Remember work lunches? Those days when we weren’t scarfing instant noodles at our desks felt like a treat.
Nowadays, many restaurants have stopped serving lunch, likely owing both to many still working from home — myself included — and the ongoing labor shortage.
The pandemic seems to have killed the work lunch, but it might have renewed our love affair with brunch. This week I have news about two brunch spots coming to the Baltimore area, one in Remington and another in Timonium.
Let’s Brunch at the Dizz
Last month, I asked property owner and former Orto restaurateur Elan Kotz what was going on with old Dizz location. Kotz purchased the space after the Dizz shut down in 2019. He had initially planned to open a restaurant in the space, but listed the building and an adjacent property for sale.
Now, Baltimore businessman Rikki Vaughn says he is in negotiations to buy the property from Kotz, and plans to turn it into an all-day brunch spot, Let’s Brunch Cafe, with a daycare next door called Kids N Motion.
Vaughn’s elevator pitch for the restaurant is “an Applebee’s and an IHOP merged together.” Customers can order anything from steak to mimosas at any time of day, though the brand’s most popular items include Fruity Pebbles waffles and pancakes. The restaurant will be open 7 days a week, with hours from 7 a.m. til 9 p.m. during the week and 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. on weekends.
If all goes as planned, Vaughn’s restaurant is set to open in June, joining existing Let’s Brunch locations in South Carolina and another in Federalsburg in Caroline County. “I’m super excited about this location because I live two minutes around the corner,” said Vaughn, a 2020 mayoral candidate who is currently running for state delegate.
Vaughn is far from new to the restaurant world. Through his Vaughn Corporation and Companies, he owns a number of Dunkin’, Sonic, KFC, Checkers and Subway locations in the area and beyond. At the moment, he said he and his girlfriend-business partner, Candice Green, are looking to focus more on their independent brands, which offer more autonomy when it comes to menu items.
Vaughn plans to open three more locations of Let’s Brunch in Baltimore, including spots at 414 Light Street, one at the revamped Penn Station and another near Reisterstown Plaza.
“Our goal is to eventually franchise this concept,” he said.
Great Eggspectations for former Coop
Speaking of breakfast food, a new branch of Eggspectation is coming to Timonium soon, and the owner is named, I kid you not: Robert Pancake.
Through his company High 5 Hospitality, Pancake, who lives in Delaware, also operates two Buffalo Wild Wings franchises in Maryland, according to the company website.
Eggspectation will take the place of the Coop American Bistro on York Road, which itself was a rebrand for Poulet. The building is currently undergoing a $500,000 rebuild that Pancake said should take another 3 or 4 months. Once it opens, Eggspectation’s operating hours will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Pancake came before Baltimore County’s liquor board Monday, where Eggspectation was seeking approval to have Poulet’s liquor license transferred to the business. Chairperson Susan Green asked if that was his real name.
It was, Pancake said, adding: “No one ever says that to Kevin Bacon.”
Eggspectation, a chain of breakfast spots with locations in Owings Mills and Ellicott City, offers a menu of crepes, waffles, eggs and of course, pancakes.
GameOn Bar+Arcade in Federal Hill
There’s a new arcade for grown-ups in Baltimore. GameOn Bar+Arcade opened last week in Federal Hill at 902 S. Charles Street. The space was previously the short-lived Hard Water Bar & Grill and Metropolitan before that. Owners are husband-and-wife duo Eli and Casey Linthicum of Howard County, and their new concept — a bar and stand-up arcade games — is expanding fast. The couple opened another branch of GameOn in Annapolis in March and have plans to launch others in Frederick, Columbia and possibly in Hampden, too.
Monthly concerts at Baltimore Farmer’s Market
The Baltimore Farmer’s Market & Bazaar already offers a great assortment of things to buy: everything from wild-looking mushrooms to handmade candles and mouthwatering biscuit sandwiches. But now it has another draw: Extended hours once a month and free concerts.
The Baltimore Office of Promotion of the Arts, which organizes the market, is calling the musical series “B-Side” and urged residents to BYO lawnchair.
The first “B-Side” is June 12, and will celebrate Pride Month with host Evon Dior Michelle, aka Baltimore’s 2020 Drag Queen of the Year and DJ sets by Trillnatured and Thommy Davis. In July, BOPA is promising a concert inspired by the film Academy Award-winning documentary “Summer of Soul.” The series will wrap up in October with performances from musicians with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.