With such longtime landmarks as Appalachian Bluegrass and Bill’s Music, Catonsville is known far and wide as “Music City, Md.” And now the “main street” of this Baltimore County hamlet also has State Fare.

State Fare's Smores Dessert

State Fare’s s’mores dessert (Handout photo)

A new gastro pub serving a mixture of elevated pub fare and classic American comfort food, State Fare recently opened at 748 Frederick Road in the former Friendly’s. Proprietors Keith Holsey and Evan Brown previously owned and operated the popular Ellicott City hot spot Portalli’s, which was destroyed in the floods after two previous rebuilds.

State Fare is open seven days a week for breakfast (all day!), lunch and dinner, offers an inventive and varied menu, and a serious beer, bourbon and whiskey selection — and there’s plenty of free parking.


What’s happening?

Great news for Baltimore Farmers Market devotees! Farm to Face opened its own brick-and-mortar space at 4607 Harford Road in Hamilton. So, now you don’t have to wait for Sunday to get your organic falafel wraps.

Meanwhile, Laura and David Alima, owners of the seriously fabulous ice cream shop The Charmery, have partnered with Baltimore in a Box (they ship boxes of Charm City fave hometown treats to … anywhere), to create a new B-more flavor. It combines ice cream with Utz potato chips, Otterbein’s chocolate chip cookies and a Goetze’s Cow Tale.

The Charmery has three locations, including on The Avenue in Hampden, in Towson and at Union Collective.

Truckstaurant's fried chicken waffle cone

Gypsy’s Truckstaurant’s fried chicken waffle cone (Handout photo)

The recently opened, street food-inspired restaurant Gypsy’s Truckstaurant in Hampden/Woodberry has quickly become a popular go-to spot. If you like the tasty treats from Gypsy Queen Cafe food truck and were a fan of Helen’s Garden in Canton, you’ll absolutely love this cool-vibe spot from owners/chefs Annmarie Langton and Tom Looney.

They now have “Trivia Nights” on Tuesdays and bingo on Thursdays. Check out the fried chicken waffle cone and the crab cone with Old Bay and garlic french fries!

The Mount Vernon restaurant Sotto Sopra has always featured Northern Italian cuisine, but this year the focus will be on chef/owner Riccardo Bosio’s native cuisine of Bergamo. Bosio wants to share the flavors and lifestyle that were part of his journey into the culinary world, to capture the beauty of this city bite-by-bite.

The restaurant is offering cooking classes and exclusive dinners throughout the year featuring Bergamo’s top regional dishes. If you’ve never been to Sotto Sopra, it’s a beautiful, cozy restaurant on Charles Street.

The National Kidney Foundation’s signature fundraising event, Santé: A Taste of Baltimore, is set for Feb. 28 at the American Visionary Art Museum. The business casual soiree will feature tastings from 20 Baltimore restaurants, caterers and chefs including Zeffert and Gold Catering, B&O American Brasserie, Chef’s Expressions, Flavor Cupcakery and Little Havana.

Cool, new thing alert! Sagamore Pendry Baltimore in Fells Point debuted its own Möet & Chandon champagne vending machine. Located in its open-air courtyard, this is the first of its kind in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area and only one of 12 champagne vending machines in the country. It’s filled with 320 splits of Möet & Chandon Brut and Rosé.

Coming Soon

A new grocery store known as 818 Market will open soon in Catonsville (just down the street from State Fare) featuring its own restaurant upstairs with the oh-so-talented executive chef Matt Milani taking the helm in the kitchen. Matt owned The Rumor Mill in Ellicott City, which also closed after the floods. Catonsville is rockin’!

Keep an eye out for the opening of Atlas Restaurant Group’s new waterfront venue across from its popular Ouzo Bay, a Greek restaurant in Harbor East. Ouzo Beach will be located on the waterfront promenade and will offer the same menu and feature live entertainment and great views of the Inner Harbor.

The Atlas Group also owns Loch Bar, Azumi, The Bygone, Tagliata and The Elk Room in Harbor East. This spring it is slated to open a new seafood spot — The Choptank in the Broadway Market in Fells Point. 

Randi Rom is president of RJ Rom & Associates. She is a freelance columnist and writer who represents some of the region’s top restaurants and food-related events. Contact her at randirom@comcast.net.