royal sauce; Atlas to resume James Joyce; bond street social

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OPEN

Royal sauce: A new food truck is gaining traction in Baltimore. Royal Sauce, from local chef Malik Robertson and business partner April Bebel, serves American comfort food we all know and love – smashburgers, patty melts, grilled cheese, plus a chicken and pineapple quesadilla – but with a twist. multitude of dynamic sauces to choose from to keep customers on their toes. “It’s nostalgic stuff that you can reach for with your eyes closed,” says Robertson, who has a classic French culinary background and whose resume includes stops at Le Chasseur, Smoking Swine and Dizzy Cow Pizzeria.

The emphasis on sauces, he says, adds flavor. “It can really change the whole dynamic of the dish,” he explains. “The food itself is good on its own, but I don’t want to be the burger guy, the pizza guy, the quesadilla guy, I want to be the sauce guy.”

Sauces run the gamut of flavor profiles. Expect varieties like roasted garlic aioli, blackberry chipotle (“mild with a bit of tang”), and the savory mayonnaise-based royal sauce, made with umami and namesake, which includes inventive ingredients like mushroom powder and soy sauce.

The cache of different sauces also allows customers to put their own little DIY twist on the menu, as Robertson says. “People love to hack menus, you know, like, ‘I had the burger, and I made it this way and put Mango Tango on it,'” he explains. . They want to take a picture of it. It was the whole thought process behind the menu.

Royal Sauce recently held a soft opening inside The Hanover in South Baltimore. The upcoming truck schedule in the region is still being finalized. Curious sauce lovers can stay in the know by following the truck’s Instagram page, @royalsaucemd.

NEWS

Friends and Family is suspending service: The Fells Point Friends and Family bar and restaurant, which specializes in plant-based comfort food, announced this week that it has suspended service. “We, like 177,000 other restaurants and bars across the country, have not received the assistance promised by the Restaurant Revitalization Fund,” the establishment wrote on Instagram. “We will remain in hibernation until the fund is replenished and we are able to secure the assistance needed to continue operations.”

Owner Ginny Lawhorn — who opened Friends and Family, on the corner of Aliceanna and Broadway in late 2020 after renaming the space Sticky Rice — tells us that, like many independent restaurants across the country during the pandemic, Friends and Family struggled with rising costs, a reduced workforce and recent commercial success due to the Omicron variant.

During the Omicron surge, Lawhorn assessed its payroll to determine how long the restaurant could operate, then helped find other positions for all of its employees. “Then I just started suspending the accounts, so that we didn’t owe anyone any more money,” she explains, “which was my most important decision. There are restaurants all over the country that are still operating because they can’t afford to close. And it’s going to look like waves of personal bankruptcies across the country in the months ahead. I wasn’t going to bet on hoping for a return to possibly pre-COVID sales levels this summer, which the industry is hoping for. I wasn’t going to bet on that and the possibility of having to leave overdue vendors or personally guaranteed money that wasn’t there. It’s just not the right thing to do if you’re in a position to make a different decision.

Closings of Main Street businesses like Friends and Family can diminish a neighborhood’s culture and character, Lawhorn says. She expresses her gratitude to Maryland Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen for being “the loudest cheerleaders” when it comes to advocating for the replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, but continues to be frustrated by mixed messages from federal agencies.

For Baltimore residents who want to help, Lawhorn has simple advice: “Go a little out of your way to support an independent operator.”

Atlas to resume James Joyce: Atlas Restaurant Group announced on Instagram last week that it would reopen the James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant, located at 616 President St. in the Harbor East neighborhood, “under the same name and concept”, the restaurant group said. . The pub, which closed in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, got its start in 2002 and was known for its traditional Irish food and nightly live music.

“Irish pubs are known to be places where the community can gather to enjoy food, drink and friendly conversation,” Atlas Chairman and CEO Alex Smith said in a statement. “While James Joyce remained closed, the neighborhood and the city lacked an important and unique concept that succeeded through their neighborhood hospitality, which we look forward to continuing.”

Atlas says he expects James Joyce to open in late summer with an improved menu and updated decor.

Magdalena offering a cherry blossom cocktail: The Ivy’s signature restaurant, Magdalena, celebrates the annual cherry blossoms with an inspired new cocktail. Until late spring, bistro patrons can enjoy 1912 Clarified Cherry Blossom Punch for $17. The cocktail is a blend of Japanese whiskey, yuzu, cherry blossom tea, wildflower simple syrup, and orange blossom liqueur. The name 1912 is a nod to the year DC’s 3,000 signature flowers were donated to the nation’s capital from Japan.

EPICUREAN EVENTS

4/7: New Beer Day at True Chesapeake Oyster Co.

Celebrate National Beer Day on April 7 at True Chesapeake Oyster Co. The prohibition-themed event encourages attendees to don their best 1930s gear while enjoying live music and cask covers from Union Craft Brewing, Waverly Brewing Company and Checkerspot Brewing Company. Everyone’s first beer is only $1. 7pm-10pm

4/10: Café Los Sueños Anniversary Celebration

Remington java Joint Café Los Sueños will celebrate its first anniversary on April 10 “with a day of food, art and fun.” The event will feature a special menu and pop-up shops from some of Baltimore’s favorite coffee companies, including Cocina Luchadoras, Charm City Threads, Café Tío Conejo, Mexi Art by Ale, artist Magan Ruthke and Face Paint by Marina. 9am-3pm

CLOSE

Bond Street Social Media: A few weeks ago, the Baltimore Business Journal reported that the interior of popular Fells Point restaurant and bar, Bond Street Social, had been “stripped of furniture”, with sources confirming to the newspaper that it was permanently closed. To our knowledge there has been no official statement about the closure or its cause, but when we walked past the space last weekend a Harbor East Management Group sign was posted on the door saying : “This location is closed to businesses. ”

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