Food & Drink

Bits & Bites: Baltimore-born restaurants spread their wings, Caribbean restaurant to open in Ridgely’s Delight

Local restaurant chains are in expansion mode. Last week I told you about Atlas Restaurant Group’s plans to open a Loch Bar in Philadelphia, and the week before that brought word of White Oak Hospitality’s push to open more Banditos restaurants in the Mid-Atlantic region as well as one in sunny Sarasota, Florida.

Now there’s news of more growth spurts from local concepts, including Stuggy’s, Rise Coffee Roasters and GameOn Bar + Arcade. I also have word of a new restaurant in Ridgely’s Delight, where owner Sheldon Gill is building a “Caribbean Dynasty” of his own.


Expanding Baltimore’s food universe

Stuggy’s, a Baltimore hot spot for hot dogs and gourmet sandwiches, is headed to Washington, D.C.

Soon there will be even more opportunities to experience some local favorites.

Stuggy’s, a Baltimore hot spot for hot dogs and gourmet sandwiches, is headed to Washington, D.C. The restaurant, founded in Fells Point in 2010, already has stalls at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium. Next up is a booth at Audi Field, home to professional soccer teams D.C. United and the Washington Spirit, as well as the XFL’s DC Defenders. Expect Stuggy’s to bring a little Charm City flavor to the nation’s capital with a menu featuring hot dogs topped with crab meat and mac and cheese, as well as the “B’More” dog with bologna and deli mustard, another local classic.


Eastern Shore-based Rise Up Coffee Roasters is opening another coffee shop on the Western Shore. The cafe chain announced that it will add a location in Severna Park, opening “ASAHP (As Soon As Humanly Possible).” The drive-thru spot will be right next to the Homestead Gardens nursery, just a few miles down Route 2 from Rise Up’s store in Arnold. The announcement promised “heaps of outdoor seating,” a full kitchen and “possibly the best parking situation of any of our locations.”

In Columbia, the new Merriweather District continues to grow with locally popular concepts. In case you’re keeping score, homegrown chains like Banditos, Blackwall Barn & Lodge and Smashing Grapes are already on their way to the development, joining already-open eateries like Busboys & Poets, Peter Chang, Dok Khao Thai, Toastique, Clove and Cardamom and The Charmery. Next up is another location for GameOn Bar + Arcade, a retro arcade bar concept with both new and old-school games. GameOn, which already has arcades in Federal Hill and Annapolis, will open its Columbia spot later this year on the ground level of the Juniper apartment complex across from Color Burst Park. The 4,000-square-foot spot will have both indoor and outdoor space and will feature games organized by decade, graffiti art on the walls and a menu of local beers, craft cocktails, pizzas and wings, according to a news release. Also coming to the Merriweather District is The Angry Jerk, a Caribbean-Southern fusion restaurant specializing in jerk sauce tacos that already has a location in Silver Spring.

Peter Chang’s opening act

Chef Peter Chang speaks with guests at the grand opening celebration for his new Columbia restaurant.

James Beard Award finalist Peter Chang knows something about growth. The renowned chef’s Sichuan dining empire is growing at a rapid clip, with new restaurants in Columbia and Dupont Circle and a dim sum spot on the way near Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Chang was in Columbia on Feb. 28 for the grand opening of Peter Chang, which has already been serving Peking duck, scallion bubble pancakes, pan-fried pork belly and more since mid-January. Through a translator, the chef said it took him 22 years to grow his culinary brand, and indicated he didn’t plan to slow down anytime soon.

Besides the forthcoming dim sum restaurant, scheduled to open this spring, Chang also plans to open another location of NiHao, a restaurant that got its start in Baltimore’s Canton neighborhood. NiHao Arlington will debut later this year or early next year in Crystal City, near Amazon’s planned second headquarters, bringing the chef’s total number of restaurants to 15.

Building a ‘Dynasty’

Caribbean Dynasty, a new restaurant with a "Caribbean-based, African-infused" menu, will open in mid-March in Ridgely's Delight.

Now for a new concept: Ridgely’s Delight will add a restaurant later this month when Sheldon Gill opens Caribbean Dynasty at 647 W. Pratt St.

Gill worked in the music industry before becoming a consultant for restaurants in Maryland, Atlanta, Chicago and Virginia. Eventually, though, he decided he wanted an eatery of his own.

“I just got tired of making other people money,” he said.


At Caribbean Dynasty, Gill plans to serve a menu that’s “Caribbean-based but African-infused,” with island favorites like peas and rice, oxtail and curry chicken alongside West African staples like suya and jollof rice. At the bar, diners can find some bang for their buck with $5 mixed drinks all day.

Gill, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, is eager for diners to try Bake & Shark sandwiches, a Trinidadian specialty of tender shark meat stuffed into a fried dumpling and topped with a choice of different sauces like tamarind, garlic and barbecue.

Dish Baltimore


Get the scoop on that new restaurant, learn about chef changes and discover your favorite new recipe. All your Baltimore food news is here.

He hopes to open the new restaurant by mid-March. The spot will have about 60 seats on the ground floor and even more on second and third floors that he plans to use for overflow and private dining space. Gill also plans to join the growing number of restaurants that add a gratuity charge to the check: that way, he said, he can ensure staff get adequate tips, which in turn should help with hiring and retention.

Joining him in the kitchen will be nephew Kevon Yearwood. Cooking has always been in the family, says Gill, who said he learned to cook from his sister and great aunt rather than going to culinary school.

Together, he said, he and Yearwood want to “take it to another level.”

“We want to create a legacy with cooking,” he said.


Bye for now, but back in a pinch?

Tim Chin cooks dumplings at Pinch, which recently closed its stall inside Mount Vernon Marketplace.

Pinch, one of Mount Vernon Marketplace’s stalwart stalls, closed over the weekend. Partner Tim “Chyno” Chin announced the news on Instagram, calling it “a bitter sweet end to a chapter and space I helped build to its former glory.”

Across eight years at the food hall, Pinch became known not only for its dumplings but also for weekly trivia nights and an appearance on the Netflix series “Fresh, Fried & Crispy.” Chyno, a popular Baltimore food influencer also known as “the boy with the blue beard,” showed host Daym Drops around the market, sampling dumplings from Pinch as well as food from other stalls.

But is this the end for Pinch? Chin hinted that there could be more to come for the concept: “This isn’t goodbye for us but it is for a space that helped propel me to where I am today,” he wrote.