Oyster Bay Grille is set to open late this month in the Towson Circle development. It will take over the back restaurant space that has sat vacant since Vin closed in 2008.
The team behind Oyster Bay Grille includes brothers Nick and John Daskalakis and their longtime friend Sypros Stavrakas, who was a principal in the development of Taverna Athena, an original Harborplace tenant, and the well-remembered Fells Point restaurant Opa.
Joining them is Christopher Vocci, formerly of the Baltimore Country Club, who was originally brought on as a menu consultant but was ultimately hired as the executive chef.
Nick Daskalakis said that the plan is for Oyster Bay Grille to be in operation by the end of August, pending final approval from the county's health and fire departments, with its official opening sometime in September. Oyster Bay Grille will retain the basic layout and structure of Vin, but with an updated look, he said.
The menu will feature fish and shellfish dishes and Creekstone Farms steaks.
Bagby news The Bagby Restaurant Group, whose member restaurants include Bagby Pizza, Ten Ten and Fleet Street Kitchen, has announced the hiring of Chris Allen as the executive chef for Cunningham's, the restaurant it will be opening this fall in Towson City Center, the former Investment Building.
A native of Allentown, Pa., Allen headed the kitchens at Lotus Farm to Table in Media, Pa., and at Farmers' Cabinet and Boilermaker in Philadelphia.
In other Bagby news, Chris Amendola, who took over as executive chef at Fleet Street Kitchen in April, has now taken over Ten Ten, too, and has begun refining the menu.
"I really want to highlight the seasons at Ten Ten through approachable bistro cuisine," Amendola said. "A bistro is a neighborhood restaurant, where people want to feel comfortable." Early changes from Amendola include replacing shrimp dumplings with cornmeal fried oysters and the addition of a summer melon salad featuring country ham and peanuts.
Coffee Talk There's coffee, and then there's coffee.
On Sunday, Johnny's in Roland Park will host a signature drink competition, with its own barista taking on competitors representing Dooby's, Lamill Coffee, Spro, Sidewalk Espresso.
Contestants can choose their brewing method, and alcohol is allowed. But the drink has to be drinkable — so no sherbet-like things that require spoons. And here's the twist: It has to mix in both coffee and at least one stone fruit.
The Coffee Signature Drink competition is at 5 p.m. Sunday at Johnny's (4800 Roland Ave., 410-773-0777, johnnysdownstairs.com). The cost is $15, which includes a drink ticket and snack.
On Monday Lamill Coffee at the Four Season Hotel Baltimore introduced the Disloyalty Card, a new program targeted at consumers who want to immerse themselves in the city's coffee scene.
Inspired by a similar program created in London, the Disloyalty Card encourages coffee lovers to step away from their favorite cafe table and visit other coffee-conscious spots, at least the ones participating in the programs. Consumers who have their cards stamped at each location will get a complimentary beverage at the cafe of their choice.
Along with Lamill (200 International Drive, 410-576-5800, fourseasons.com) the Disloyalty Card locations in Baltimore include Charmington's, Dooby's, 3201 Eastern Ave., Pitango Gelato and Sidewalk Espresso.
Office space The Wild Orchid cafe has closed in Annapolis.
The closing was confirmed by Lou Hyatt, one of the owners of the Severn Bank building at 200 Westgate Circle, where the Wild Orchid was a tenant for about two years.
Owned by Karen and Jim Wilder, the Wild Orchid was more successful in its original home, the bungalow in Annapolis' Eastport neighborhood that is now home to Vin 909.
Hyatt said the plans are to use the space occupied by The Wild Orchid, and before that Greystone Grill, as office space.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun