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Duffy's is back, and so is most of its old menu


Baltimore institutions don't always fade away. Sometimes they reopen under new owners. Such is the case of Duffy's Restaurant (3436-38 Frederick Ave.), which had been an Irvington favorite for more than 75 years before it closed a year or so ago.

I first heard Duffy's had reopened this summer when a reader wrote me:

"Their crab cake sandwich ($9.95) with a side dish of coleslaw is one of the best I have ever had in this area," said Dr. William Wolfel. "The lady owners are very gracious and friendly."

The lady owners are Pat Hoyte and Ana Palmer, who have kept about three-quarters of the former menu - Maryland seafood dishes, steaks, pan-fried chicken and such. The new owners put an emphasis on vegetables, which might include string beans, sweet potatoes, coleslaw and stewed tomatoes. The old-fashioned homemade desserts (chocolate cake, pineapple upside-down cake, rice pudding and bread pudding) sound mighty good, too.

"Good food and good fun," promises Hoyte, by which she means Duffy's also offers entertainment in its lounge: jazz and karaoke, with comedy starting in October.

Quick takes

The Purple Orchid, which closed on North Charles Street, has opened in its new location at 200 S. President St. What was once a French-Asian fusion menu is now New American, and the harbor location has a sushi bar and lounge.

Think of it as the upscale version of fast food. At the just-opened Franco Zeppi (the Can Company in Canton) you order the Italian dishes at the counter, but they're cooked to order.

Craving curry? House of India is now open at 9350-F2 Snowden River Parkway in Columbia. BYOIB. (Bring your own Indian beer.)

For those of you who would just as soon skip right to the chocolate cake, Room for Dessert Cafe has opened in the Breadery at 9251 Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City. Hours are Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. You can get cakes, tarts, cheesecake, biscotti and specialty coffee drinks.

Three Web sites to check out: www.zagat.com, www.solodining.com, www.restaurantrow.com.

A reader called to complain, with justification, that a local restaurant charged her and her husband extra for a Scotch on the rocks. The bill read Scotch, $5.50; rocks, 50 cents.

Superb service

I loved the food. I particularly loved the design of the place. But I hadn't been back to the Atlantic (2400 Boston St., Canton) since I reviewed it because the service was so abysmal.

What a difference a year and a half makes. When my family had a celebratory dinner there a couple of weeks ago, our waitress was fabulous - as was her supporting cast. Maybe the problem the first time was just new-restaurant blues. Whatever the reason, owners Spike and Charlie Gjerde seem to have worked out the kinks.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278; or fax to 410-783-2519.

Elizabeth Large's restaurant reviews appear in Sunday's Home & Family section. This Sunday: The Williamsburg Inn in White Marsh.

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