Darker Than Blue, Casey Jenkins' white-tablecloth soul-food cafe on Greenmount Avenue, will close at the end of October. The restaurant's last day is Oct. 31, according to Jenkins.
"We've been able to outgrow our current location," Jenkins said of his Waverly spot. "We had always been looking for ways to expand."
Jenkins said he is in negotiations to relocate Darker Than Blue to the mixed-use retail and residential complex being developed in the 3200 block of St. Paul St. in Charles Village. The Charles Village location would have a liquor license, Jenkins said, something the Greenmount Avenue location didn't have.
"This would give us the opportunity to act like adults in the restaurant industry," Jenkins said. "That's what I'm excited about."
But Jenkins has another project first. He'll be opening Birdland Sports Bar & Grill within the next few weeks in the Rosemont neighborhood along Belair Road.
Jenkins said he purchased the old Ray Charles Lounge about a year ago but didn't do anything with the property right away.
"We considered moving Darker Than Blue out there," Jenkins said. "But we decided it wasn't the right atmosphere. Still, we knew it was a great location for a restaurant."
Birdland will first and foremost be a traditional sports bar, Jenkins said, but one that serves "hearty meals with hefty portions."
"We're not Spike & Charlie's, we're not Cindy Wolf. We create comfort food," Jenkins said. "We want to be a great sports bar with great food."
Birdland Sports Bar & Grill will open at 6319 Belair Road on Nov. 8.
New in Hampden The Arthouse, which had been a contemporary art gallery on the Avenue in Hampden, reopened Oct. 9 as The Arthouse Pizza Bar and Gallery.
The transformation from gallery to gallery/eatery was years in the making.
"My intention was to have a cafe all along," said owner Joan Dolina, who opened The Arthouse in 2010 as a gallery specializing in furniture, gifts and handcrafted items. Potential business partners came and went, Dolina said, and the cafe didn't happen. Then, about a year ago, Dolina found the partners she was looking for, and right in her own backyard.
They are Pria Rayadurg and Randy Shayotovich, who own the Baltimore-based group of Cloud Nine boutiques, including the one in Hampden, which virtually next door to The Arthouse.
That settled, Dolina closed up The Arthouse for renovations, acquired a license to sell beer and wine and started working in earnest to transform the gallery into a 40-seat cafe.
The specialty at The Arthouse is brick-oven pizza, with fresh, locally purveyed toppings, supplemented by a menu of small plates, salads and soups. The Arthouse will continue to display and sell artwork, Dolina said, but there won't be separate hours for the gallery.
The Arthouse is at 1115 W. 36th St. For information call 443-438-7700.
Suddenly, Belvedere Square is the center of the universe, or at least North Baltimore.
The Senator Theatre reopened to the public last week. And the merchants in Belvedere Square's market have just started keeping later hours, in part to accommodate patrons of the movie theater. The market will now stay open until 10 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
And last Friday, Amy and Spike Gjerde opened a family-style diner named Shoo-Fly in the free-standing space that was most recently Crush.
The restaurant seats close to 100 overall, including counter space on the restaurant's lowest level. The restaurant is open for dinner daily at 4 p.m.
Shoo-fly is located at 510 E. Belvedere Ave. For information call 410-464-9222or go to shooflydiner.com.