Next time you’re in the Port Covington neighborhood, check out the Rye Street Tavern. Located next to the Sagamore Spirit Distillery, this industrial-chic property is comfortable and welcoming, featuring bi-level dining rooms, a seafood/raw bar and a cool outdoor space with Adirondack chairs and fire pits overlooking the water.

The menu showcases New American/mid-Atlantic comfort foods, including the bistro’s popular classic Southern-style fried chicken dish with buttermilk biscuits and whiskey pickles. (Who knew that was a thing?) Rye Street also specializes in serving craft beers, wines and American spirits, including rye whiskey.

Rye Street Tavern

  • Sagamore Spirit Distillery
  • Rye Street ceviche
  • Rye Street quail
  • Rye Street burger


As the weather turns warmer, it’s a great spot to kick back and chill. And starting in June, they’ll have a backyard summer series on Saturdays, highlighting a rotating selection of upscale picnic favorites, specialty cocktails, live music, lawn games and family-friendly activities.

Meanwhile, Points South Latin Kitchen in Fells Point has enjoyed such great success with their Sunday drag brunch that they’ve introduced “Drag Dinners,” which will take place every second Sunday of the month. The restaurant features South American cuisine with a modern twist. And it’s gluten-free!

Open for Business

Orto (Italian for vegetable garden) opened in the former Bottega space at Station North on Charles Street. Taking the helm in the kitchen is Executive Chef Stefano Porcile, formerly of Chez Hugo and Colette, who has created an array of veggie-centric Italian dishes.

Michael’s Café, the popular Timonium restaurant, has opened a second location in White Marsh. The café offers contemporary American fare and is known for its crabcakes, mules, crushes, live music and big screen TVs for game day. My friends are obsessed with the lobster rolls!

Coming Soon

This summer, the Atlas Restaurant Group, the folks who brought you Tagliata, Ouzo Bay and Azumi, will open Maximón, a new Latin concept, in the Wit & Wisdom space in the Four Seasons Baltimore.

A new fine dining restaurant, The Civil, is set to open this spring in the space formerly occupied by Warehouse 518 in Mount Vernon.

Rise Biscuits Donuts has been a huge success since opening in Towson in mid-January.

Now, there’s a new location in Howard County across from the Wegman’s in Columbia. Rise serves Southern biscuits, as well as fried green tomatoes, avocado and applewood bacon, egg and cheese. One of their biggest hits is the buttermilk-brined and “fried righteous” chicken.

But the thing that’ll put a smile on your face are the doughnuts! Crème brulee, apple fritter, maple bacon and vanilla icing with sprinkles. (Note to Rise executives — we call them jimmies in Baltimore, hon!)

A Fond Farewell

After almost 20 years, Courtney’s Bagel Cafe and Deli in Owings Mills closed its doors. A Facebook post announced the closing with a letter from CEO Susan Leeming, who is retiring. My favorite bagel there was the egg onion.

Thanks for the memories, Courtney’s.

New York State of Mind

Going to the Big Apple for a show or a day on the town? Check out the first-ever Godiva café in North America at Penn Station, N.Y.

People are talking about the café’s croiffle, a hybrid of a croissant and waffle!

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

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