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Goodbye Britton's, hello Southern Blues


There's a lot more going on at the old Britton's restaurant than just a name change. Two months ago, Britton's became Downtown Southern Blues, when it acquired a new owner, Anthony Leonard.

In addition to Downtown Southern Blues (889 N. Howard St.), Leonard, 33, also owns the Southern Blues carryout on Liberty Road.

Helping Leonard out as operations director at the downtown site is Harvey Shugarman, whom you may recognize from the restaurant he had from 1979 to 2000, Harvey's at Green Spring Station.

Shugarman says he and Leonard are making some big changes at the restaurant, beginning with the interior. Shugarman says they're going for a "sophisticated and funky jazz look," bringing in Italian chairs, black marble tables ... and "incredible art and lighting." He adds that there will be a lounge upstairs that will feature blues and jazz groups a few nights a week.

As for the menu, those changes will be happening gradually, as the duo shifts to a theme of "Southern soul food with a twist." Among the new items are a coconut crusted shrimp appetizer, served with mango salsa; a catfish a la soul entree, served with tri-color peppers, onions and a creamy Cajun sauce; and Anthony's jambalaya, made with shrimp, andouille sausage, chicken, vegetables and spices.

Shugarman says the cosmetic and menu metamorphoses should be complete by late September. He and Leonard plan to throw a grand opening then.

Downtown Southern Blues' hours are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Brunch is served on Sunday from opening till 4 p.m.

There's a bar, too, Hon

Up Hampden way, there is one more hon. As in Cafe Hon. Or more accurately, the Hon Bar - newly opened next door to the cafe, in the space vacated by the Hometown Girl shop.

Cafe/bar owner Denise Whiting says that because the bar's building (1000 W. 36th St.) was constructed in 1874, she went for a warm, vintage feel inside, using an antique back bar and mirror she found in Delaware. Then she made the space "golden" by adding lots of warm light.

The bar offers the same menu as Cafe Hon - a menu Whiting is in the process of changing a bit. Look for additions such as cold meat-loaf sandwiches, fresh-cut french fries and maybe even pot roast when the new menu - complete with late-night fare - makes its debut around Sept. 20.

"It'll be more home-style stuff," Whiting says. "No fancy frou-frou la-dee-da."

Drink-wise, Whiting says the Hon Bar puts fresh-squeezed lemon, lime and orange juice in its margaritas, and offers several beers on tap - including three that are "homegrown."

Bonaparte at Pier 5

Fans of Bonaparte Breads will be happy to know the company has opened its third retail store/cafe, with an emphasis on cafe. This time, you'll find Bonaparte on Pier 5, next to the Harbor Inn Pier 5 Hotel.

Caroline Lefilliatre, who owns the business with her dad, Pierre, says that because most of the traffic is tourists, the place is more of a cafe than bread store. It offers breakfast, lunch, pastries and coffee.

Bonaparte Breads is at 711 Eastern Ave. It's open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Grinding out a name

The owner of Roland Park's Daily Grind is asking for your help. Larry Horwitz says that when he bought the popular coffeehouse from David Key last October, he promised he'd change the name before a year was up. So, Horwitz is holding a contest to find a new name.

Folks have through Sept. 15 to drop by the place - 501 W. Cold Spring Lane - and fill out an entry blank with suggestions for the new identity. Horwitz, his wife, Becky Latham, coffeehouse manager Shand MacDougal and a few friends will review all the ideas - in a purely subjective manner - and decide which one they like best. If they choose one of the entries for the new name, the winner will receive a year's supply of coffee beans and a T-shirt.

By the way, the soon-not-to-be Daily Grind has new hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

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