Wine Market's Christopher Becker and Mark Davis, formerly of the Baltimore Country Club, will be overseeing the kitchen of both restaurants along with Bagby Pizza Co.

Ten Ten -- named for the address on Fleet Street -- is kind of an extension of the pizza eatery, Gambacorta says. You can order from the pizza restaurant in Ten Ten. In February, Bmore reported that Bagby Pizza Co.'s owners will expand into the former flower shop that was next door.

Ten Ten will feature an "eclectic" design, with a lot of wood and exposed brick, Gambacorta says.


Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Carmel Gambacorta, Bagby Restaurant Group


All the Stir-Fry is Made to Order: Asian Eatery Going into Former Harbor East Newsstand Space

Get out the chopsticks. Manchurian Rice Co. will open in the former Harbor News spot this August at 1010 Aliceanna St.

The 75-seat restaurant will serve Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisine, including made-to-order stir-fry, fried rice, pad Thai, soup, Kung Pao chicken, and traditional desserts. That is according to an investor in the Harbor East restaurant who wanted to remain anonymous.

Fast-casual Asian concepts are hot nowadays, with the expansion of P.F. Chang's China Bistro's Pei Wei Diner and Chipotle's announcement this year that it is launching an Asian concept called ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, the first of which will open in Washington, D.C., this summer.

The investor says he and his partners will spend at least $500,000 to open the new restaurant. That's the amount of investment Baltimore City requires of restaurant owners gunning for a new Class B liquor license.

Some of that money will go toward outfitting the second mezzanine that will house the seating in the 1,600-square-foot restaurant.
Most dishes will cost between $6 and $8.

Harbor East is home to numerous restaurants and shops, including Charleston, Cinghiale, Arhaus Furniture, and White House|Black Market, which opened this month.


Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Manchurian Rice Co. investor


Jewelry Store Amaryllis Expands in Harbor East

A Harbor East jewelry store is taking its gold earrings and ruby necklaces to a larger space.

Amaryllis, which moved from Harborpalce and the Gallery two years ago to East Baltimore, is moving into the Kashmir Imports' spot next month. At 1,028 square feet, the space at 830 Aliceanna St. is twice as big as its space on Exeter St., says co-owner Allie Wolf.

The owners of the 26-year-old jewelry store like the Harbor East neighborhood, but thought Aliceanna was a better spot because it's the shopping street, Wolf says. The street is home to Arhaus Furniture, South Moon Under, and Urban Chic.

"Aliceanna has established itself as the shopping street," Wolf says. "I feel like as a boutique we should be on Aliceanna Street. The shopping is better."

The larger store will allow it to expand its jewelry selection and sell purses, scarves and other gifts.

"There are so many other artists we want to carry that we don't have the space for," Wolf said. "We want to be the destination jewelry spot" downtown.

The move will come with a makeover, courtesy of Nouveau Contemporary Goods' Co-owner Steve Appel.


Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Allie Wolf, Amaryllis




Harbor East Imports Store to Move to Shops at Kenilworth

Kashmir Imports will move this summer from its spot in Baltimore's Harbor East to a larger store at the Shops in Kenilworth to get closer to its affluent clients in Baltimore County and Baltimore City.

At its new home, the shop will be known simply as Kashmir, co-owner Pat McCarty says. The 1,180-square-foot shop in Harbor East sells embroidered jackets, shawls, scarves, and lacquer boxes from Kashmir India.

Once it opens at Kenilworth in August or September, it will have more space to carry gifts in the 1,880-square-foot store. New store items will include lamps made from a banyan tree in Cambodia and a handbag made from a zipper designed by a Colorado architect. 

Many of Kashmir's top customers are moms who live in Roland Park or Towson, McCarty says. The location at Kenilworth will make it easier to reach more of those clients. Terri Harrington of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services LLC brokered the lease deal.

McCarty and her husband Javid Mahajan opened their first retail outlet in 2004 with a shop in Washington, D.C.,'s Union Station.

