Marta Fine Food and Spirits: Earlier this month, a new concept debuted in the former Salt Tavern space in Butcher’s Hill. From husband-and-wife team Matthew and Martha Oetting, Marta serves “American cuisine with a strong Italian accent.” Matthew, an alumnus of Atlas Restaurant Group’s Loch Bar and Bygone, runs the kitchen, while Martha oversees the bar programme. The menu items that caught our eye? Undoubtedly the tuna tartare cannoli, made with albacore tuna, mashed avocado, garlic chips, pistachios and sesame seeds. Also on offer are homemade pastas like gnocchi sardi pomodoro and entrees like sea scallops with artichoke hearts and curly capers. Reservations are now available through OpenTable.
Cafe Campli: Charm City diners can now sample the Italian region of Abruzzo via Hamilton-Lauraville. Husband and wife owners Paul and Sam Mincarelli have opened Cafe Campli, named after the small hilltop town in Abruzzo, which serves toast, paninis, pasta and pizza al taglio (by the slice) in an atmosphere inspired by the Italian cafes.
In a soft opening last weekend and a grand opening on Wednesday, the café’s first customers got a taste of the initial menu, which includes offerings such as tonno (tuna) deviled eggs, Abbuffata panini (stacked with hot soppressata, mortadella, arugula, provolone, garlic aioli and cooked tomato jam) and Sunday Gravy – a rigatoni pasta dish with oxtail and sausage stew. Customers also preferred the Mela Toast, with poached cinnamon apple slices, almond ricotta, butterscotch and toasted almond slivers on brioche.
“The neighborhood is out,” Paul says of the response. “They have been very supportive. We had people enjoying the food, enjoying our wine, talking about how they live around the corner and how happy they are to see us there.
The concept was inspired by the couple’s 2019 visit to Abruzzo, where Paul’s family is from. “We immediately fell in love with it,” Sam says. “The area itself is bordered by mountains to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east, so the cuisine is varied. You get lots of lamb, grazing animals, and then seafood as well.
“I want people to adopt the Italian coffee model,” adds Paul. “It’s that neighborhood meeting point where you drop by for breakfast in the morning – breakfast is like a coffee at the bar and a croissant while you scroll through your phone – and then come back later for the lunch. Maybe in the evening you will come back for an aperitif. And it’s just a friendly, welcoming place.
As for drinks, diners can of course expect Italian wines, but also local bottles from The Wine Collective in Hampden, beers from Wet City in Mt. Vernon and espresso with beans from Black Acres. Roastery headquartered in Greenmount West. Coffee is available “al bar”, an Italian model that means customers can pay a little less to have their coffee and stand at the bar, rather than taking a table. “It’s something we’re testing and hope people will really like,” Sam says.
The duo previously worked on white-collar gigs before moving into food service, getting their feet wet as managers at Allora in Mt. Vernon. Regarding the move to the Hamilton-Lauraville area, Paul says, “Everyone is very loyal to local businesses, and it just made sense. Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods, and it’s a very big neighborhood with lots of homeowners. Frankly, it just needs more and more of a neighborhood built around food and wine and giving people something to be proud of.
Hex Convenience Store: Hex Ferments, which specializes in fermented foods and was once open in Belvedere Square, has unveiled a new home base, aptly named Hex Superette, in the Mid-Govans area. The concept is described as a tasting room and market featuring produce from local farmers and makers.
“We wanted to introduce more people to not only how delicious fermented foods can be, but also the incredible richness of our region, not only in Maryland, but also in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Virginia -Western and DC, and even further afield. says Meaghan Carpenter, co-owner of Hex Ferments. Expect products like B-More Pasta, Liberty Delight Farms, and Keepwell Vinegar, to name a few.
“A convenience store, historically, is not a place where you go to do all your shopping, but a place where you can pick up your necessities for the week, or something fun, or something you might not find. not be in a grocery store,” Carpenter adds. “Our goal is to make it a community space where people learn about new foods, and also learn about new foods and how delicious they can be.”
At Velleggia: Among the new wave of Cross Street Market tenants is this 50-seat flagship restaurant. The famed Little Italy institution, which operated from 1937 to 2008, is now enjoying new life inside Federal Hill’s historic Public Market, thanks to Chef Brendon Hudson, the great-grandson of the original owners of Velleggia which is also behind Allora at Mt. Vernon. Hudson and his team officially reopened his family’s restaurant on November 11 and served a packed dining room on all three nights of the opening weekend.
The most popular menu item? “We do a veal saltimbocca, which is straight off my grandfather’s old menu,” Hudson tells us. “That was probably the most popular item we had last weekend. You just don’t see it in a lot of restaurants these days, and we still follow the same recipe as it did. So for those who went [to the original restaurant] at the time, it was fine for them to come back and be like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what it tasted like.’ »
Another classic is Caruso, a bucatini pasta dish made with green peppers, mushrooms and chicken livers. Hudson says the seasonal menu lists some of the same recipes as Velleggia in the 70s and 80s, as well as new dishes and favorites from Allora. “We wanted to keep a kind of balance between it not being a complete replica, but also being familiar to people,” he says.
As of press time, Velleggia’s is BYOB, but Hudson expects the liquor license to be finalized within the next week or two. When this is the case, the team plans to serve beer and wine by the bottle first before adding cocktails. For now, Velleggia’s is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday, but be on the lookout for lunch service soon. Hudson recommends making a reservation, but walk-ins are available.
15/11-20/11: Fishnet collaboration with Green Street Academy
The Mount Vernon Marketplace Fishnet stand is partnering with West Baltimore charter school Green Street Academy this week to serve two special dishes: blackened tilapia avocado salad and a fish nugget platter with locally farmed fish. of the academy, known for its urban agriculture and aquaculture programs, as well as its student-run farms. “It’s amazing because Green Street students literally raised fish in the school basement to learn about food systems,” Keyia Yalcin, owner of Fishnet, said in an email. . “They will volunteer at the restaurant and watch a fish filleting demonstration to understand the whole farm-to-table cycle and a bit about entrepreneurship.” Through November 20, Fishnet is donating 10% of specials proceeds to school programs.
Sagamore Spirit launches 5 Year Old Bottled in Bond Rye Whiskey: Just in time for the holidays, Sagamore Spirit has unveiled the 2022 iteration of its award-winning Bottled in Bond, which won a Double Gold award at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The new version was made entirely at the Sagamore waterfront distillery and aged in new American oak barrels for five years at its nearby rickhouse. Expect flavors of rye spice and toasted caramel, as well as hints of fruit and flowers.
“Bottled in Bond is a true testament and expression of the place we call home,” Sagamore Spirit co-founder and president Brian Treacy said in a press release. “This 2022 release is a year older than last year’s winner, revealing even more Maryland character with more time in the barrel. This is another big win for our whole team.
Stop by the South Baltimore Distillery for a taste or try to pick up a bottle—a limited quantity is available in the Maryland area and other select markets across the country.
Additional reporting by Grace Hebron.