Restaurant review

Pigtown's Breaking Bread doesn't just wing it

For The Baltimore Sun
Wings with zing are the specialty at Breaking Bread.

You could say Kimberly Ellis' dream to own a restaurant took flight over her sticky wings. She and her husband, Edward, started selling their popular sweet and spicy drumettes at farmers' markets and providing them at catering jobs.

Kimberly Ellis eventually left her position as a community manager for a health care company to devote more time to the growing business they started early last year. In November, the couple found a spot to open their first restaurant, Breaking Bread, in the former home of Tilted Pig, a sports bar in Pigtown.

They don't have a liquor license, so the bar serves as a conversation area, which suits Kimberly Ellis just fine. "We wanted our space to be a place where people sit down and talk and are breaking bread," she said.

The menu focuses on the signature honey wings, which get a zing from Sriracha sauce, and other varieties like jerk, hot honey and naked. It also includes a handful of juicy, made-to-order burgers.

Kimberly Ellis, who does all the cooking, is just getting started. She offers occasional entrees and other specials during the week when she can. "I know the flavors I like," she said.

Scene & Decor The storefront restaurant brightens up its former bar vibe with a colorful chalkboard with fun drawings and typography. It boasts red walls, sleek wood tables and floors, and dozens of pretty cupcakes on glass pedestal plates set on the bar. A faux fireplace warms patrons on chilly days, while R&B music riffs through the room.

Appetizers Hungry and tired after a long workweek, my friends and I were welcomed with a warm loaf of artisan bread served with a delectable honey butter. That set the mood for our starters: a cup of soothing, creamy turkey sausage, kale and potato soup ($3.99; bowl, $4.99); six sticky wings ($7.99) that convinced us of their appeal; and a pile of accurately named "awesome fries" ($7.99), mounded with slow-cooked pulled beef barbecue, cheddar cheese, scallions and sour cream.

Entrees If you're not noshing on wings here, you're feasting on fat burgers, each housed in a soft brioche bun. All stood on their own merits. We had the bacon cheeseburger ($11.49) with Swiss, lettuce and tomato, dressed up with two thick strips of bacon, served with potato chips, and the black and blue burger ($10.99), a zesty, blackened patty with crumbled blue cheese and roasted onions, which came with chips. The turkey burger ($10.99) was a highlight with pineapple habanero salsa, pepper Jack cheese and a mixed greens salad tossed with a pleasant balsamic vinaigrette,

Drinks The restaurant is BYOB with a $2 corkage fee.

Service Our waitress was so charming we wanted to invite her to sit with us. The food, though, was slow in coming to the table.

Dessert An assortment of tempting cupcakes and a bread pudding by a local business, Desserts by Marcel, are offered. The moist red velvet cupcake ($3) was a luscious indulgence with a swirly beret of cream cheese icing. The warm, homey bread pudding ($5), laced with juicy apples, was delectable. We were thankful for leftovers for breakfast.

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Breaking Bread

Backstory: Kimberly and Edward Ellis sold wings at area festivals and farmers' markets before starting their own catering operation last year. In November, they opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant, specializing in their signature sticky wings and a variety of burgers.

Signature dish: The turkey burger with a mixed salad

TVs: One

Where: 771 Washington Blvd., Pigtown

Contact: 443-708-1903, search "Breaking Bread" on Facebook.

Open: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Credit Cards: All major

Reservations: Yes

Bottom line: You can count on Kimberly Ellis' hospitality and comfort foods to nourish your spirit for lunch or dinner.

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