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New Restaurants Embrace Pizza, Beer and Greek Food

Birroteca
Birroteca - Steve Ruark
Ed Bosco wanted to open his Neapolitan pizza place near Chicago’s Wrigley Field nearly a decade ago.

But he bid on the property and lost. But the idea lingered long after for the native New Yorker and former commodities trader.

Then his wife Karianne Kresevich got acquainted with Baltimore through her work as a consultant for Laureate Education Inc. The couple toured the waterfront neighborhoods and thought Canton was the perfect spot for Verde Pizza Napoletana, which opened in September. The 60-seat restaurant opened in September and next year Bosco will expand with as many as 50 seats upstairs, which may house Italian small plates and a wine bar.

“I call Baltimore my Goldilocks city: It’s not too big and not too small.”

Verde is just one of nearly two-dozen restaurants that opened this year, or reopened following a renovation. Pizza, Italian cuisine, craft brews, Greek food and farm to table are some of the dining options that emerged.

Among the restaurants that spruced up its space to keep up with all the new dining options is Greektown’s Ikaros Restaurant, which doubled its space this year to 10,000 square feet and 450 seats. It’s adding another 50 seats for outdoor dining in the spring, Co-owner Xenophon "Xenos" Kohilas says.  

The 150-seat Birroteca, which serves contemporary Italian fare in the former Kolper’s space in Hampden, opened in October.

“I saw an opportunity for a place that specializes in craft beers in the neighborhood,” says Owner Robbin Haas, named Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine nearly a decade ago when he worked in Miami.

The fact that many of the new eateries are independently owned shows that the economy started turning around a year ago, says local Zagat Editor Marty Katz.  That’s when the owners of these venues started looking for available space and financing.Whether Baltimore will support all of these new restaurants remains to be seen, he says.

Still, overall restaurant sales are projected to grow next year. The National Restaurant Association predicts Maryland restaurant sales will grow nearly 4 percent next year, to $10.3 billion.

Kohilas is counting on this growth to carry Ikaros through 2013 and beyond. After watching diners flock to shiny new restaurants in Harbor East and other neighborhoods, Kohilas decided he couldn’t sit back. 

“I didn’t want them to attract my customers,” Kohilas says of the new restaurants in town. “I don’t want to watch them grow and me to go. I wanted to be part of that.” His restaurant renovation made room for a fresh-fish display and a lounge. 
 
Ikaros and other new and expanded restaurants are listed below. The list doesn’t include all the new spots in the ‘burbs, such as the new restaurants that opened at Maryland Live Casino.
 
HARBOR EAST
 
Ouzo Bay
Fresh fish is on display at this Greek restaurant whose owners include Alex Smith, the grandson of Harbor East developer John Paterakis Sr.
 
PABU
The final culinary installment in the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, the Japanese restaurant features more than 100 sakes, sushi and sashimi.
 
Fleet Street Kitchen
The Bagby Restaurant Group opened this restaurant next to TEN TEN, which opened last year. It features fresh produce from Cunningham Farms, the restaurant's own Baltimore County farm.

Townhouse Kitchen + Bar
Owned by an Illinois restaurant company, this 8,000-square-foot eatery serves burgers, tacos and small plates.
 
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
It’s the third Maryland store for the Chattanooga, Tenn., company. The restaurant features German-style beers, sandwiches, pizza, burgers and seafood.
 
LITTLE ITALY

Heavy Seas Alehouse
Located in the Tack Factory, this gastropub licenses the name of Hugh Sisson’s Heavy Seas Brewing.
 
ROLAND PARK 

Johnny’s
The latest restaurant from Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual setting, next to their Petit Louis Bistro restaurant. 
 
HIGHLANDTOWN

Clementine at the Creative Alliance
The popular Lauraville restaurant opened a second location in the performing arts space.
 
CANTON

Shiso Tavern
The contemporary bistro serves sushi, Asian fusion cuisine and sake.
 
Verde
The focus is on Neapolitan pizza and craft beers. Look out for more menu items in 2013.
 
The Fork and Wrench
It took two years to complete the restaurant’s design, meant to evoke the working classes of the 20s, 30s and 40s.
 
Of Love and Regret
This gastropub is a collaboration between brewer Brian Strumke and Ted Stelzenmuller’s Jack’s Bistro.
 
HAMPDEN

The Food Market
The Avenue’s newest eatery has quickly become one of Baltimore’s hottest restaurants, serving up comfort food in a modern, industrial space.
 
Birroteca
Robin Haas is behind the restaurant that used to house Kolper’s. The neighborhood joint specializes in artisan Italian food, craft beer and pizza.

Artifact Coffee
Woodberry Kitchen's Spike Gjerde expanded with this coffee and restaurant that serves food make with locally sourced ingredients. It now serves dinner. 
 
FEDERAL HILL

Langermann’s On Light
The Canton restaurant is now serving up its fried-green tomatoes and shrimp and grits at its new South Baltimore location.
 
Light Street Cafe
It serves all-day breakfast staples like pancakes and omelets, plus corned beef and Reuben sandwiches.
 
Banditos
This taco and tequila joint opened in the space that housed the Taco Spot.

DOWNTOWN

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
The former home of Phillips Seafood is now home to Cajun cuisine.
 
Brio Tuscan Grille
The long-vacant former Legal Sea Foods space got some Italian flair with the opening of this Ohio restaurant chain.
 
Restaurants that reopened following a renovation:

Mt. Washington Tavern
This neighborhood favorite was gutted by a two-alarm fire, but it reopened following a $4 million renovation.
 
J. Paul’s
The Harborplace restaurant reopened in June after a six-month renovation, which included an expanded raw bar and outdoor dining. Its new winter menu features tilapia shrimp and grits and pretzel-crusted chicken tenders.
 
13th Floor
The room with a view atop the Belvedere condo building, the 13th floor got a $500,000 renovation and a sleek new look.
 
Ikaros Restaurant 
The Greektown restaurant doubled its space, hoping to lure some of the diners flocking to swanky new eateries in Harbor East.
 
Blue Agave Restaurant
New owners took over the popular Mexican restaurant and reopened it following a renovation. 

Has BmoreMedia Editor Julekha Dash left some obvious new eateries off this list? Go ahead and let her know about it so she can update it. Send an email to julekha@bmoremedia.com.

Birroteca photographs by STEVE RUARK

Mount Washington Tavern photographs courtesy of Mount Washington Tavern / Justin Tsucalas 

13th Floor photographs courtesy of 13th Floor / Merkle Photography 

Fleet Street Kitchen photograph courtesy of Fleet Street Kitchen


Click on each photograph to see the captions. 
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