Mahajan's brother works directly with the families who produced the Kashmiri handicrafts that the stores sell.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Pat McCarty

Partners to Spend up to $3M on Palminteri Pizza Restaurant

Building an original slice of the Bronx in Baltimore will cost as much as $3 million.

The owners of Aldo's Italian Restaurant in Little Italy are teaming up with Hollywood actor Chazz Palminteri to open a coal-fired pizza restaurant in Harbor East.

Much of that money will go in the restaurant's design, Aldo's Co-owner Alessandro Vitale says. The owners have hired Baltimore's Rita St. Clair, who has put her stamp on the Prime Rib and Aldo's.

"We're trying to capture old-school Bronx" circa 1950, Vitale says. (That's the same era depicted in Palminteri's movie and play "A Bronx Tale.")

You can expect to see a black-and-white checker floor, marble tops, and subway tiles behind the pizza oven. Diners will be able to watch the guys making pizza.

"We're trying to create an immersive experience," Vitale says, adding, "You can't fake it."

Partners in the venture include the Vitales, Palminteri and Kerry Kessel, an investor and friend of the actor.

Palminteri forged a friendship with the Vitale brothers after falling in love with Aldo's marinara sauce.

The 7,000-square-foot restaurant will employ more than 40.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Alessandro Vitale, Aldo's Italian Restaurant, Chazz: A Bronx Original

Bagby Pizza Co. to Double Space, Add Small Plates

Behold the power of pepperoni.

A two-year-old pizza restaurant in Harbor East is doubling its size in the next four months.

Bagby Pizza Co. at 1006 Fleet St. will add another 75 seats, a bar, and a small plate menu, say father-and-son co-owners David and Blake Smith. The expansion will give it 130 seats and another 1,800 square feet of space.

The pizza joint will take over the spot that held flower shop the Dutch Connection, which closed.

The Smiths say the new menu is still in the works. Perhaps American comfort food will be on tap, says David Smith, who also envisions a martini bar. He says he is spending "a few hundred thousand" on the expansion.

Sandwiched between Whole Foods and Little Italy, the Bagby Building has been a good location for the restaurant, Blake Smith says. It gets lunch traffic from office workers and nighttime customers from neighboring residents.

"It's been getting awfully busy around here," especially on Friday and Saturday nights," Smith says. 'It's a good problem to have."

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: David Smith, Blake Smith, Bagby Pizza Co.


All-American Diner Opens in the Heart of Little Italy

An All-American diner has taken a bite out of Little Italy.

Walter Webb, a longtime restaurant operator at Harborplace, spent $160,000 to open the Diner at 413 S. High St. this month. In early December, the restaurant will include a sports bar on the second floor.

Formerly the site of tapas restaurant Tapabar, the eatery seats 81 on the first floor and 100 on the second floor. The second floor addition will double the space, to 5,000 square feet.

Webb closed his barbecue joint Brown Sugar at the Harborplace food court so operators of the downtown mall could make way for department store H&M. He decided to move to Little Italy to capitalize on the new hotels, apartment complexes, and office workers in Harbor East and Eastern Avenue traffic.

"I love the area," Webb says. "It's an exceptionally great place to work and live. People are right here in walking distance."

The Diner serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, costing between $9 and $13. The restaurant services nine types of pancakes, New York strip steak, stuffed flounder, sweet potato fries, and peach cobbler.

German cooks Christa Seiler and Claudia Phillips are selling pies, cakes and pastries in the shop as well.

"The people are so friendly," Webb says of Little Italy residents.  "I just love it over here."

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Walter Webb, the Diner

Contemporary art comes to Harbor East's Legg Mason building with Clark Priftis Art

The Legg Mason building in Harbor East is home to the namesake financial behemoth, the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and a flurry of new retailers.

A contemporary art gallery will join the glass-encased 24-story building Sept. 6.

Clark Priftis Art will open a 2,400-square-foot gallery in a location that owner Ann Priftis hopes will give her access to the well-heeled residents, tourists and office workers in that part of town.

"It's an ideal location in terms of accessibility for tourists and residents," Priftis says.

With floor-to-ceiling windows, the gallery's pie-shaped space is located at the Harbor East traffic circle. That spot will hopefully get great visibility from pedestrians and drivers.

An art dealer and appraiser who has worked in New York, Priftis has been scouting Baltimore for years to find the perfect spot. Several years ago, she was close to opening an art gallery on the city's west side. But those plans fell through when the cost turned out higher than original estimates and she and her former business partner had different visions.

Priftis has long been interested in Harbor East, but when she approached the developers several years ago, the rent was out of her range.

She declined to say how much she is paying for her space in Harbor East. But in general, retail rents throughout Baltimore have come down as much as 30 percent from their highs in 2006 and many developers are offering a variety of incentives to lure tenants.

Priftis has signed a six-month lease with the option to extend her stay if things go well.

The gallery will feature modern painting, sculpture and photography.

"We're trying to bring high quality art from various parts of the world," she says.

The gallery will be open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Ann Priftis, Clark Priftis Art



Harbor East Deli and Pizza bites into Baltimore City

Hello pepperoni. Inner Harbor East Delicatessen and Pizzeria is opening this month in the spot at 1001 Fleet Street that once held the short-lived Elevation Burger.
 
Alex Smith, a partner in both the old and new businesses, says he thought workers and residents in the neighborhood could use a deli and pizza place as a casual alternative to the fine-dining restaurants. Smith says he closed Elevation Burger franchise after running into issues with the corporate parent.

The 2,000-square-foot restaurant will seat 90 inside and 40 outside. The restaurant will serve salads, sandwiches, cheese steaks and brick-oven pizza for lunch and dinner and waffles and pancakes for breakfast. The restaurant will be outfitted with 10 plasma screens, showing ESPN, MSNBC and sports programs.

"I think it's a great concept," Smith says. "It's so different from anything else in the area. We hope it's different than what's going on now."

Smith says he chose Harbor East because he lives in the area and has been involved in other businesses, including the Haagen Dazs ice cream shop, which he owns.  His grandfather, bakery mogul John Paterakis Sr.,  is also one of the master developers of Harbor East.

He declined to say how much he and his two business partners invested in the new venture.  However, the Baltimore City liquor license board granted the business a new Class "B" liquor license that is available to business owners who invest at least $500,000 in a restaurant that seats at least 75. 



Source: Alex Smith, Harbor East Deli and Pizza
Writer: Julekha Dash

Get out your wine glasses -- construction begins on Harbor East wine bar

Jim Lancaster wasn't initially interested in the space at the historic Harbor East property known as the Bagby building.

Lancaster, who also owns lunch spots Rosina Gourmet, thought the location was too close to his downtown and Canton venues. But after some discussions with the landlord Chesapeake Real Estate LLC, Lancaster decided he could tap into a new market —  the after dark, red-and-white swilling crowd — by opening a wine bar.

Construction on Vino Rosina recently began and the restaurant at 507 S. Exeter Street will be open by the end of April, Lancaster says.

The 2,200-square-foot store will seat about 100, and is Lancaster's largest to date. It will feature his staple gourmet sandwiches and salads, but made with more "esoteric" ingredients like microgreens. Also on the menu will be flatbreads, crab dip, cheese, and wines by the glass.  The wines will hail from Bordeaux, Italy, California, and South America and cost between $6 and $13 per glass.

Lancaster hopes the Harbor East location can draw foot traffic from residents residing in the neighborhood's apartments and condominiums, and tourists staying at various hotels in the area.

As more businesses like Legg Mason and Morgan Stanley move to Harbor East, Lancaster hopes the suit-and-tie crowd will come to Vino Rosina as well.

To design the new space, Lancaster hired SMG Architects Inc. — the same company that designed the warm, rustic Woodberry Kitchen in Clipper Mill. Vino Rosina will also sport a natural look, displaying cypress, hickory and other woods, along with along with leather and stainless steel.


