Baltimore Diner: Joe Squared offers shared holiday party

It's holiday party time. It can be a drag, especially if you're the one planning it for your office gang. For restaurants, holiday party rentals provide a welcome, sometimes vital source of income. I'll be telling you about options in a coming column, and on the Baltimore Diner blog, but this option got my attention.

On Dec. 10, Joe Squared at the Power Plant is throwing a "shared holiday party."

So let's say you have an office group that wants to get together for the holidays — but no one wants to do the planning. Or maybe your company isn't kicking in the cash for a big party. You can essentially pool your resources with other small-business groups.

The all-inclusive price is $39.95. The menu includes Joe Squared's pizza, risotto and salads, along with a selection of beer, wine and mixed drinks. There are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, too.

And if the members of your office gang don't like one another all that much, there will be other groups of people to interact with. You can come with friends, family or whomever you want.

Guests are encouraged to bring a toy to be donated to the House of Ruth.

The shared holiday party starts at 6 p.m. at Joe Squared at the Power Plant Live, 30 Market Place. For information, call 410-962-5566 or go to

Men can shop You know how it is: Men hate to shop. But if you ply them with manly things like bourbons, beer and steak appetizers, they'll fold like tents. On Tuesday, Dec. 4, Heavy Seas Alehouse in Little Italy is throwing one of those manly shopping nights that retailers have been using to pry open men's wallets.

Tickets to Stag Night at Heavy Seas Alehouse are $49 and include bourbon tasting, two beers, a cigar, steak appetizers and a glass growler to take home. Heavy Seas Alehouse is presenting the event with Smyth Jewelers and Parfections Handmade Gourmet Chocolates.

Stag Night starts at 6 p.m. at Heavy Seas Alehouse, 1300 Bank St. Call 410 522-0850 or go to

Prime Rib changes Longtime general manager David Derewicz is leaving his position at the Prime Rib. His departure was confirmed by the restaurant's owner, Buzz Beler, who described the parting as amicable.

Two familiar figures at the Prime Rib, John Klaus and Brad Black, will now be co-managing the storied steakhouse, and Prime Rib regulars will be seeing more of Beler himself. "I'll be taking over," said Beler, who relegated himself to an ownership role during Derewicz's long and widely admired tenure.

The Prime Rib at Maryland Live Casino, a joint venture between Beler and the casino's operators, is on track to open, quietly, sometime in December. Beler also owns the Prime Rib restaurants in Philadelphia and Washington.

If you have New Year's Eve dinner reservations at the Prime Rib, by the way, you will want to reconfirm them with Brad Black.

The Prime Rib is at 1100 N. Calvert St. For information call 410-539-1804 or go to

A new J. Paul's There were notable changes down at the Harborplace pavilions this year, including the openings of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and McCormick World of Flavor. Overshadowed somewhat was the reopening of J. Paul's, which has been a tenant in the Light Street Pavilion since 1997.

The restaurant reopened in June after closing for renovations in November 2011, with a refreshed nautical theme that plays up the harbor views from its bar and dining areas. The restaurant also has added a new raw bar and an expanded waterfront patio bar.

The Harborplace restaurant, an offshoot of a popular tavern in Washington's Georgetown, has spruced up its fare, too. A recently launched winter menu includes appetizers, entrees, sandwiches, salads and raw bar options, all in a classic American grill vernacular.

So look for a Virginia beef chili, entree salads with chili-rubbed steak or oak-grilled chicken salad, roasted turkey and roast beef sandwiches, and entrees like beer-battered fish and chips and tilapia fish and grits.

None of the menu changes suggest a dining revolution, but it's good to see that J. Paul's has returned with a fresh outlook and attitude.

J. Paul's is at 301 Light St., in the Light Street Pavilion at Harborplace. For information call 410-528-1598 or go to

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