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Entertainment Food & Dining

Table Talk: Answering the call with good barbecue

Mission BBQ opened to the public on Sept. 19 in Glen Burnie. But hundreds of area firefighters, police officers and military personnel had already had a taste of the new restaurant's North Carolina pulled pork, St. Louis spare ribs and Texas-style whole link sausage.

The owners of Mission BBQ, Bill Kraus and Steven Newton, ran a preview week of fundraisers for the Anne Arundel County fire and police departments as well as the Wounded Warrior Project, a national organization benefiting injured service personnel.

The mission of Mission BBQ is two-fold, Kraus says. "First, we wanted to find the world's best barbecue and deliver it to our customers." Kraus, a former Under Armour executive, worked to accomplish that mission with co-owner Steve Newton, a veteran of the Outback Steak House franchise.

Honoring American service members, police and firefighters, Kraus says, is the other part of his restaurant's mission. It will be hard for customers to miss it. Even if they somehow didn't take in the restaurant's star-spangled marketing materials, it would be hard not to notice the staff and fellow diners standing to attention every day at noon for the Pledge of Allegiance.

"We feel it is our duty as Americans to serve," said Kraus, whose son Andrew is serving in the Marine Corps. "He's taught our family a lot," Kraus said. Within hours of Monday's opening, Kraus was headed to Hawaii, from where he will sail to San Diego with the crew of the USS Boxer on a military family "tiger cruise."

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the preview week fundraisers were donated to the intended charities, Kraus said, who added that the giving will continue in other ways. Two dollars from the purchase of every $3.99 American Hero Cup will be donated to charity, too.

"I think our food's right," Kraus said. "We went and cooked for Duff Goldman and his Charm City Cakes crew. I knew he was a big barbecue aficionado"

Kraus wasn't too worried about how dovish diners would feel dining in such gung-ho surroundings. "The decor just reeks of what we're doing," Kraus said. "It feels right to us." The only grousing Kraus heard during the preview week was from an Air Force Veteran who complained about the relative under-representation of his branch on the restaurant's walls. "Bring us some," I told him.

Mission BBQ is at 7748 Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie. Call 410-773-9888 or go to mission-bbq.com.

Volt gives back On Sept. 27, Bryan Voltaggio will host the No Kid Hungry Dinner, a benefit for Share Our Strength.

Voltaggio's guest chefs for the dinner, which will be held at Volt, are Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, Va.), Spike Gjerde (Woodberry Kitchen), Matt Hill (Charlie Palmer Steak, Washington), and Charlie Palmer himself. Tickets range from $125 for the pre-dinner reception to $2,000 for seats at Table 21, where you can watch the chefs in action. To reserve tickets, call 202-478-6528

From Sept 18-24, Denny's and Boston Market will be among the thousands of restaurants participating in Share Our Strength's Dine Out For No Kid Hungry, a one-week national dine-out aiming to help end childhood hunger in America. For information, go to strength.org

Raven Reviews Throughout the 2011 NFL season, Langermann's in Canton is offering game-day specials inspired by the Ravens' doomed opponents. For Week 1, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Neal Langermann served a Devonshire sandwich, inspired by the LeMont restaurant, of toast covered with a rich creamy cheese sauce. For Sunday's game against Memphis, Langermann served Eggs Memphis, a twist on the traditional Eggs Benedict using pulled pork in Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce.

For this Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams, Langermann is preparing St. Louis barbecue spare ribs — naturally — but he's also making toasted ravioli with homemade marinara. "What spicy chicken wings are to Buffalo, toasted ravioli is to St. Louis.

Langermann's is at 2400 Boston St. Call 410-534-3287 or go to langermanns.com

A tree falls Birches has been sold. Brian Bruso opened his cozy Canton restaurant, named for a Robert Frost poem, in 2000. The restaurant, which introduced the wonders of the wood-fired grill to many Baltimore diners, will close up some time this week, according to Bruso.

"We're moving on to new adventures," said Bruso, who told me he'll be doing some catering even after he relocates to New England.

Birches is at 641 S. Montford St. Call 410-732-3000 or go to birchesrestaurant.com.

richard.gorelick@baltsun.com

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