Local fans of celebrity chef Andrew Carmellini now need only travel 40-some miles north to feast on his creations at Rye Street Tavern, the new restaurant he’s installed along the Baltimore waterfront.
The latest venture from the James Beard Award-winning chef and his partners at Noho Hospitality Group has made itself at home in Charm City’s Port Covington neighborhood (225 East Cromwell Street). Other restaurants in the growing family of restaurants include Locanda Verde, The Dutch, Joe’s Pub, The Library, Lafayette, Bar Primi, Little Park, Evening Bar, the William Vale, and Sagamore Pendry Baltimore.
Rye Street Tavern’s first crack at daytime service started last week with the debut of lunch October 16 (good news for everyone at Under Armor’s adjoining headquarters). Brunch rolled out October 21 (see new menu below). The weekend dining lineup includes catfish tacos, shrimp and grits, and some of the same fare found at The Dutch in SoHo, including cornmeal flapjacks and honey-butter biscuits.
Inspired by the neighboring Sagamore Spirit Distillery, alcohol is woven into certain Rye Street offerings; whiskey-spiked pickles crown a Southern-style fried chicken sandwich, while a Maryland-style mule sherbet bolsters coconut cake.
“Our motto is the more booze, the better,” Carmellini says. Though he is quick to point out that “this is not a whiskey restaurant.”
Like The Dutch, the menu is a smorgasbord of American-style cooking, ranging from classic to new to “modern soul food.” Carmellini and chef de cuisine Brian Plante do their part to showcase Mid-Atlantic farms. fishmongers, and drink makers. The kitchen gives crab rotating roles each day of the week; they appear in everything from tamales to soups to toasts. Key vegetable offerings include Karma Farms carrots with yogurt and popped sorghum grains.
Rye Street Tavern can accommodate more than 200 guests, boasting indoor and outdoor bar seating for up to 80, as well as four private dining spaces for groups of 10 to 300.
Interior design elements, coordinated by Baltimore-based expert Patrick Sutton, take patriotism to the next level; head upstairs to Rye Street Tavern’s glass-enclosed wine cellar and check out two original pieces of The Star-Spangled Banner. There’s also a stone fireplace mounted with woolly hunting trophies. Or patrons can grab a drink and kick back on Adirondack chairs lining its grassy lawn.
While he’s a “fan” of D.C. and its food scene, Carmellini says any expansion further South with another restaurant is unlikely for now.
“I’m in no rush,” he assures Eater.