Wicked Sisters restaurant to rise from ashes of McCabe's in Hampden

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Wicked Sisters menu pays homage to McCabe's by serving its old signature burger

A new restaurant called Wicked Sisters is planned to replace McCabe's in Hampden, the proprietors say.

The restaurant is planned to open in January 2016 in the building formerly occupied by McCabe's, a popular restaurant and watering hole at 3845 Falls Road that succumbed to a single-alarm, holiday season fire in December 2014.

Wicked Sisters will be run by a team that includes Charlie Gjerde, the brother of James Beard Award winner Spike Gjerde, of Woodberry Kitchen fame; Charlie Gjerde's wife, Lori; their business partner, Carrie Podles; and Faith Paulick as the executive chef. The same team runs Alexander's Tavern and Papi's Tacos (both in Fells Point) and Huck's American Craft in Brewers Hill.

The Gjerde brothers formerly ran Spike and Charlie's restaurant near Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and the Lyric Opera House. That restaurant closed in 2004 after 13 years.

The Wicked Sisters menu, already printed and presented to the Hampden Village Merchants Association on Wednesday, includes the old McCabe's signature burger. The restaurant already has a transferred Class BD7 beer, wine and liquor license, Charlie Gjerde told the merchants' association at its regular monthly meeting at the Hampden Family Center. He said Wicked Sisters plans to offer indoor and outdoor dining and games like shuffleboard, but stressed, "These are just general ideas."

Charlie Gjerde said the brick building itself is structurally sound, but that the old restaurant and bar space will be gutted and a complete renovation will be done, at an estimated cost of more than $500,000.

"It's better to start from scratch than try to repair what's here," he said Thursday as he stood on a stepladder and strung lights on the beams of the front room downstairs, which still smelled of smoke and water damage.

The restaurant is envisioned as having "an upscale tavern feel," with an affordable price point, Gjerde said. He said a carryout component is also planned that would include "a full meal to go," including bottles of wine and six packs of beer.

The carryout won't sell liquor because of concerns raised by the Hampden Community Council, which has also heard the proposal, Gjerde said. But the restaurant will serve everything from craft cocktails and microbrew beers to Natty Boh, he said.

No plans have been submitted to the city yet, Gjerde said.

"We understand the dynamic of operating in a neighborhood and wants to be a positive force in the community," states a written synopsis of the plans passed around at the merchants' meeting. "We look forward to being a part of the Hampden community for many years to come."

The menu, which originally was created for another restaurant project and then was adapted for McCabe's, includes small plates, flatbreads, soups, salads, sandwiches and suppers. Appetizers and entrees include deviled duck eggs, falafel bites, Texas chili, veggie stew, the Hampden Cobb salad, a salmon BLT, crab cakes, brisket pot roast, and a turkey breast entree called Thanksgiving Dinner.

Gjerde, 50, of Timonium, said he looked at the McCabe's site while scouting possible locations for another Papi's Tacos, and that he likes Hampden because, "The restaurant scene here is amazing."

He said he still wants to open another Papi's, too, and is looking in the Charles Village area.

In other Hampden restaurant news, Daniela Pasta & Pastries, currently a carryout at 900 West 36th Street, plans to relocate one block east on The Avenue to the old C Studio space at 822-24 W. 36th St., where it will be reinvented as a cafe and bakery with 80 seats, said consultant Lou Catelli. The cafe is planned to open in October, he said.

Opened about five years ago by Daniela Useli, the eatery specializes in authentic Sardinian cuisine, with menu items ranging from crabmeat soup to handmade spinach lasagna.

On her website, www.danielaristorante.com, Useli says she has been passionate about cooking since she got her first recipe book at age 8, and that "There is no greater joy then to have family and friends alike to my table and see their eyes close (and) head nod upon the first bite."

Useli was in the audience as plans for the cafe also were presented to the merchants' association Wednesday.

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