The Light Street Pavilion at Harborplace is getting a new food court in a new location. The 260-seat food court will take over the old Phillips Seafood Buffet space on the pavilion's lower level. It will open in the spring of 2012, around the time that Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. opens in the pavilion's anchor space, where Phillips Seafood restaurant was. Phillips ended its 30-plus year tenancy at Harborplace in September, closing its main restaurant space, the buffet and a Phillips Express.
Plans for the food court include a partially covered exterior seating area in a Harborplace parcel that has never before had a defined public use. While outdoor seating at Harborplace, with minimal exception, has been oriented toward the water, the food court's seating area is designated for the west side of the pavilion, which runs alongside Light Street.
Renovations to and an expansion of J. Paul's, including a remodeling of its outdoor bar, are also part of renovations to Light Street Pavilion that General Growth Properties is readying for next spring.
Major remodeling is under way on the upper level of the Light Street Pavilion, which until recently housed the Light Street Food Hall.
The last remaining Food Hall vendors, including a Subway, a New York Deli and Roman Delight, closed Sept. 30, leaving only Hooters and the upper levels of Urban Outfitters and the H&M retail stores as active spaces on the second floor. The retail stores and kiosks that made up the upper level's Sam Smith Market are gone, too. When Harborplace opened in 1980, the Food Hall included more than 30 vendors selling Italian, Greek, Mexican and Chinese fare along with hot dogs, pretzels ice cream and hamburgers. Thrasher's French Fries, Flying Fruit Fantasy and Haagen-Dazs were among the Food Hall's opening-day tenants on July 2, 1980.
The current food options on the Light Street Pavilion's lower level now include, in addition to J. Paul's, the Fudgery, a Thai Noodle Bowl, the Ooh la la Cupcakery, and Oasis, the Light Street Pavilion's last surviving original tenant. Longtime tenant Lee's Ice Cream is gone, as is the Johnny Rockets diner, which opened in 1991.
Greek Festival renames itself Since the early 1970s, folks have flocked to the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation for the church's annual fall Greek festival. They come for the music and dancing, to buy art and handicrafts and to tour the handsome 1889 church building designed by Charles E. Cassell.
They come for the food, and, on its 40th anniversary, the festival's organizers have recognized this, renaming the event: This year's edition is called the Greek Food Festival.
Some visitors stay above ground on Preston Street for the gyros, souvlaki, fried calamari and slow-roasted legs of lamb. But discerning festival-goers make their way into the cathedral's basement for a meal at Aphrodite's Restaurant, where the homemade offerings always include lamb shank with rice pilaf, spanakopita, pastitsio, Greek salad and dolmades. A pastry shop, with baklava and other honey-soaked Greek treats, is downstairs, too.
New this year: a Greek yogurt sundae bar and a Greek coffee bar.
The festival will be held at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation at 24 W. Preston St., rain or shine, on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and on Sunday from noon-6 p.m. Call 410-727-1831 or go to http://www.batlimoregreekfestival.com.
Diners still wanted The producers of "Kitchen Nightmares" are still taking reservations for diners who want to be a part of the reality show's filming at Cafe Hon, which begins on Friday.
A producer with the show said that reservations for the show are constantly moved around. "People email in reservation requests as soon as the notice is posted, but "then they realize they've made other commitments, or just can't come at the time we're offering," said Hayden Mauk, one of the show's producers.
So if you'd like to dine at Cafe Hon during the filming, which is scheduled for Nov. 4-7, there is still time to contact the production team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, party size and a phone number the producers can reach you. The restaurant will not be taking reservations for these days; only the producers are.
"Kitchen Nightmares," now in its fourth season, dispatches celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay to whip beleaguered restaurants into shape. In past episodes, Ramsay has helped restaurants with a wide range of woes not always limited to culinary incompetence. Sometimes, the restaurant in question is just in a rut but in a few cases, the strong personality of its owner or head chef are threatening to run the restaurant right off the rails.
It always makes for good television, though.
Wine awards Four Maryland restaurants were among the 50 restaurants singled out for their wine lists by diners using the Open Table online reservation service.
The honored restaurants were Cinghiale in Baltimore, Pairings Bistro in Bel Air, Bistro Blanc in Glenelg and Iron Bridge Wine Company in Columbia. The Diners' Choice awards for top wine lists are derived, according to Open Table, from "more than ten million reviews" submitted by their subscribers.