Two of Hampden’s favorite places for a pint are opening their doors after nearly a year closed during the pandemic.
Birroteca, the Clipper Road spot also known for its artisanal pizzas and roasted Brussels sprouts, quietly reopened earlier this month. Meanwhile, De Kleine Duivel, known for its selection of Belgian brews, will reopen Thursday. Nicknamed “DKD,” the pub located just off the Avenue was purchased and renovated by Paul and Caroline Benkert, who run the neighboring Bluebird Cocktail Room.
Birroteca’s co-owner and manager Mike Moran said the timing to reopen felt right with vaccinations becoming more widespread and coronavirus cases dropping. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “It just seems like there’s more hope now for things to get back to normal.”
Despite being vacant for nearly a year, Birroteca’s Jones Falls area building, which is owned by the restaurant, was in good condition when staff returned, even if it lacked “that lived-in, loved look” Moran said. But staff worked hard to bring it back to life, cleaning the place thoroughly. In recent days, Moran said he’s been encouraged by visits from longtime regulars. “It feels nice when you hear that door open,” he said.
Returning Birroteca diners can expect a slightly shorter menu, with lower prices and smaller portion sizes to match, said Moran. Carryout orders must be called in and picked up in person. For now, the restaurant is offering limited indoor dining; Moran said they hope to add outdoor seating when the weather warms up. The restaurant’s chef will be Mike Broglio, who previously worked at the Bel Air location.
Meanwhile, guests at DKD will be able to order beers, craft cocktails, natural wines and a wide selection of teas for dine-in and takeout. Visitors can no longer bring in outside food, but the kitchen will offer local fish and chicken as well as housemade cheeses, salami and preserves. The restaurant “explores ethical globalization of food and drink through preservation and fermentation,” according to a release.