Some Baltimore-area restaurateurs just seem to be on a roll.
I’ve got updates from two local culinary figures who can’t stop, won’t stop. In Harford County, Zack Trabbold has only been running his restaurant, The Local, for a year, and yet he already has plans to expand. Back in the city, former Top Chef contestant and Sally O’s owner Jesse Sandlin is busy getting two new spots of her own off the ground.
I’ve also got news about a new vendor at R. House and the closing of a popular pizza kitchen.
Keeping it local
Zack Trabbold built his first restaurant on the promise of fresh, locally sourced produce, meats and alcohol.
The farm-to-table concept is hardly new, but in Harford County it’s been well received as an upscale alternative to chains and casual dining options. Diners have been buzzing about The Local since before the restaurant served its first meals in Fallston in late August 2021.
“Before we were even open, people were ready for us,” said Trabbold, The Local’s owner and executive chef. “This was needed.”
This spring, the restaurant expanded into space that used to belong to an Edible Arrangements next door, adding tables, a wine rack and a charcuterie bar to meet the demand. Next, Trabbold has two new businesses up his sleeve as he seeks to keep up with local enthusiasm.
First up will be a catering hall, opening across the street in the Fallston Village Center. When it’s complete, the 350-to-400-seat space will be available to host weddings, corporate events and parties. Trabbold is aiming for a fall debut for the facility, which will be called Evolved Banquet Hall. The name is a nod to his restaurant group, Evolved Hospitality. The chef said he picked the moniker because “we’re always going.”
In early 2023, he plans to open Butcher & Banter, a steakhouse and raw bar with seating for 250. Trabbold is keeping quiet on the exact location, though he said it will be in Fallston.
Butcher & Banter will mostly hew to the same regional focus as The Local, except when it comes to specialty items like A5 Japanese wagyu steak, a tender cut of meat with swirls of buttery, marbled fat. The steakhouse will have a dry-aging room and will be also feature a whole butchery operation, with cuts of meat sliced in-house.
Look out for decadent items on the menu: in addition to the wagyu, Trabbold plans to serve a Tomahawk steak wrapped in gold leaf.
“It’s going to be higher end than Ruth’s Chris,” he said.
Canton’s newest ‘dive’
Jesse Sandlin opened Sally O’s shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Highlandtown cocktail bar and restaurant has thrived in the two years since, despite the strains on the hospitality industry. Diners flock to Sally O’s for smashburgers, cavatappi-and-béchamel mac and cheese, tropical cocktails and an abundance of outdoor seating.
Last fall, Sandlin revealed she would be adding another dining spot to her portfolio. With business partner Matthew Akman, she acquired the former Wharf Rat pub in Fells Point, and is working to transform it into a new concept. The project, called Bunny’s in city documents, will head to the Board of Liquor License Commissioners for a hearing this fall.
Now, it seems Sandlin and Akman are back at it again. Sandlin confirmed this week that the Sally O’s team has purchased the former Fuisine at 3123 Elliott St. and will convert the space into a bar called The Dive. The new hangout will have a “70′s dive bar vibe” and a “very casual atmosphere,” with a menu serving pizza, snacks and sandwiches, Sandlin wrote on Facebook. She hopes the bar will be open “in a couple of weeks.”
‘Sbreading’ the love
R. House has a new long-term pop-up. The Remington food hall announced this week that Sbread Sandwiches will take the place of Noisy Burger, a burger-and-fries stall that closed this fall.
Through the end of the year, diners can find sandwiches from the company based out of North Baltimore’s B-More Kitchen, including seasonal options like a butternut squash grilled cheese with sage pesto and goat cheese, veggie-friendly selections like curried chickpea salad on a French roll and meat-heavy hoagies like the Italiano, which piles brined pork loin and salami atop butter lettuce and roasted fennel mayonnaise.
Or try some fall-flavored sides, like pumpkin pasta salad, German-style sweet and sour red cabbage, or an autumn slaw with apples, parsnips and celery bathed in a kimchi vinaigrette.
The pop-up will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
A pizza kitchen’s final days
Well Crafted Kitchen, the wood-fired pizzeria tucked inside Union Craft Brewing’s taproom, will close next month after seven years in business.
In a note posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page, owners Laura and Tom Wagner and Liz and Ryan Bower wrote that they have come to a crossroads for the business, a popular spot at Medfield’s Union Collective complex.
“As we reflected on the journey we have taken, we realized it was time to either grow or have the Well Crafted journey come to an end,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, we know that in order to grow our business in the way we dream, it would take fuel we no longer have left in our tank. As hard as it is to close this chapter of the Well Crafted journey, we are looking forward to showing up for ourselves, friends, family, and community in new ways.”
The pizzeria’s last day will be Nov. 13.