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The baklava at Corfu
(Photo courtesy Corfu)

Corfu, a Mediterranean cafe specializing in Greek small plates, is open in Federal Hill.

Owned by Steve Armenis, Corfu opened June 8 following an extensive renovation to the East Cross Street space that was formerly Crazy Lil's. A native of Athens, Greece, Armenis owns Shannon's Pub & Grille, an Irish pub, in Baltimore Highlands. Before that, he owned Zeus Cafe in Fells Point.

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"Steve had the diner in Fells Point, but he wanted more of a restaurant-bar," said Armenis' wife, Shannon Armenis. "He promised me if he did, it would be an Irish bar and he would name it after me."

This time, Armenis named his new restaurant for the Greek island in the Ionian sea where the Armenis family is from, and Shannon Armenis said that the Federal Hill restaurant is inspired by the islanders' hospitable nature.  "We honeymooned on Corfu," she said. "People just come outside and welcome you into their homes."

At Corfu, which seats 85 people in a dining room and at a full-service bar, the Armenises have tried to create a "rustic elegant" atmosphere.

"We want guests to enjoy the elegance but be comfortable and casual," said Shannon Armenis.

The menu, which consists mostly of small plates, or mezze, is also rooted in Greek tradition but with a contemporary attitude, she said.

Corfu is open Monday through Saturday from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m. and for brunch on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Sunday.

Corfu is located at 27 E. Cross Street in Federal Hill. For more information, call 410-617-0391 or go to corfubaltimore.com.

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