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Mostly Main: Treat dad to a meal out as Ellicott City restaurants begin to reopen

Readers have previously voted The White Oak Tavern's burgers the best in Howard County.
Readers have previously voted The White Oak Tavern's burgers the best in Howard County. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

Happy Father’s Day to everyone celebrating! With coronavirus restrictions easing a bit, it would be nice to enjoy an outdoor meal with Dad or a walk in Centennial Park.

Many local restaurants have outdoor seating. La Palapa Grill & Cantina has a lovely outdoor area with great views of Main Street. Across the street, Phoenix Upper Main has set up seating in the driveway next to its building, near the cool new mural. Georgia Grace Cafe has set up a few tables on its sidewalk and most places in the historic district also have curbside carryout.

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Restaurants have been doing very well with the takeout options available. We have recently enjoyed great shrimp salad platters from Bare Bones Grill and Bar, as well as Leelynn’s Dining Room and Lounge special salad and burgers, and The White Oak Tavern’s fried chicken sandwich, Italian cheesesteak sub and chicken parm sandwich. All three of these restaurants currently also have outdoor on-site dining.

To enhance your home dining experience, pick up Dad’s favorite beverage at the Wine Bin or the Distillery to enjoy with his favorite meal on the grill.

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Speaking of grills, our reliable gas grill finally bit the dust after at least a decade of faithful service. We like to shop local, so went to Clark’s ACE Hardware for a replacement. It was the first time I had been in a store that wasn’t a grocery store in a couple of months. It was very organized, with a line waiting to get in, spaced, of course, six feet apart.

Having done the research online, we knew what we wanted; it was just a matter of ordering. It was a relatively easy process, but, in a sign of the times, the same-day delivery advertised on the store’s website is now 10 days. Totally understandable, and it will make us appreciate our new grill even more.

The most heartening news I’ve heard lately is the reopening of Clark’s Elioak Farm, with its petting farm and Enchanted Forest displays. As at all venues, procedures have changed; you need to buy your ticket, which is timed, in advance and admissions will be limited. I can’t imagine anything more positive than running around on the farm on a beautiful sunny day with wide-eyed little kids oohing and aahing.

Owner and farmer Martha Clark has written a couple of children’s books about the farm, including “Trusty the Tractor.” My 3-year-old grandson Henry loves those books and enjoyed sitting on Trusty when he visited the farm. Henry has an active imagination and has been enjoying pretending to be Eli the goat from the farm. His dad is also a goat and him mom lucked out: Henry pretends she’s Clark’s daughter, farmer Nora Crist. I’m looking forward to when they can come down from Brooklyn and visit the farm with us again. Clark’s Elioak Farm has also been livestreaming its baby goats on Facebook every Tuesday and Saturday at 10 a.m.

We have daily deer sightings in our neighborhood but this one was different. Last week, one of my neighbors, Jackie Troppman, reported the birth of a baby deer in her backyard. While we already have enough deer, we were all excited about the new arrival.

The next day, we heard from another neighbor, Carl Hansen, who said that he retrieved a baby deer from a window well at his house. We all know that we aren’t supposed to touch the babies, and even if it is unattended, we know Mom will return, but this had to be an exception. We also know that baby deer are “supposed” to stay put while Mom is away. Apparently, this baby didn’t get the memo because the next day we found it tucked into the foliage by our garage door—across the street from where it started out. We didn’t know what to do, so we did nothing and to our great relief, it wasn’t there the next day and hasn’t been seen since.

The Ellicott City Rotary has come up with a Community Drive-In Theater at the Howard County Fairgrounds. The shows are on Saturday nights, starting at 9 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Howard County charities. Check its Facebook page for schedule details.

The Howard County Conservancy is offering a virtual event on its Facebook page on June 19 at 11 a.m. Jen Brown-Whale, Howard County Public School System elementary science resource teacher, will present “The Very Picky Butterfly,” and you can join in to learn how to attract butterflies to your yard.

The Miller Branch library is set to reopen on June 29. Details have not been announced as of this writing, but, so far, the plan is to open for pickup of reserved materials only. I can’t wait. I have resigned myself to reading books online but don’t like it at all. Real books are a nice respite from screens.

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