Source: Jim Lancaster, Vino Rosina
Writer: Julekha Dash

Milan aims to wow you

Milan, will officially open on Jan 15, welcoming guests for drinks, small plates or multi-course dinners seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.with extended bar and late dining hours until 1 am.
 
"We are excited to be a part of Baltimore's developing culinary scene and to be able to share the talents of Chef Carey with customers" explains Peter Mooradian, General Manager at Milan.

Dubbing itself, a unique dining destination "where food meets fashion," the restuarant, located at 1000 Eastern Avenue on the cusp of Little Italy and Harbor East will offer its guests an blend of modern Italian cuisine infused with Mediterranean flavor prepared by Executive Chef Stephen Carey. The innovative menu includes fresh grilled steaks, hand-made pastas, bruschetta, flatbreads and Italian-inspired sushi ("sushi Italiano"), as well as top-rated Italian and world wines and blended cocktails inspired by world-renown fashion designers.

Milan's menu was inspired by the Italian and Mediterranean travels of its owner, Smitty. "Everything he saw and tasted while traveling which he documented in a journal, we've used to try and recreate that with this menu. We've created menus that showcase traditional Italian recipes with modern technique," explains Stephen Carey, Executive Chef at Milan. "We're bringing something fresh and innovative to the Baltimore dining scene."

A selection of appetizers, antipasti, bruschettas, flatbreads and salads are available for guests including a selection of three ($12) or five ($19) cured meats and fresh cheeses; Aragosta Pasta e Caci, lobster mac and cheese with chiocciole pasta, smoked gouda béchamel, white truffle essence, and citus pistacio gremolata ($12); and Caprese di Fungi, portabella mushroom, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, fresh basil and an imported balsamic reduction ($7).

Perhaps the most unusual item on Milan's menu is its "Sushi Italiano," or Italian sushi, an infusion of both Italian and Japanese cuisine. Similar to Crudo, delicate slices of raw fish typcally served with olive oil in Italy, are recreated at the restuarant, and are served with either three ($9) or six ($17) varieties of fresh fish and include Salmon with lemon caper aioli, Hiramasa with a blood orange balsamic glaze, Arctic Char with a basil pesto, Hamachi with roasted red pepper puree, Yellowfin Tuna with red pepper oil and sea salt and White Tuna with lemon oil and pine nuts.

"Crudo is very traditional Italian food, but just hasn't made much over to the U.S. yet. We're the first place to do it in Baltimore. In Italy it's the freshest fish you can have, but raw. I paired each one with a different sauce that would complement that dish. We do sushi rolls by taking the fundamental Japanese sushi and fusing it with Italian and Mediterranean ingredients. We do the rice and nouri but the inside of the rolls are anything but Japanese," says Chef Carey.

Other selections of sushi Italiano include Uva Fogliame Con Salmone, seared salmon, fresh mozzarella, sautéed mushrooms, sundried tomato, grape leaves and lemon caper aioli ($12) and Milan Rotolo, Avocado, sun dried tomato, fried calamari, nori, seasoned rice, white tuna, yellowfin tuna, basil pesto, and blood orange balsamic glaze ($18).

The menu also includes the traditional pasta and dinner entrée selections including Ravioli Deconstruito, cold water lobster, jumbo lump crab, shrimp, house made pasta, swiss chard, and pink peppercorn cream sauce ($28). Risotto Capasanta, seared scallops, wild mushrooms, fire roasted corn and white truffle essence ($22), Vitello, 14 oz. veal porterhouse with a wild mushroom risotto cake and smoked tomato demi glace ($38); and Bistecca Con L'Osso, Milan's 20 oz. dry rubbed USDA Choice bone-in ribeye with Yukon gold mash and melted leeks ($42).

House made desserts include Torta di Formaggio, honey ricotta cheesecake with a balsamic strawberry compote and candied rosemary ($8); Milan's Tiramisu ($8); Grand Marnier Crème Brulee ($8); and Piatoo di Fromaggio, a selection of Italian cheese ($12).

