What’s a James Beard semifinalist to do after leaving one of Baltimore’s top restaurants? In chef David Zamudio’s case, the answer is to open his own place in Harbor Point.

Zamudio left Alma Cocina Latina after five years with the Station North eatery, just before being named a semifinalist for the James Beard Awards in the “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” category in January.

That level is “what I’m shooting for when we open Josefina,” said Zamudio, referring to the restaurant he is opening this fall at 1409 Point St. The location was formerly home to Doner Bros, which closed in June 2023.

The nearly 4,000-square-foot eatery on the ground floor of an apartment building will offer guests a taste of Spain, with a menu geared toward paellas and tapas meant for sharing. A press release promises servers “in crisp white shirts and red neckerchiefs.” Joining Zamudio will be a sous chef and pastry chef who worked alongside him at Alma.

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The restaurant is named after several women in Zamudio’s family, including his mom, grandma and great grandmother. “It’s a very strong, beautiful Spanish name,” Zamudio said. “I want the food to be as strong as the name.”

Zamudio noted that while Baltimore is home to a plethora of Italian restaurants, Spanish eateries are in relatively short supply, with few other than longtime institution Tio Pepe. In contrast to that downtown staple, Josefina will offer a more modern take. “It’s not going to be very traditional.”

Josefina will establish the foundation for a planned series of Latin American eateries. “With each restaurant, I will pay homage to where I came from, where I had unique opportunities to learn and grow in my career, and the potential for growth through the future,” he said in a statement.

Zamudio is originally from a town on the coastline of Venezuela and went to culinary school on Margarita Island in the Caribbean. But he’s fascinated by the influence of Spanish cooking on Latin America. “I think it’s pretty interesting how history changed the food through the centuries and how it keeps changing with immigration.”

He didn’t want to divulge too much about what comes after Josefina — “I don’t want to go and jump before we start walking,” he said — but suggested his next concept could combine Colombian, Venezuelan and Caribbean influences.

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Josefina will be a neighbor of a new branch of Attman’s Deli that opened this year. Both are part of the 27-acre waterfront Harbor Point neighborhood, formerly an industrial brownfield that is in the process of being overhauled by Beatty Development Group.

When it comes to dining nearby, “there’s not a lot beside Atlas Restaurant Group and Foreman Wolf,” Zamudio said, referring to the restaurant groups that each operate in Harbor Point and nearby Harbor East. “I love the competition and I think I can be a great addition.”

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