by Richard Gorelick
The Baltimore Sun
5:15 PM EDT, October 29, 2012
On Sunday, Baltimore-area restaurants were warily watching the advancing storm, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. But they remained largely reticent on social media, providing little reassurance or guidance for their customers.
There were exceptions. A Sunday morning email from the owners of Kooper's Tavern reassured customers that the Fells Point establishments were prepared for the storm: "We have generators ready in case of a power outage and will remain open to serve you during the storm. KEEP SAFE!" They were also promoting cocktail specials: "$5 Hurricanes and $5 dark and sandy remain in effect from Sunday morning through Wednesday night."
Kooper's owner Patrick Russell said that Fells Point establishments learned hard lessons from Hurricane Isabel, the destructive 2003 storm that knocked many restaurants out of business. "When Isabel hit, a lot of people weren't prepared for it," said Russell, who has since invested in generators and other storm-survival equipment. "I want people to know that if something does happen that Kooper's will be serving them food and beverage."
Russell said that he would make his food trucks, Chowhound Burger Wagon and Woody's Taco Island, available to provide food for emergency management personnel and others affected by the storm
CLOSED: By Sunday evening, restaurants began posting updates on their Monday operating status. Phillips Seafood announced that their restaurants would be closed in Baltimore, Annapolis, and Atlantic City, and Obrycki's posted that its restaurants at BWI Airport would close on Monday.
Victoria Gastro Pub announced it would close on Monday but that its bar would stay open, and James Joyce Pub in Harbor East said it was closing on Monday, but not because of the storm. The pub is having its floors refinished. Sotto Sopra downtown, Slainte in Fells Point, Ranazul in Maple Lawn, and Oceanaire, Roy's, Fleming's Steak House and Lebanese Taverna in Harbor East were staying closed on Monday as was Banditos in Federal Hill, Brewer's Art in Mount Vernon, Crush in Belvedere Square and Andy Nelson's in Cockeysville.
Restaurants that opened on Monday with intentions stayed open as long as they could but threw into the towel when the streets were shut down.
The Manor Tavern in Monkton opened for a while but closed around noon. Golden West in Hampden opened for lunch but closed at 6 p.m. Ryleigh's Oyster opened for lunch but closed at 2:30 p.m. Woodberry Kitchen tried to open for dinner but could not. Teavolve in Canton was open on Monday until 2 p.m.
Harborplace and the Gallery announced Monday closings on Sunday night, but retailers and restaurants with exterior entrances had the option of staying open. La Tasca, though, was staying closed on Monday, and no one answered phones on Monday morning, though, at Tir Na Nog or Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Towson Town Center Mall was closed on Monday as was Arundel Mills.
The Prime Rib closed on Monday. Aldo's closed in Little Italy on Monday, and Chazz: A Bronx Original was closing early.
OPEN: On Monday morning, Langermann's posted this notice: "It's raining, it's pouring, but no one around here is snoring. We're up and at 'em ready to serve the masses today! Take cover from the storm with us and we'll feed you well, we promise!"
Wit & Wisdom is open Monday in Harbor East. Blue Agave Restaurant, Mother's Tavern, SoBo Cafe, Stalking Horse Tavern, Delia Foley's, Ropewalk Tavern, No Idea Tavern, Brewer's Cask and Ledo's Pizza in Federal Hill, Caesar's Den in Little Italy, Liam Flynn's Ale House in Charles North, Midtown BBQ and Brew in Mount Vernon, Kooper's and One-Eyed Mike's in Fells Point, Spirits Tavern in Upper Fells Point and the Grilled Cheese Co. announced they would stay open on Monday as long as their power held out. Chaps Pit Beef in Pulaski Industrial Area, Bagby Pizza in Harbor East, and Towson Hot Bagels and Zia's Cafe in Towson posted notices that they were staying open on Monday.
Mick O'Shea's opened downtown.
B&O Brasserie is open Monday; much of the staff stayed at the hotel overnight. Also downtown, the new Homeslyce Pizza is open. Alonso's, S'ghetti Eddie's and Roland Park Bagel were staying open on Monday. Artifact Coffee in Hampden was staying open on Monday. DelMarva Southern Cafe, MaHaffery's and Sip & Bite in Canton were opening in Canton.
Not surprisingly, food trucks were not coming out. Kooper's Chowhound Burger Wagon, Woody's Taco Island, South Carolina BBQ and the Wild Dog Cart posted notices late Sunday and Monday that they were staying off the road.
• Follow the Maryland Weather blog for updates and preparedness tips.
The storm's timing was rough for the new Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Harbor East. On Sunday, the restaurant was laying down sandbags along its patio doors.
"It's not what you actually wish for an opening day, but you have to play the hand your dealt," said Arthur Forgette, regional manager for CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries. "It's almost like you do whatever you can. You're at the mercy of nature. You hope the power supply holds up. We'll be there at 7 a.m. (on Monday morning) and open for lunch at 11 a.m."
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