Damye Hahn walked inside the future Faidley Seafood stall at the new Lexington Market, behind walls of plastic and on top of a floor that construction workers had only recently installed. Hahn expects to finally be up and running in the new market by January, more than a year after the rest of the revitalized food hall opened to the public.
Protracted lease negotiations and a longer-than-expected buildout have combined to push back the opening of Faidley’s in the new market again … and again. For now, Faidley’s is the lone vendor still operating out of the old market just next door.
Meanwhile, progress remains slow on the Fishmonger’s Daughter in Catonsville, a sister restaurant for Faidley’s in Baltimore County announced back in 2019. “It’s a massive project,” said Hahn, and has required extensive permitting to move forward. She envisions opening between August and September of 2024.
Restaurant openings and relocations can be a waiting game. Planned launch dates come and pass without comment. The reasons for delays are many: A restaurateur might buy a building and only realize after purchase quite how much rehabbing it needs. Maybe financing or a lease agreement fell through, or residents oppose the plans. Maybe it’s a combination of factors, or what one Baltimore attorney calls “the covid hangover.”
I think of it as the restaurant limbo. Of the 11 eateries I included in a list of the most anticipated restaurant openings for 2023, fewer than half have opened their doors. In last week’s newsletter, I asked readers to tell me what eateries they’re waiting for. Some of the names were places I’d been wondering about myself. I checked in with business owners and in some cases, their landlords, for a status update.
Here’s what they had to say.
Multiple readers mentioned the long wait for Nana taqueria, which was on my list of places to look out for this year. Clavel’s Carlos Raba had previously been slated to open his own Mexican diner in Towson in spring 2022. Raba later told The Banner he hoped to open by March of 2023. But that date has been pushed back yet again, Raba said. “I’m as frustrated as everybody is,” he said The historic building was previously a laundromat and needed a lot of TLC to bring it up to date. It recently passed inspection; Raba says he’s waiting for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. to hook up the power. “I have never had such a headache with a building,” he said. Fingers crossed he’ll be up and running by the end of the year. “If not,” he joked, “I’m going to have to run away to Mexico.”
Still happening? Yes, God and BGE willing.
“Coming soon” signs have been up at this Remington joint since 2021. (The concept from the owners of the Local Oyster was announced as far back as 2017). Years later, not much has changed. I checked in with co-owner Patrick Hudson last week to ask if it was still on at all. Hudson’s response: “It’s not officially happening and not officially not happening.” Got that? In the meantime, check out the Local Oyster’s branches in Mount Vernon Marketplace or Anthem House. (Hudson tells me Gov. Wes Moore stopped by the South Baltimore branch over the weekend for blue catfish.) Or visit True Chesapeake Oyster Co., their fine dining restaurant in Whitehall Mill.
Still happening? Don’t count on it.
Rize + Rest Café
Randall Jovan Matthews, formerly of Wit & Wisdom, was all set this spring to open his own restaurant at 3100 E. Baltimore St., a former grocery store near Patterson Park. The biggest issue: finding the right contractor for the building overhaul. But construction is now complete and so is the menu. Matthews said he’s now eyeing a mid-October opening.
Still happening? Yes, and soon.
Allora owners Brendon Hudson and David Monteagudo had planned to turn the former Alexander Brown Restaurant, located in one of the few downtown structures to survive Baltimore’s Great Fire, into a 1920s-themed restaurant. For now, the pair are using the grand old bank building as an event space. But Hudson, who recently shut down his Velleggia’s revival in Baltimore’s Cross Street Market, said “We are still definitely opening as a restaurant.” Guests can get a sneak peek at what’s in store at a burlesque party on Oct. 13.
Still happening? “Definitely.”
Prim & Proper
I had been excited to hear that another historic downtown showpiece, the former Chez Hugo space on East Redwood Street, would be getting new life under Berry Clark, co-owner of Papi Cuisine and co-founder of Clark Hospitality. Ten months after the project was first announced, “We are steadily moving along” said Janell Clark, co-owner and wine director of the restaurant. She expects the concept to open in November.
Still happening? Yes.
Crust by Mack
Initially, owner Amanda Mack planned to relocate her popular bakery to Midtown-Belvedere in summer of 2022. She later scrapped that location and announced plans to open in Harborplace in April 2023. That’s taken longer than expected, though. Mack now anticipates opening Oct. 7 on a weekends-only basis for takeout orders.
Still happening? Yes, and soon.
Foreman Wolf concept in Hampden
Hampdenites have been itching to get in the door of the unnamed Foreman Wolf concept planned for the former Cafe Hon space on the Avenue, first announced in April 2022. But the paper covering the windows hasn’t budged in months. What’s happening? Co-owner Tony Foreman said an intensive renovation of the old building has played a role in keeping this concept in limbo but declined to give a new opening date.
Still happening? We think so, but don’t expect to get a table anytime soon.
After abruptly closing their bagel shop in North Baltimore’s Belvedere Square in 2021, the owners of Greg’s Bagels had plans to relocate to Harbor Point by spring 2022 in the Thames Street Wharf building. But more than a year later, there is no sign of a move. A spokesman for Beatty Development Group did not respond to a request for comment.
Still happening? Outlook not so good.
Baltimoreans were devastated to see the Hamilton Tavern close its doors during the pandemic, but heartened by a planned revival under new ownership. Originally set to open in 2022, the eatery remains vacant. The building’s owner, Binod “Milo” Uprety, said licensing and construction issues have delayed the opening of the restaurant, which is co-owned by Sushme Karkai, who could not be reached. Uprety, who owns Alonso’s and Namaste, declined to give a new opening date.
Still happening? Yes, but not anytime soon.
After several delays, owner Jasmine Norton told The Banner she planned to open her new restaurant on Hampden’s Avenue by May of this year. While I couldn’t get through to Norton last week, her attorney, Stephan W. Fogleman, said construction delays have held up the project — an example of a trend that he says started during the pandemic and never stopped. He even has a name for it: “the covid hangover.” “Ten years ago it just wasn’t like this,” he said. Look for the Hampden eatery in “a couple months.”
Still happening? Yes.
While a news release announcing Prim & Proper last December named Papi Cuisine cofounder Alex Perez as being involved with the restaurant, co-owner Berry Clark said Perez isn’t actually a part of the concept. Perez could not be reached for comment.