In Fells Point, a new Italian restaurant from the Kali's Restaurant Group

The Kali's Restaurant Group will open Anastasia, an Italian restaurant, in the Thames Street location where its used to operate Meli.

The menu of approachable Italian food — think pastas, panini, charcuterie and gourmet pizzas —is from executive chef Ryn Dorsey. The wine program will offer bio-dynamic and sustainable options, according to Tracey Wise, the restaurant's general manager.


When Anastasia opens, it will serve dinner only but will soon add lunch service, and eventually breakfast service, too, Wise said.

Since Meli's closing last October, the two-level space within the Admiral Fell Inn has been thoroughly renovated.


The lower level, which at Meli was lounge-like, with a postage stamp-size stage, will at Anastasia be a fully committed dance space, which Wise said will be targeted to an audience that likes to dance but not necessarily to hard-core music. The club atmosphere, Wise said, won't kick in until 10 p.m., to give diners on the upper level time to finish eating in relative quiet.

Anastasia will have a walk-in area on the upper level, where customers can come in for quick carryout meals and late-night cappuccinos.

Anastasia, Wise said, is the name of the eldest daughter of Kali's owner, Vasilis Keramidas.

New in Maple Lawn The Grille at Maple Lawn (9191 Maple Lawn Blvd., 410-776-7711, thegrilleml.com) has opened in the space that was formerly Venegas Prime Filet. Venegas closed in June, leaving a vacancy in the anchor position at Maple Lawn, a 600-acre mixed-use, planned community in southern Howard County.

The Grille is the first of two major openings at Maple Lawn. Coming in February is the Polo Club, an Indian restaurant from the operators of Baltimore's Ambassador Dining Room. While the Grille is occupying a pre-existing building, the Polo Club will operate in a new building, which is now under construction.

"We're thrilled that we have two really terrific new concepts coming to Maple Lawn," said Michael Greenbaum, a principal in Greenbaum & Rose, the developers of Maple Lawn. "We're already known as place to meet for great food and a place to meet friends halfway between Baltimore and Washington."

The operators of the Grille started inviting diners in for trial-run "Friends and Family" evenings on Nov. 14 but have been mostly quiet about the restaurant's opening.

Adolfo Mendez, one of the restaurant's co-owners, said that he and his partners were welcoming comments and suggestions from diners during their extended trial period, which made a quiet transition into the restaurant's officially opening. In any event, the Grille at Maple Lawn is now open, serving lunch and dinner daily.

Mendez described the Grille's menu as a combination of classic American and classic Mediterranean fare. Specialty items include filet mignon, paella and scallops with grits.

A retired pharmacist, Mendez is the operator of Cubano's, a Cuban restaurant in Silver Spring, and Nellie's Sports Bar in Washington. His partner at the Grille at Maple Lawn is his friend, Javier Lecha, an aerospace technician.

Coming to Harbor East The owners of Cava Mezze, a Washington-based chain of informal Greek restaurants, have signed a lease for their first Baltimore location.

Cava Mezze will open in the Hyatt Place Hotel, a $24.4 million construction project just underway at the intersection of Fleet Street and Central Avenue in the Harbor East area. The project is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.


Friends Ike Grigoropoulos and Ted Xenohristos, along with chef Dimitri Moshovitis, opened the first Cave Mezze in a Rockville strip mall in 2006 They added a Capital Hill location in 2009 and a third one in Clarendon, Va., in 2011.

The specialty at Cava is small plates, which are called tapas in Spain but mezze in Greece, of traditional Greek dishes like souvlaki, spanakopita, lamb chops and calamari.

The restaurant group also operates a fast-casual spin-off concept, Cava Grill, which now has five locations in the D.C. metro area.

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