Who says all's quiet on the food front in chilly January? Surely not us. In the last month alone, a new bookstore cafe, billiards coffee bar and bistro have all opened in Baltimore, proving once again that restaurateurs, come snow or sunshine, are a hearty bunch.
BY THE BOOK: Say you're tired of studying physics at Hopkins. Your boyfriend is bored flying airplanes for a living. What to do with your shared ennui?
If you're Avril Haines, 24, and David Davighi, 31, you take over the boarded-up Helen's Hollywood Showbar and turn it into an eclectic bookstore cafe at 714 S. Broadway in Fells Point.
The result -- Adrian's Book Cafe -- opened a month ago selling classics, popular fiction, magazines, coffee and light fare.
The eclectic establishment pays tribute to Ms. Haines' mother, artist Adrian Rappin, who died six years ago of tuberculosis.
The room is filled with Ms. Rappin's realistic oil paintings, some of which have appeared in the New York Times.
Caterer and casting agent Martha Royall and her daughter Betsy run the kitchen here, turning out the cappuccino, tiramisu, vegetarian chili, spanakopita and salads.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday.
YOU'VE GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN YOUR COFFEE CUP: Just when you thought you'd found your favorite coffee bar, there's yet another one trying to win you over with a cup of cappuccino.
Located at 904 S. Charles St., where a florist shop used to be, One World Cafe is a funky mix of old and new.
Wooden school chairs are paired with sleek marble-topped tables. One room boasts lounge chairs and a gas fireplace, another houses a pool table.
Luis Fabara, who ran a coffeehouse in San Diego, teamed up with his brother Frankie to open the vegetarian cafe, which features options like organic carrot juice, hummus sandwiches and non-dairy muffins as well as more sinful alternatives: scones, tarts and "chubby cookies."
The battle for coffee lovers is so tough that the brothers decline to say who's supplying their coffee or even what's in their house blend.
"There's a little French roast," says Luis, 25. "That's all I'm going to give away."
The only glitch so far: confusion among diners who call looking for the World CafeXBar, the similarly named restaurant blocks away on Lombard Street.
You'll know you've arrived in the right "world" when you spot the purple, cream and green facade out front.
Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Wednesday; 6:30 a.m. to midnight, Thursday; 6:30 a.m. to 3 a.m., Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 a.m., Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday.
BISTRO, BISTRO: The Baltimore International Culinary College is adding to its mini culinary empire, having opened BICC Harbor Cafe at 25 S. Calvert St. last week.
The bistro-style restaurant, located where Polock Johnny's used be, serves sandwiches, pastas, salads and pizza. For lunch, dishes range from $1.50 for a house salad to $5.95 for a large pizza.
The school turned to 1990 graduate Steve Fisanich to run the cafe, and as many as 10 students will work there a day. By eating there you're supporting a good cause: The profits go toward student scholarships.
The cafe complements the school's Harbor City Diner and the Baltimore Baking Company deli and bakery on S. Gay Street.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT. Chefs from Baltimore's most notable restaurants will prepare heart-healthy gourmet food at Saturday's Heartfest, a benefit for the Johns Hopkins Hospital's Henry Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.
The Museum Cafe's Christopher Cherry will create charred tomato basil soup, Peerce's Plantation's Josef Gohring is making heart-smart canapes and the Polo Grill's Harold Marmulstein will do a warm grilled chicken salad with a citrus vinaigrette.
The special guest chef will be Dr. William P. Castelli, medical director of the Framingham Heart Study, who will demonstrate his cooking techniques.
Heartfest takes place at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50. For more information, call (410) 879-1759.
Have news about local restaurants, chefs or clubs? Call (410) 332-6156 or write the Real Dish, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.