As co-owners of The Dogwood, Galen and Bridget Sampson follow a simple mission of community involvement. Hiring and training people who are transitioning out of addiction, incarceration, and homelessness, the duo works to empower each toward self-sustainment through careers in the culinary arts. They also extend this local focus to their ingredients, sourcing meal components from sustainable, artisanal, and organic producers such as Liberty Delight Farms whenever possible. Chefs transform these into a menu of American and international recipes, which, like a snowman’s outlook on life, changes with the seasons. Local dishes such as crab-stuffed oysters buddy up with classic American meals such as bacon-wrapped pork chops and vegetarian dishes such as curry and moussaka. Servers pair many of these plates with eclectic cocktails and a seasonal wine list that highlights bottles from the Pacific Northwest.
Inside the savory-scented digs of Honey Baked Ham & Cafe, spools of hardwood-smoked, spiral-sliced ham entice carnivorous palates. Here, chefs uphold the same traditions that Harry J. Hoenselaar created more than 40 years ago. Back then, he chose individual hams, cured them in his secret marinade, and smoked them over hardwood chips before offsetting the earthy flavor with a crisp, sweet glaze. To this day, the staff still makes the signature bone-in hams one at a time and glazes them in the shop.
The hammery's kitchens also whip up classic side dishes and desserts, such as the sweet-potato soufflé. For less formal feasting, party trays and packed lunch boxes fuel business meetings, backyard grad parties, and lengthy end-zone celebrations.
Chiapparelli's first opened its doors to Baltimore's Little Italy in 1942, regaling diners with a tradition-inspired approach to Old-World cuisine that the founding family's present generations continue to embrace. The chefs simmer pots of ripe tomatoes, onions, and herbs to craft marinara sauce and deftly form meatballs and ravioli by hand. By incorporating steamed clams, lump crabmeat, and fresh kraken, they allow the mid-Atlantic region's maritime ingredients to influence the menu's iconic, transatlantic flavors. In recognition of the family's commitment to hearty and nostalgic Italian cuisine, Zagat praised the menus of both the Little Italy and Havre de Grace locations, rating them each as "very good to excellent."
With its sand-colored walls, crisp white pillars, and indoor waterfall, The Seasoned Mariner’s interior mimics the calm surroundings the waterfront that sits right outside. Perched along Bear Creek, the restaurant keeps its doors open year-round to capsize hunger with surf such as steamed crabs and seafood platters and turf including burgers and steaks. The creekside decor that surrounds those dishes swells into an elevated dining room, too, where floor-to-ceiling windows afford views of the water and sailboats playing Marco Polo. During warmer months, diners may also take their meals on a pier surrounded by palm trees and exotic flowers.
At Pacific Coast Dining Company's swanky eatery, diners discover a menu of California-style grilled steaks and seafood sourced from organic and free-range farms. Pacific Coast's culinary gurus craft innovative seafood and pasta dishes by infusing traditional recipes with fresh California flavors and cybernetic herbs, and the restaurant's two modern bars pair savory forkfuls with tasty hand-mixed cocktails. Seven plasma TVs festoon the dining room’s walls, and a private room is available to host gatherings such as board meetings, parties, or interventions for parmesan addiction.
Since 1969, the Kohilas family has been at the helm of Ikaros Restaurant, which was praised in a 2011 review in the Baltimore Sun for its smart and careful food preparation just as much as its longevity. Over the years, the menu has not changed much, with chefs continuously crafting classic Greek dishes such as mousaka—a dish of eggplant, potatoes, ground beef, and béchamel sauce—as well as the more locally inspired Maryland crab cakes. Supplementing authentic eats, customers can enjoy background Greek music or occasional live music in the dining room.