A star falls in Little Italy


After its chef, Ed Rogers, left to open La Tesso Tana near the Meyerhoff where Grille 58 used to be, the owners closed Raphael's Cucina Italiana in Little Italy. Bad news. Raphael's was one of the neighborhood's bright new stars when it opened -- but maybe the competition from the more established restaurants was just too fierce.

* In August Victor's Cafe is scheduled to open on Pier 7 across from the concert pavilion. Attached to the new "marina house," the two-level restaurant will have lower and upper decks for outdoor dining and bars on both levels.

The menu, mostly American cuisine, will concentrate on seafood and grilled items. Dinner entrees should run from $12 to $20. Owners Tony D'Antona and Victor DiVivo are also partners in the Bravo restaurant chain in Maryland and Virginia.

* Irina's Cafe, the funky little Ukrainian restaurant in Waverly, has closed. Owner and chef Irina Barshay is, however, still in the catering business. Just call the cafe number, (410) 889-1502.

* Citronelle will be closed Sundays and Mondays through Labor Day. The Latham Hotel's chic rooftop restaurant will reopen seven days a week starting Sept. 10.

* The new Sugar Reef Cafe at Aliceanna and Washington streets features a deck cafe, bar and grill. Right now, the menu is mostly lunch items and light fare. True, the cafe looks out over the parking lot; but with flowering plants and bright tablecloths, it has its share of charm.

* Call Rudys' 2900 in Finksburg about Chef Rudy Speckamp's two Orient Express gourmet theme dinners July 19 and 20. For $42.50 you get a four-course meal plus a chance to win a Venice-to-Paris ticket on the Orient Express.

* G. L. Shacks, a popular Catonsville restaurant, will soon have a sibling in Ellicott City where the Allview Inn used to be. The new G. L. Shacks, like the first one, will feature a range of American food, from wings to crab imperial, in a casual family atmosphere.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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