Restaurateurs behind La Cuchara opening seafood restaurant in South Baltimore

Minnow, a seafood restaurant from the team behind La Cuchara, is coming to South Baltimore.

The team behind La Cuchara in the Jones Falls area is opening a second restaurant in South Baltimore.

Brothers Ben and Jake Lefenfeld are opening Minnow, a seafood restaurant, on the first floor of the 2 East Wells apartment building. Ben Lefenfeld said the group is targeting a May opening for the restaurant, which will seat about 130 guests. 

Jake Lefenfeld will serve as the restaurant's general manager. Ben Lefenfeld declined to name the executive chef (though it won't be him — he plans to stay in the kitchen at La Cuchara).

Minnow will focus on sustainable seafood, and Ben Lefenfeld said he envisions the restaurant as a spot locals could come a couple times a week without breaking the bank.

"This is a concept that we’ve wanted to do for a while," he said. "We feel like in the affordable price point and neighborhood market, there's not really much out there as far as a great place to go to get a nice piece of sauteed or grilled fish."

Small plates will run $6-$12, with entrees priced from $14-$26, he said. The menu is still in the works, and Lefenfeld said in the coming weeks he'll be experimenting with some recipes at La Cuchara that may wind up on Minnow's menu.

The restaurant will also offer a wine list with heavy Mediterranean influences, to match the variety of preparations that will go into its food. 

Minnow will look to source their ingredients locally when possible, serving a combination of farmed and wild-caught seafood.

"We're on the lookout all the time for just the best quality product that we can provide for the guest," Lefenfeld said. "As far as sustainable goes, that’s just the responsible way of doing business in this industry at this point."

Lefenfeld said his team targeted South Baltimore because they saw a need for more dining options in the neighborhood. 

"We also think that the neighborhood is under-served, if you will, by the local restaurant scene," he said. "We definitely think that for the amount of people that live and work in the area, it’s nice to have another everyday restaurant option."

Minnow is moving into a space that was previously slated for a concept called At Light's End, a restaurant by former Tark's Grill executive chef Jeff Keeney. Keeney said in an email that his project, which was originally slated to open late last summer, is no longer in the works. 

"I have decided to move on from the 2 [East Wells] project," Keeney wrote in an email.

Keeney is now the executive chef of Old Town Grill in Hampstead.

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