It seems new eateries are popping up every week in Locust Point. Case in point: Rail 17, which opened a couple of weeks ago near the Silo Point project.
Dennis Porter says he and partner Linda Shanahan thought there was a shortage of good restaurants in the area and decided to spiff up the place from its old incarnation as the Irish pub Shanahan's, which was owned by Shanahan's late husband.
Porter says he got rid of the old vinyl flooring and installed hardwood. The tables now have burnt-orange and white tablecloths. And he's "remodeled, brightened and classed it up a bit."
Right now, everything's on the first floor. The bar area seats about 15, and there's a small dining area for about 30. Porter says he and Shanahan have plans to eventually expand the place to include the second floor.
The menu, meanwhile, has gotten a complete overhaul.
"No more pub grub," Porter says. "I'd love to throw the [deep] fryer out completely, but people still want hand-cut french fries."
Think nice casual fare. Appetizers include bruschetta ($5.50), crab-stuffed mushrooms ($8.99) and grilled baby eggplant ($5.99). Entrees include a couple of steaks (filet mignon, $18.99, and rib-eye, $22.99), chicken marsala ($9.99) and grilled pepper-encrusted salmon fillet topped with spicy mango salsa ($12.99). There are a couple of pizza choices ($10), and there's an extensive sandwich/burger list ($5.99-$9.99). As for those fries, they're on the sides list ($2).
Rail 17, 410-468-0850, is at 1538 E. Clement St. Its lunch hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The bar is open until 2 a.m.
Take the water taxi over to Canton and you'll find another restaurant there has had some "work done" as well. What was Canton's Pearls is now Canton's Dockside.
General manager Tim Mitchell says the old fine-dining concept worked well on weekends, but not so well on weeknights. Enter new managing partner George Platis, who had just sold his interest in Coburn's, and a new Maryland seafood/crabhouse concept.
Mitchell says you'll notice just a few changes to the interior. There will be more over time. You also have the good-weather option of sitting outside in the eatery's "crab garden." But the menu has been entirely revamped.
You have appetizers such as the crab pretzel ($9), cast-iron mussels ($7), BBQ scallops wrapped in bacon ($12) and polenta fries with grilled vegetables ($6). There's a bunch of individual pizzas ($9), salads ($9 to $13), sandwiches ($6 to $9) and burgers ($9).
Entrees include fish selections prepared by your choice of broiled, pan-fried or blackened ($16 to $26), a smoked pork chop dressed with bourbon sauce ($21) and New York strip steak ($26).
You'll also find several barbecue rib and chicken options ($19) and four pasta choices ($14 to $24). And there are seafood entrees, including crab cakes (single $14, double $26), broiled scallops ($18) and, planned to start this month, steamed crabs.
You'll find Canton's Dockside, 410-276-8900, at 3301 Boston St. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Vespa's to close
After nine years, a favorite dining Federal Hill dining spot, Vespa's, was to close its doors this week. Owner Steve Ward says the reason is a "lease issue."
Ward says he's going to head out to California and work on a friend's vineyard for a few months, and "figure things out ... what I want to do next." Unfortunately, he doubts that will be in the restaurant biz.
If you have information regarding a local restaurant's opening, closing or major changes, please e-mail that information to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to 410-675-3451.