Who would have thought a decade ago that Lauraville would become a dining destination? So far it has the Chameleon Cafe and Big Bad Wolf's House of Barbeque, not to mention the Alabama BBQ Company, with more restaurants on the way.
Clementine (5402 Harford Road, 410-444-1497) is scheduled to open this week. Owners Winston Blick and his wife, Cristin Dadant, picked the name to reflect both the Southern nature of the food he cooks -- as in, he says, the song "Darling Clementine" -- and its accents of French and Spanish, as in the orange fruit. (Actually, I thought "Clementine" was a Western song, but it's still a great name.) A friend of Blick's was worried that the decor didn't reflect the name -- no orange furnishings -- so he painted 100 clementines on the hall wall.
The place has been handsomely renovated, with terrazzo floors, pressed tin ceilings and hardwood furnishings. A deli case displays the chef/owner's own charcuterie.
Blick, who trained at the now-closed McCafferty's, was head chef at SoBo Cafe in Federal Hill for a decade before he left last June to open his own place. He says of his cooking: "I do what I like to eat."
Clementine will be family-oriented, with entrees in the $10-to-$20 range, and BYOB until it gets a liquor license. It will be closed Monday and Tuesday, open for breakfast and lunch Wednesday and Thursday, and open for all three meals Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
More beginnings --Hamilton Tavern should open just north of Clementine on Harford Road sometime this summer. "The reality is it depends on how the city inspections go," says Tom Creegan, who owns the building and is a part owner at Brewer's Art.
Creegan, who lives in Lauraville, says he wanted a place he could walk to, eat and have a beer in. The restaurant is going to be a "neighborhood corner tavern" with a small kitchen, a small menu and comfort-food offerings, including one or two specials each night. He hopes to keep entrees under $15.
While he was at it, Creegan mentioned another possible restaurant opening in the neighborhood, Cameo, which as of our conversation was close to getting financing.
And endings --Closings are usually tricky to report, unless they are well publicized by the owners, as was the case with the Taste closing a few weeks ago. But Georgie's of Canton on Boston Street certainly looks closed, and the phone has been disconnected. Blue Point Grille in Ellicott City has been closed for a while; the location is getting a Korean restaurant.
Wandering chefs --I last referred to chef Joshau Hill in this column as "well-traveled." He's off again, leaving the kitchen of Night of the Cookers on Howard Street in the hands of William Henry, formerly his chef de cuisine, who has been with the restaurant since it opened. When I ate there recently, Henry was doing the cooking; and I had a good meal. Hill says he hopes to open his own restaurant in Baltimore sooner rather than later.
Christian DeLutis is leaving the kitchen of the Wine Market in Locust Point and heading to Ireland. His sous-chef, Jason Lear, replaces him as executive chef.
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.