Milan also offers an extensive selection of specialty cocktails, top-rated wines and bottled domestic and imported beers. Original martinis inspired by the finest fashion houses include the Dolce & Gabbana, Godiva Milk Chocolate Liqueur, Stoli Raz Vodka, a splash of club soda and fresh raspberries ($11) and Gucci Envy, Absolute Apple Vodka, Sour Apple Liquor, and a splash of Midori and pineapple juice ($10). Other handcrafted cocktails include the Passion of Milan, Captain Morgan Passion Fruit, fresh brewed iced-tea, and a splash of lime juice ($8) and a variety of flavorful mojitos ($10-12). Select cocktails will be served at special prices during Milan's happy hour, offered seven days a week from 5-7 pm.

Source: Chef Stephen Carey, Milan
Writer: Walaika Haskins

Milan will bring new modern take on Italian cuisine

Sitting on the border of Harbor East and Little Italy at 1002 Eastern Avenue, Milan is a new upscale restaurant scheduled to open in mid-November just before Thanksgiving.

According to Peter Mooridan, general manager, Milan "will be different than your typical Little Italy restaurant. Little Italy is very tradtional and a lot of these places have been around for many years. It will be more modern and cutting edge."

The restaurant will include dining on three different levels, with an outdoor heated patio on the lower level; a sushi bar and lounge on the main floor and private dining on the third level. The decor will have a loungy comfortable feel.

"I envision big martinis and really nice cocktails with a lot of fresh ingredients like fresh mint, cucumbers, mangoes and mojitoes, lychees and just really tasty drinks,"

Mooridan calls the cuisine Italian/Mediterranean but says it will be a lighter and more modern take than that found in traditional Italian restaurants and will continue the fresh ingredient theme. "We're offering a lot of fresh ingredients. A lot of people use dense sauces to create flavor and we have a cleaner way to eat and enjoy the natural flavor of the food."


Source: Peter Mooridan, Milan
Writer: Walaika Haskins

Bagby's Pizza opens in Harbor East

Harbor East recently welcomed a new and much needed resident -- a pizzeria. Bagby Pizza Co. located at 1006 Fleet Street, right across from Whole Foods, is the culmination of owner Blake Smith and chef Kyle Gillies hard work. The pair realized that amidst the high-end clothing and accessory stores, the upscale restaurants and glittering apartment/condo towers there was just one thing missing.

And so, Bagby Pizza Company was born to provide the Harbor East community a place to get affordably priced gourmet pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches.

The restaurant also doubles as an art gallery for local artists who are welcome to display their art on the exposed brick walls. Proceeds from artwork purchased at Bagby Pizza help support the artist or a charity of his/her choosing.

Source: Bagby Pizza Company
Writer: Walaika Haskins

Baltimore Inner Harbor recieves Urban Land Institute's Heritage Award

Developers in Baltimore came together last Thursday to celebrate their own. The Baltimore District Council of The Urban Land Institute  hosted the first annual WaveMaker Awards event at the Legg Mason Tower in Inner Harbor East. The awards were given to developers whose local projects are unique, innovative, and visionary; the seven WaveMaker recipients were honored alongside the national ULI's Heritage Award Winner, Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Earlier this year, ULI Headquarters honored Baltimore's Inner Harbor with its prestigious Heritage Award. The award is bestowed periodically on developments that have demonstrated industry excellence and made substantial contributions to their community's well-being for at least 25 years. Only eight developments have been selected to recieve the prestigious award in the past 35 years.

"Through the redevelopment of 192 acres of dilapidated and abandoned waterfront property, the Baltimore Inner Harbor catalyzed reinvestment in Baltimore -- supporting more than 50,000 new jobs, generating $60 million in new tax revenue, and generating a $4 billion tourism industry that was previously non-existent. The harbor now stands as the model for post-industrial waterfront redevelopment around the world," states the national selection

The ULI Baltimore also recognized the seven recent local projects that demonstrate industry excellence with the WaveMaker Award.

