Freshening up for Rowhouse Grille, Gundalow Gourmet expands, revisiting rye whiskey – Baltimore Sun
At this time of year, I’m always on the lookout for places to get my fix of local food.
In my bag, red Maryland strawberries and orange cherry tomatoes from a roadside stall in Harford County. Spicy arugula and crunchy spinach from my CSA box. Last week I grabbed some thick, bright yellow butter from Prigel Family Creamery, which operates a lovely stand in Belvedere Square.
Local touches enhance the taste of any meal.
This week, thinking and eating locally, I’ll tell you about a restaurant business that opened a new branch in Towson and a druggist in Dundalk who is reviving Maryland’s rye tradition. But first, here’s some news on the changes to Federal Hill’s Rowhouse Grille.
You could say Patrick Dahlgren is one of the lucky ones. His restaurant Hampden Avenue Kitchen is doing better than ever, despite the pandemic. “I’m up 80%,” he said.
But he was also smart. Over the past two years, Dahlgren has been at the forefront of almost every pivot in the book: adding takeout and outdoor seating to his restaurant, applying for PPP loans and small government grants. His staff boosted the restaurant’s presence on Instagram and social media to entice customers with good meals and a better time.
Now Dahlgren, who also owns Sirvida in Dewey Beach, Delaware, takes over the reins of the Townhouse Grida Federal Hill restaurant he launched in 2009 but sold in 2019. “It was time for me to take it over.”
Dahlgren, a Loch Raven native who currently lives on Light Street, plans to close the restaurant over the summer for a first floor refurbishment and facelift to the building’s exterior. He hopes to get it reopened this fall and the start of football season, which draws large crowds to Federal Hill on Ravens game days.
A new menu will be designed by the Executive Chef Audiel Verawho also oversees the operations of The Avenue and Sirvida.
Also: “We’ll probably change the name.”
Gundalow Gourmet & Design opens a branch in Kenilworth Shops in Towson.
“Fingers crossed as we watch August,” the owner said Dana Sicko. A Lutherville-Timonium native whose first high school job was at Sports Her Way, Sicko called the new location an “unexpected comeback for his business.”
The new space is part of a wider expansion of the restaurant and interior design business. Gundalow is also expanding its presence at Hampden’s White Hall Marketwhere it will soon occupy a space formerly occupied by Homebody General Storewho is moving.
The larger footprint will provide Gundalow with more space for its gift shop as well as its interior design wing, part of the business that has taken off during the pandemic. “After working in so many kitchens…I found that I was working in beautiful kitchens that weren’t necessarily done by people who were cooking.”
Its goal is to help people spend “less time doing the dishes”.
Get the inside scoop on this new restaurant, learn about chef changes, and discover your new favorite recipe. All your Baltimore food news is here.
There was a time when rye was as important in Maryland as bourbon is in Kentucky, says pharmacist George Fotis. “We had over 50 distilleries in Maryland alone,” said Fotis, who grew up in Highlandtown and now owns Drug Town Pharmacy in Dundalk, which dates back to the 1950s.
The business isn’t just a pharmacy — it also includes a liquor store, tasting room, post office, and an old-fashioned soda fountain, which Fotis introduced in 2020. The unofficial motto “If Drug City Pharmacy doesn’t have it, you don’t need it!
But since taking over the business in 2016, Fotis has paid close attention to the liquor store, expanding its whiskey offering. “Whiskey is huge right now, at least in my circles,” Fotis said. Of the millions of varieties of whiskey available, Fotis found himself favoring rye, which has been made from the grains of rye for hundreds of years.
Fotis recently collaborated with a local rye expert Henry Wright to create a special rye edition using 14-year-old whiskey that Wright had stored on his property. Labels are reproductions of pre-Prohibition Maryland brands, including Mount Vernon, Sherwood and Sherbrooke. Look for the product on the shelves of Drug City Pharmacy next month, or try it at bar pillar at Federal Hill or Healed in Elliott City.
But don’t wait too long: “We have no intention of continuing,” Fotis said. Their aim was simply to “bring attention to and have fun with our whiskey’s incredible past”.
While we’re on the subject of local whiskies:
Old line spirits American Single Malt Whiskey was named America’s Best Single Malt by the Ascot Awardswho called it “a lovely blend of oak, sweet caramel and buttercream, and is delicious with a lovely hint of cinnamon spice that lingers on the finish,” according to a statement.