By Richard Gorelick, The Baltimore Sun
August 6, 2013
The forthcoming Belvedere Square restaurant from Woodberry Kitchen owner Spike Gjerde has a name: Shoo-Fly.
First announced in May, the "farmhouse diner" is being readied for a mid-September opening in the free-standing building that was formerly Crush, according to Gjerde. Shoo-Fly will share its 5,000-square-foot space with Gjerde's burgeoning canning and preservation operations, which are currently housed at Woodberry Kitchen.
Details of the opening and operations were confirmed by Patrick "Opie" Crooks, who has been hired as the new restaurant's chef de cuisine. Most recently the head chef at Roy's of Baltimore, Crooks has already joined Gjerde's team at Woodberry, where, he said, he has been immersing himself in the intensive sourcing program.
Shoo-Fly, Crooks said, will be no less committed to responsible sourcing than Woodberry Kitchen. But, Crooks said, Shoo-Fly will be an easy fit for families in the Belvedere Square area.
"We're going to have great food," Crooks said. "We're not going to take ourselves too seriously. We're going to do approachable food that anyone's going to be able to enjoy."
The Shoo-Fly menu, a mix of regional comfort foods and diner fare, will include things like sourdough pancakes with maple syrup, jars of local crab salad, open-face sandwiches like creamed chipped beef, served with toasted butter bread and cured beef gravy, and a Hangtown Fry, the classic dish of fried oysters, eggs, bacon and toast.
Menu items listed under section headings like Snacks, Jars, Griddle, Eggs, Biscuits and Open Faced will be priced between $4 and $15. Large Plates will range from $12 to $20.
The restaurant will seat 75 overall, including counter space on the restaurant's lowest level. The ground floor will house a bar, while the uppermost level will double as a private event space.
Shoo-Fly will be open for dinner daily from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Valet parking will be available.
A new nickel Robbin Haas, the restaurateur behind the successful Birroteca, will open the Nickel Taphouse in Mount Washington in the Kelly Avenue space that was most recently Blue Sage and, before that, The Falls. Haas said he hopes to have Nickel Taphouse open by October.
The concept, he said, is based on the taverns in Buffalo, N.Y., where he grew up.
"Every bar in Buffalo had a dining room in the back," Haas said. "They were places for working-class people."
The offerings will include a few items that are popular in the Buffalo area but that are seldom seen in Baltimore. Among them are a smoked whitefish dip with Saltines — something his wife insisted on, Haas said.
"It will be easy to come and do a nosh or nibble," he said about the menu he envisions for Nickel Taphouse.
Haas said that Nickel Taphouse will serve roast beef on kummelweck, a distinctive caraway roll that is found almost exclusively in the Buffalo area. Haas said that the sandwich, known to Western New York natives as "beef on weck," is as popular in Buffalo as the city's famous wings.
Beltway deals Baltimore County Restaurant Week — which is actually 21/2 weeks long — starts Friday and runs through Aug. 25. More than 50 restaurants have signed up for the 17-day dining promotion, which is sponsored by the Baltimore County Office of Tourism & Promotion and the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce.
Participating restaurants will be offering special two- or three-course lunch and dinner menus priced for $15, $25 or $35. A restaurant may choose to offer more than one special menu at different price points.
For more information about Baltimore County Restaurant Week go to baltimorecountyrestaurantweek.com.
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