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Food & Drink

Bits & Bites: Texas doughnuts rise in Maryland, Papi Cuisine gets Prim & Proper and Baltimore bagel shop competes for a Queen

The end of the year is a slow time for many of us. A recent article in The Atlantic labeled the stretch between Christmas and New Year’s Eve “Dead Week,” and I think the term perfectly embodies that quiet, unfocused period where time seems to have less meaning and work is largely ignored.

Not so for the restaurant industry, where December is packed with holiday parties and visits from diners who have grown weary of cooking for themselves. So it’s not exactly surprising that restaurant news was plentiful as 2022 came to a close. In today’s column, I’ll share some tidbits about what’s to come in 2023.

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Texas treats in Maryland

A Texas favorite has made its way to Odenton.

The Houston-based Shipley Do-Nuts chain will open its first Maryland store Jan. 9 at 1099 Annapolis Road, according to signs on the building that were spotted by my Baltimore Sun colleague Ngan Ho.

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Houston, Texas favorite Shipley Do-Nuts will land in Maryland with a new store opening in Odenton Jan. 9.

The pastry shop’s menu features more than 60 varieties of doughnuts, as well as apple fritters, bear claws, cinnamon rolls and savory snacks like sausage-filled kolaches.

The Odenton store is just the first stop in the gourmet doughnut brand’s plans to bring 25 shops to Maryland in the coming years, according to a news release issued last year.

Annapolis arcade bar adds karaoke

Soon a Friday night in Annapolis can include both a game of Pac-Man and some karaoke tunes. GameOn Bar + Arcade will add karaoke and video games to the entertainment lineup this week at its location in Maryland’s capital city.

On Jan. 6, the bar will unveil a third-floor space with private rooms for belting out the latest hits. Other rooms feature video game consoles. GameOn owner Casey Linthicum said she and her husband, Eli Linthicum, wanted to emulate some of the experiences they’ve seen in bigger cities like New York and Los Angeles.

“We wanted to think of more big city ways to bring fun to a small town,” she said.

Annapolis arcade bar GameOn will debut new karaoke and video game rooms on Jan. 6.

The new rooms will be available to rent individually, in 30-minute or one-hour increments, or customers can book the entire third floor for special events. The additions will fill formerly vacant space on the top floor of the bar building, which was once a firehouse. The Linthicums have also converted a second-floor space into a VIP lounge for private parties.

GameOn has another location in Baltimore, and Linthicum said she and her husband have plans to open more arcade bars this year, including one in Columbia’s Merriweather District and another in Hampden.

A new restaurant heads to Downtown Baltimore...

The owners of the popular Papi Cuisine have plans for Downtown Baltimore.

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Alex Perez and Berry Clark have signed a lease to open Prim & Proper Cocktail & Wine Bar, a new restaurant concept, at 206 E. Redwood St. The space, next to the Chesapeake Shakespeare Co. theater, used to be home to French eatery Chez Hugo, and later the French-American soul food restaurant LoCal, which closed over the summer.

At Prim & Proper, Perez and Clark plan to serve French-Caribbean small plates, cocktails and a selection of wines in a newly updated dining room. .

The duo have been busy since launching Papi Cuisine as a delivery service in 2014. The business has since grown to encompass two brick-and-mortar restaurants — one in South Baltimore and another in Owings Mills — and an even broader social media following.

“They are not only great at their cuisine and their cocktails, but they do a tremendous marketing job,” said Brad Byrnes, a principal at Byrnes & Associates Inc., which represents the owners of the restaurant space and a host of other properties along Redwood Street.

The new restaurant is slated to open in the first quarter of the year. And it could soon be joined by others. Byrnes hinted that there are two more announcements about nearby restaurants on the way.

...While another closes

Around the corner, on South Street, another Downtown Baltimore restaurant has shut its doors.

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La Calle, a Mexican restaurant in business since 2018, served its last meals on Dec. 31. “We’ve built a wonderful community, survived the pandemic, and today we’re ready to take the next step in our La Calle journey,” the restaurant wrote in a farewell note on its Facebook page.

But this might not be the end of the line for La Calle: the restaurant’s story “is not ending,” the post teases, adding, “stay tuned for exciting news to come.”

Bottoms Up Bagels vies for mentorship from Queen Latifah

Bottoms Up Bagels offers hand-rolled bagels and breakfast sandwiches.

A Baltimore bagel pop-up is in the running to win, among other things, some business advice from Queen Latifah.

Bottoms Up Bagels is one of seven finalists for a grand prize from Lenovo’s Evolve Small Initiative, which offers assistance to up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the form of technology, capital and mentorship from the rapper, actress and CoverGirl spokeswoman.

Bottoms Up Bagels co-founders Joan Kanner and Michelle Bond, both New Jersey natives, say the win could help to put their bagel business on the map. The company, launched in 2015, is known for pop-ups around the region and also ran a brick-and-mortar store on Greenmount Avenue from 2020 to 2022.

“A chance to get direct, professional feedback from a Jersey Girl who’s been there and done that at such a high level, is priceless,” Kanner said. “Because yeah, she’s a multi-hyphenate, but ultimately, she’s a Boss.”

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The top three businesses with the most votes will receive grants. Voting for the contest runs through Jan. 16.


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