Ron and Gail Furman, the owners of Max’s Taphouse at 737 S. Broadway in the heart of historic Fells Point, have rolled out a new take-out/dine-out menu. And it’s just in time for Oktoberfest, which they will observe from Oct. 1-4.

Max’s menu was re-designed to emphasize their carryout barbecue and beer business during the pandemic, and especially during the colder months.

The menu features really good pub grub, including “Apps for Your Tummy, Not Your Phone” — crab pretzels (gargantuan soft pretzels smothered in crab and artichoke dip) and jumbo wings with Max’s BBQ, Buffalo, Honey Old Bay or Nashville Hot sauces. There’s also “Between Two Buns” — smoked pit beef, turkey and pulled pork (by the pound, too) and smoked rockfish.

They also have a humongous and thoughtfully CRAFTed selection of “to-go” beers, cocktails and wines.

For this Oktoberfest, the focus will be on local Maryland breweries making German-style beers, with a few true Deutschland beers on draft for the purists.

Max’s recently added a walk-up window for ordering (safety first, folks!), expanded their outdoor seating and added an outdoor sound system.

And, check out their cool online shop. shop.maxs.com

Ginny Lawhorn
Ginny Lawhorn is the co-owner of Friends and Family. (Photo courtesy of Friends and Family)

Veggin’ Out

Meanwhile, Baltimore restauranteur Ginny Lawhorn and her husband, Ronnie Pasztor, recently opened Friends and Family, a sustainability-minded, plant-forward restaurant. It’s located in their former Sticky Rice restaurant location, at 1634 Aliceanna St. in Fells Point.

For now, Friends and Family’s food and craft cocktails are available for carry-out service. The all-day menu allows you to decide when you want to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Broccoli, chickpea, shredded carrot, topped with a bit of kale stem pesto and vegan parm
Broccoli, chickpea, shredded carrot, topped with a bit of kale stem pesto and vegan parm. (Photo courtesy of Friends and Family)

Lighter menu options include protein-rich vegan and vegetarian salads such as “Avocado Hold the Toast,” “It’s Not Easy Being Green” and artfully crafted sandwiches with amusing names like “What the Cluck?!” and “AGT” (avocado, greens, and tomato).

Heartier dishes include egg or tofu scrambles, vegan biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, and the “Don’t Have a Cow” Beyond Burger.

There’s also an extensive cocktail menu, and even a mimosa kit using craft spirits from such regional partners as Don Ciccio & Figli and New Columbia Distillers. friendsandfamilybaltimore.com

A vegan restaurant, Dodah’s Kitchen opened at 1210 North Charles St. Dodah’s features vegan soul food — think mac & cheese, collard greens and candied yams — and desserts.

You may be familiar with Dodah’s products because they’re sold at Mom’s Organic Markets, Graul’s and other fine Maryland markets. dodahskitchen.com

Nice Guy Finishes First!

What started in March as a temporary pop-up cocktail bar established to help unemployed bartenders, Canton’s Mr. Nice Guy Cocktails has evolved into a popular, contactless, reservation-only cocktail bar.

Located at 800 S. Kenwood Ave., Mr. Nice Guy is the brainchild of owner Anthony Nastasi Jr., formerly of Wicked Sisters and Huck’s American Craft.

And now it has a scratch-made menu with former Sagamore Pendry Chef Justin Spivak at the helm in the kitchen. The fan favorites on the menu include elevated versions of tacos, brisket and pineapple salsa.

There’s a who’s-who of B-more bartenders, including Scott Hose of La Barrita Restobar, Greg Mergner of r. bar Spirits Academy, Heath Gorenflo of The Elk Room, and Shaun Stewart of The Elk Room and Gunther & Co.

Top-selling libations are the pineapple margarita and the vanilla pecan old-fashioned made with Sagamore Rye. For the individual, outdoor booths, you must reserve a two-hour time slot, and the Nice Guy folks are looking into ways to winterize the outdoor seating.

Carry-out — order on their website — will be the main focus during the colder months, although they plan to open inside as well, with 15 socially distanced tables.

And they cater!

Among those singing the praises of Mr. Nice Guy is Baltimore influencer @TheGoddessCraves: “Mr. Nice Guy Cocktails is killing it!! They have the best COVID-19 procedures I’ve seen from any restaurant. And, their salads are so 2021! No lettuce in sight. I love the Tropical Quinoa Salad with mango & black beans. Quirky and fun. Can you say Donut & Cocktail platter for brunch?!! Need another reason to go? Anthony Nastasi Jr. and crew really are Nice Guys!”

Visit mrniceguycocktails.com.

Remember: #ShopLocalEatLocal.

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.

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