An upcoming gala featuring local restaurants and hot eating spots will benefit the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

The Be A Hero Gala, to benefit the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, is slated for May 4, at Port Discovery in downtown Baltimore. The event will offer a cocktail reception and seated dinner presented by Rouge Catering and a party with entertainment from DJ Biz Markie.

Don’t want to do the whole sit-down dinner thing? No problem. You can buy tickets for just the party and enjoy tasty treats from The Charmery, Iron Rooster, Zeke’s Coffee, Insomnia Cookies and The Food Market, to name just a few.

Sam’s Canterbury Café “goes blue” to celebrate its first anniversary and National Autism Awareness Month! Located in the heart of the Tuscany-Canterbury community, Sam’s mission is to provide fresh, tasty food and meaningful employment for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Since Sam’s first anniversary coincides with National Autism Awareness Month, they’re marking the occasion with a cool series of activities. Stop by and check it out. FYI, they have a dog-friendly patio, so bring your fur babies.

Since the official color for autism is blue, Sam’s will light up the restaurant in shades of blue and the staff will wear blue throughout the month. On April 28, from 3 to 6 p.m., enjoy complimentary beverages, lite fare and a special tasting hosted by Zeke’s Coffee, a Baltimore-based, small-batch coffee roastery.

Sam’s will donate a percentage of its sales for the month to Itineris, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that serves adults with ASD. Check out their “go blue”-themed menu specials. Blueberry muffins, pancakes and waffles, blueberry bagels with blueberry cream cheese spread, and a special “go blue” salad with blueberries, blue cheese, onion, tomato, walnuts and blueberry vinaigrette.

Sam’s also will feature works of art from Itineris clients throughout the month.

Meanwhile, Petit Louis Bistro in Columbia has rebranded and reopened as Lupa, a Roman trattoria with focaccia pizzas, paninis, handmade pastas and 20 house-made gelatos and sorbettos.

Coming Soon

Charmed Kitchen is set to open in May at 123 S. Chester St. in Butchers Hill. Executive chef Christa Bruno has created a dinner menu that reflects her Italian heritage.

Bruno, an immensely talented chef, operated the now-closed but much-loved (and one of my all-time favorites) Pazza Luna in Locust Point. Can’t wait!

The Regal Beagle — the name pays homage to the ‘70s/’80s TV sitcom “Three’s Company” and its watering hole — is a casual cocktail bar that will open this month in Canton in the former Jack’s Bistro space. Taking the helm in the kitchen will be Ted Stelzenmuller, the former owner and chef of Jack’s until he closed it last month to open Blair’s on Hudson, also in Canton.

Giada De Laurentiis, the Italian-born, Emmy Award-winning television personality and New York Times best-selling author, will open a new restaurant this month at Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. The menu at GDL Italian by Giada will consist of Italian cuisine with California influences, featuring a wide selection of pastas and meatballs, fresh local seafood and a large selection of shareables.

The wine list will include select favorites from the Giada Collection in Las Vegas that earned Wine Spectator’s 2017 Best of Award of Excellence.

Cinnaholic, a national chain vegan cinnamon roll shop (featured on TV’s “Shark Tank”), will open at The Rotunda in Hampden. We’re talking gourmet rolls topped with flavored frostings and your choice of toppings. FYI, these tasty tidbits are not gluten-free.

Fond Farewell 

Wine Market Bistro, the popular dining spot in Locust Point, closed its doors after 13½ years in business. The bistro’s wine shop and front bar area will remain open.

Randi Rom is the president of RJ Rom & Associates, a marketing, branding, events and public relations firm specializing in the hospitality and entertainment industries. She is a freelance columnist and writer who represents some of the region’s top restaurants and food-related events. Contact her at

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