Peerce's Gourmet is restaurateurs' new recipe for success

Say you run two sprawling country restaurants and three catering businesses. What do you do for an encore?

If you're Peerce Lake and Josef Gohring, you expand.


That's what the owners of Peerce's Plantation in Phoenix and Josef's Country Inn in Fallston have done with Peerce's Gourmet, a new cafe and retail marketplace in Timonium.

Opened last month, the complex at 9622-24 Deereco Road (where Tres Bon used to be), serves salads, sandwiches, prepared entrees, gourmet coffees and baked goods. (The bread comes from Stonemill Bakery.)


The restaurateurs have imported favorites from their other spots: You'll find the Plantation's legendary lobster bisque and Josef's velvety pates on the menu. But they're also trying new dishes here such as New Orleans Creole, Mediterranean bean salad and grilled chicken curry with lime cream sauce.

Our dining spies tell us, though, that the real winner here is the wild mushroom and red pepper turkey meat loaf.

"We're trying to fill a niche in the market," says Darlene Dunn, the general manager who formerly worked for Tres Bon. "The food appeals to a broad market. We have healthy choices and good old favorites."

Although the atmosphere is casual, there are thoughtful touches like potted herbs on each table.

THE WORLD EXPANDS: The world is getting bigger these days. The World CafeXBar, at least, which has just added a new, um, worldly chef to its staff. Busabong Kasempuntai, who begins in the kitchen tomorrow, is originally from Bangkok, Thailand, and has plenty of experience at restaurants around town.

With the World's emphasis on multi-ethnic fare, Ms. Kasempuntai, who's known as B.B., is a logical choice to help head chef David Sarfaty expand the dinner menu.

She's well-known for her Thai cooking, and we hear that her Thai coconut chicken soup and curries are outstanding; diners will get the chance to sample them for themselves.

Although the light fare menu will continue at dinner, Ms. Kasempuntai will be adding dinner specials. The dinner hours have changed, too; the restaurant's now open from Tuesday through Saturday, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.


Prior to accepting this position, Ms. Kasempuntai was the chef and kitchen manager at Louie's Bookstore Cafe. She's also worked at the Society Hill Hotel, the Brookshire and the once-popular (though now-defunct) Jean Claude's.

Mr. Sarfaty, who met her seven years ago when the two worked at Louie's together, will continue to run the lunch operation.

NEW TAKE ON TAMBER'S: The hot turkey, mashed potatoes and bread pudding will stay, but the owners are leaving.

The Tamberino family, who opened Tamber's diner, has sold the Charles Village hangout to Petro Kumar. He's not likely to change the menu much, although Mr. Kumar, who's from India, is anxious to add some personal favorites like Tandoori chicken.

COVER BOYS? Christopher Cherry and John Delay have gone from the kitchen of the Museum Cafe to the cover of next month's Chef magazine, a trade publication.

The two were photographed in the museum's sculpture garden for a story on Sunday brunch.


In the article, the cafe receives high praise, being called "one of the nation's prime settings for Sunday brunch."

The chefs share the spotlight with some of the cafe's brunch specialties, including Southern-fried toast, Oriental barbecued salmon and cinnamon-roasted Cornish hen.

So, which is more photogenic -- the meals or the men?

"Actually," says Deirdre Griffith, the diplomatic manager of the cafe, "it's a great photo of all of them."


Have news about local restaurants, chefs or clubs? Call (410) 332-6156 or write the Real Dish, Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.