Amid all the hoopla surrounding the opening of the Park Place complex in Annapolis and its several high-profile restaurants, one old favorite nearby has quietly reopened after being closed for almost six months for renovation.
Paul's Homewood Cafe (919 West St., 410-267-7891), which has been owned by the same family since it opened in 1949, has had a $1 million facelift that added a mezzanine and parking and doubled the number of seats.
The whole building was gutted, says one of the owners, Anna Marriott, but "we kept the same feel," including returning the original lunch counter to its proper place. Before, she says, "we had to turn away customers." Now the cafe can seat 80 comfortably.
Paul's menu is basically Greek-American, with an emphasis on mezze, several fresh fish offered daily and what Marriott calls "the classics" prepared by chef Michael Hollywood. Prices at dinner run from $10 for an entree salad to $25 for surf and turf.
Commencing countdown --The Rotunda has a new coffee shop, Ground Control (711 W. 40th St., 410-235-9060), in the spot where various cafes and yogurt shops have come and gone. This one has a shot: It's minimalist and colorful and has lots of curb appeal.
The wireless cafe's slogan is "caffeinate and connect," although the connect part will be a little tricky until the cafe's stools come in - right now there's nowhere to sit. The specialty coffee drinks and pastries from local bakers will have to hold customers until then.
In a couple of weeks (presumably after the stools arrive), Ground Control will start serving breakfast and lunch, using organic and local ingredients whenever possible. It's open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
He's back --Damon Hersh is taking over as executive chef at Kali's Court and Mezze in Fells Point while current chef Rashad Edwards moves down the street to open the restaurant group's newest venture, Meli, later this month. Hersh is best known to Baltimoreans as the chef who put Louisiana in Fells Point on the map. He left Louisiana in '04 to help a friend open Jimmy Ray'z Island Grill in Sykesville and worked at True before it closed and Red Star in Fells Point.
You won't see major changes in Kali's Court and Mezze's successful formats, but Hersh says he will add signature dishes of his own, like mahi-mahi with oxtail jus and oxtail dumplings; seared skatewing with forbidden rice, broccolini and pomegranate seeds; and stuffed quail over black lentils.
Send restaurant news, trends, questions of general interest or observations to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax me at 410-783-2519. Snail mail works, too: Elizabeth Large, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278.