Papi's Tacos to open Hampden location

The Fells Point restaurant and bar Papi’s Tacos will open a location in Hampden this year.

Named Papi’s Hampden, the eatery plans to open inside the former Dimitri’s Tavern on Falls Road by the end of the summer, said co-owner Charlie Gjerde. The Papi’s team is in the midst of the city-permitting process, he said, and will then spend two to three months renovating the space.

Major aspects of the new location — the dining room, bar and kitchen — are larger than the Fells Point restaurant, Gjerde said, which should result in new offerings on the menu. But otherwise, Gjerde plans to stick to his original concept.

“I love the concept and the products we put out [at Papi’s in Fells Point], so I don’t think we’re going to change a whole lot,” Gjerde said.

Known for build-your-own-tacos and margaritas, Papi’s Tacos opened in Fells Point in March 2013. The Hampden location will be his team’s first attempt at replicating the original’s success.

Gjerde said he was encouraged by the success of Wicked Sisters, the Hampden restaurant Gjerde opened in October 2016 with his wife, Lori Gjerde and her sister, Carrie Podles. (The group also owns Alexander’s Tavern and Huck’s American Craft.) He believes the shops on and around West 36th Street (known as “The Avenue”) benefit the restaurants.

“Hampden is a great collaboration of retail, restaurants and bars all coming together,” he said. “We love being a part of that scene.”

On Jan. 12, the Hampden dive bar Dimitri’s Tavern closed after nearly 45 years in business. (Owner James Dimitri told The Baltimore Sun it was time to relax.) It was sold to CityWide Properties, which is now leasing the building at 3820 Falls Road to Gjerde, said Steve Verstandig, CityWide’s owner.

As of now, the Papi’s Hampden dining room and bar will be able to hold 115 people, Gjerde said. Ownership is contemplating adding an outdoor patio that would hold another 40 people, he said. The space also has a parking lot with 23 spots, which Papi’s customers will be able to use, according to Gjerde.

Gjerde said he’s happy to expand his footprint in Hampden, a neighborhood known for elevated and interesting dining and bars.

“Up there, there’s a little more room to do your thing,” Gjerde said.

wesley.case@baltsun.com

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