These projects are respectful of their surrounding neighborhood, economy, history, geography, and local government, and provide strong economic returns to stakeholders. The WaveMakers  were able to stretch the boundaries of what was considered possible and accelerate sustainable, prosperous development in Baltimore.

"ULI Baltimore is excited to build on the Heritage Award presented to Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The WaveMaker Award is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the developers and projects that are shaping Baltimore's skyline," notes ULI Baltimore Chair, Caroline G. Moore.

The 2009 WaveMakers are:

Miller's Court, 2601 N. Howard St., Seawall Development Company

Silo Point, 1200 Steuart St., Turner Development Group

Legg Mason Tower, 100 International Dr., H&S Properties Development Corp.

Fairfield Inn by Marriott, 101 S. President St., Summit Associates LLC/A&R Development Corp.

Towns at Orchard Ridge, 4020 Maple Ridge Dr., Pennrose Properties/Doracon Development LLC

Baltimore Medical System's Highlandtown Healthy Living Center, 3700 Fleet Street, Highlandtown Development, LLC

American Brewery, 1701 N. Gay Street, Humanim


Opening soon? Tell us about it!

Whether you're a business owner, community organization or just a neighborhood regular, if you have a business opening or that has recently opened tell us about. You could find your new business featured in our development news section.

Legg Mason moves on up to Harbor East

Legg Mason, the Baltimore-based investment firm, has officially completed the move into its brand spanking new digs in Harbor East. Now, home to the bulk of the company's roughly 1,000-strong workforce, the new 24-story glass tower offers both eco- and employee-friendly amenities.

LEED-certified, the building includes many green features, according to Michael Beatty,  president H&S Properties Development.

"It's not just in the core and shell but in the interior build out of the Legg Mason space. All of the interior carpeting is non-emitting carpeting. The paint and material woods that were used are all LEED-certified, so they were sustainable products that were used in building it," he says.

On a larger scale, the buildings HVAC system is runs through a super high-efficiency heating and cooling plant. The windows are low-E glass making the whole building "incredibly energy efficient."

"There are other little things. LEED is not just about environmentally good for the earth, its also about good for the people," Beatty notes.

With its exterior made up entirely of glass, the potential for natural light to spread throughout Legg Mason's offices was expanded when designers chose to use glass wallls in the interior office space as well.

"The natural light is fantastic. Interior spaces have interior glass-walled offices and exterior open workspaces have the windows, so everyone appreciates the natural light. The natural sunlight lights most of the floors of the building. You do have lighting as well but you don't have a situation like in most office buildings where everything inside is lit with light bulbs," Beatty explains.

The building also has a higher than average air quality and higher ceilings. "It's just a great place to be," he says.

The Legg Mason build out also features a state-of-the-art cafeteria and community building spaces, he adds.

Legg Mason occupies 14-stories in the eco-friendly building. Investment firm Oppenheimer and international law firm Hogan & Hartson are scheduled to take up residence in the building in October.

Source: Michael Beatty, H&S Properties Development
Writer: Walaika Haskins

Parks & People offering $1K grants to create green spaces

The Baltimore-based Parks & People Foundation, is offering up to $1,000 for groups interested in greening their neighborhood. The monies, part of a partnership with the Baltimore Community Foundation and the Cleaner Greener Baltimore Initiative, provides up to $1,000 in Neighborhood Greening Grants for those planning projects that will plant trees, create community gardens, clean up and restore vacant lots, clean up neighborhoods, create green schoolyards, improve water quality improve and provide environmental education activities. Grant funds may also be used for tools, plant material, equipment and other needed supplies.

One of the goals of Baltimore City's Sustainability Plan is to increase accessibility to green spaces so that they are within ¼ mile of every resident. This program helps move another step closer to attaining that goal, according to the organization.

Parks & People has found that when outdoor spaces are healthy, utilized, vibrant and green, community residents are more engaged and invested in their neighborhoods. This is the type of sustainable environment that we work to create in neighborhoods, particularly underserved neighborhoods, throughout Baltimore, the group says.

Source: Parks & People
Writer: Walaika Haskins
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