Baltimore is a city that can use more bagel shops. Now we have a new one, the Roland Park Bagel Co. (500 W. Cold Spring Lane, 410-889-3332). This is the latest in the Crazy Man Restaurant Group, which includes Loco Hombre, two Miss Shirley's, Alonso's and S'ghetti Eddie's.
The new shop replaces Sam's Bagels, so I asked owner Edward Dopkin why he thought another bagel shop would succeed in the same location. For one thing, he says, it's a more ambitious endeavor, offering sandwiches made with "quality meats" on wraps, flatbread and ciabatta rolls as well as bagels. Prices for sandwiches run $6 or $7.
Panini, salads and sweets for an afternoon break are available; and there are also vegetarian choices. Sweet and savory crepes may be on the menu soon. If you're a fan of Quartermaine coffee, you can get it here.
When you order an egg sandwich for breakfast, the eggs will be cooked on the grill, not popped into a microwave, Dopkin says.
As for the bagels themselves, Dopkin knows the business well. At one point he owned a successful local chain of 15 bagel shops before he sold it to go into the family business, Classic Catering. He plans to be baking bagels throughout the day, not just first thing in the morning, so you can get them fresh, even in the afternoon.
In a couple of weeks, Roland Park Bagel is planning to start weekend delivery of bagels and accompaniments to a limited area so you won't even have to leave home to get them. But if you do venture out, parking won't be as much of an issue as it was for Sam's. Any of the restaurant group's lots will be available to customers.
Aren't you competing with your own breakfast/lunch place, Miss Shirley's across the street? I asked Dopkin.
Not at all, he told me.
"It's a beautiful space," he said of the newly renovated shop, "but it's fast food, without china or glassware."
Hours for the Roland Park Bagel Co. are 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Howard openings While it seems as if most of the news these days is about restaurant closings, Howard County has had more than its share of restaurant openings recently - or at least taverns and bar-restaurants, such as the Ten Oaks Tavern in Glenelg, the Second Chance Saloon in Columbia and the Diamondback Tavern in Ellicott City.
Another interesting project is in the works, Pure Wine Cafe, which will be located where Annabell's Fine Wine used to be at 8210 Main St. in Ellicott City. If all goes well, it should open in early February.
One of the owners, P.J. Strain, told me it will be a combination of a relaxed neighborhood coffeehouse and New Age bistro, with an emphasis on wine. The place is small, only 900 square feet, with 40 seats, 12 of which are at the square bar.
Someone who knows his wines, Strain said, will always be there to guide customers through the international list. The wine list isn't set in stone yet, but it will consist of 40 or 50 bottles and 20 by the glass or half-glass. Mark Bowman, another owner, is the sommelier.
"We'll be very hands on," Strain said, "without the pretensions that are historically in the world of wine."
The third owner, chef Kevin Brothers, was formerly at Great Sage in Clarksville. His menu will consist of hot and cold small plates. The cafe will feature Mediterranean-influenced dishes but have an American bistro feel, said Strain.
"Our philosophy about the food," he added, "is keep it simple but make simple as nice as possible."
Deal of the week One of the premier restaurants in Little Italy, Da Mimmo (217 S. High St., 410-727-6876) is still going strong. After 25 years. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the anniversary, owner Mary Ann Cricchio wore the original dress she wore on opening day, Jan. 11, 1984. (Isn't it nice she can still fit into it?)
Da Mimmo has had various promotions throughout this month in honor of the anniversary. Here are three that are coming up:
* Tonight through Friday: a featured three-course meal for $25.
* Sunday: 25 percent of the proceeds from dinner will be donated to the Associated Italian American Charities.
* Wednesday, Jan. 21: The restaurant's signature dish, the veal chop, will be $25. (It's regularly priced at $45.)