Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun photo
Mix together Ryan Perlberg (right), a restaurateur with a green thumb for growing winning concepts (Stuggy's, Rye); Chris Amendola (pictured at left), a chef who has trained in some of the East Coast's most celebrated kitchens (McCrady's, Blue Hill at Stone Barns), and Ryan Sparks (center), one of Baltimore's most in-demand mixologists (Jack's Bistro, Of Love & Regret), and you get Bookmakers, a sparkling new Federal Hill joint that takes its food, cocktails and style seriously. Bookmakers is Perlberg's follow-up to Rye, his Fells Point cocktail lounge, but a bigger kitchen in Federal Hill means bigger food -- like pan-roasted strip steak, roasted pork leg and fried chicken, served with greens, biscuits and homemade jam. Bookmakers Cocktail Club (31 E. Cross St., Federal Hill, 443-438-4039, bookmakersbaltimore.com)
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Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun photo
You have entered a quinoa-free zone. And you can forget about portion control. The bigger, the better at this new casino restaurant. But Fieri, famous for finding America's favorite diner food, is big believer in quality. So, the Mayor of Flavortown Burger is topped with Swiss cheese, onion straws and a whole other sandwich's worth of sliced pastrami, which Fieri proudly says he does not make in-house. "We can't make pastrami this good,' he says. Did we mention all of the burgers are served on a double-grilled pretzel bun? Guy Fieri's Baltimore Kitchen + Bar (Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, 1525 Russell St., 443-931-4200, caesars.com/baltimore)
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If you've been away from Baltimore this summer, or just hanging out by the pool, you've missed a lot of dining news. Starting in May and running through early September there have been some pretty stellar openings. We've found a lot to love about these places, but we've homed in on the one thing we love most about each of them.