Coming attraction at the movies: tacos vs. popcorn

THE REAL DISH

March 06, 1994|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

So, there we were in the movie theater last weekend making what always seems like one of life's toughest decisions: Would it be Goobers, Raisinets or . . . a bean burrito.

A bean burrito?

Hold on to your ticket stub, Toto, we're not in the multiplex anymore.

Several months ago, the burrito supreme began its unlikely quest to unseat buttered popcorn as the preferred snack for moviegoers. The General Cinema Theaters chain started test-marketing a limited menu of Taco Bell products -- burritos and tacos only -- in its Towson and Security theaters.

One thing we love about the idea is the price. Unlike budget-busting candy, these snacks are downright cheap; the cost for two tacos or burritos runs between $2.00 and $2.25.

Last week, the Towson movie theater began opening its Taco Bell concession for lunch (no admission is required), and the noontime business has been brisk, says Don Askey, assistant manager of the Towson Commons cinemas.

But we question how wise it is to dig into a chicken taco during a flick. Personally, we fumble plenty when we're sitting at a table with the lights on. Place us in a darkened theater with cushy seats, and we're certain to wind up smothered in shredded lettuce and cheese.

"People are surprised," says Mr. Askey. "They think they're messy, but they're not. We haven't found tacos splattered on the floor yet. It's still popcorn more than anything."

BREAKING BREAD: The bread man cometh to Towson. Just around the corner from the movie theater, Wolford's European ++ Bakeries, 3 W. Chesapeake Ave., has opened its second shop.

Owner Patrick Wolford is serious about sweets here. In addition to 10 kinds of bread (including one flavored with Old Bay and garlic), he makes French turnovers, fruit flans, cream puffs, eclairs and 10 kinds of cakes. The bakery also serves soups, salads and sandwiches. He's planning to add tables outside in the spring, but at this point it's strictly carryout.

Although Wolford's seems to be competing with Gemelli Desserts, the fledgling Italian bakery on Allegheny Avenue that we hear is already planning to expand, Mr. Wolford says each serves a different clientele.

Mr. Wolford's first bakery opened 18 months ago in the Towson Marketplace, and he's already scouting locations for a third.

How does a 26-year-old get the money for such an ambitious venture?

TC By starting early, he says. Mr. Wolford says he's been envisioning something like this -- and saving for it -- since he was 16 and started his own snowball-truck company. He does admit to receiving some help from his father, Bill, an executive with Universal Studios.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

THE LUCK OF THE IRISH: Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, Baltimore is getting a new Irish pub. Kilkenny Irish Ale House, 1818 Maryland Ave., opened quietly last week in the site that once housed the American Revolution Tavern and the Rev.

"We got tired of the underground scene, so we decided to change it over," says E.J. Schmit, a manager.

The aim is to make it a "twentysomething hangout." There are 15 kinds of beer on tap (served in yards and half yards), live bands four nights a week, and a menu of vegetarian selections, soups, salads, sandwiches and pasta.

We hear the interior has been spruced up from its grunge-bar past. There are now exposed brick walls, a tin ceiling, wooden tables, dart boards and a dance floor.

Look for a mini-buffet and beer specials during the official grand opening Saturday and similar festivities on St. Patrick's Day.

While chef Stacy Arthur is trying to plan an Irish dinner for every evening, she's not making any promises. "Unfortunately, Ireland's food isn't exactly thrilling," she says. "Potatoes and corned beef are not what people who come out to dinner want to eat."

Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

ST. PATRICK'S DAY PREVIEW: Those eager to get a head start %% on St. Patrick's Day celebrating can drop by McGinn's, 328 N. Charles St., today. At 2 p.m., the Irish pub is sponsoring a fund-raiser for the St. Patrick's Day Parade (that's on March 20 and begins at the Washington Monument). On tap for the afternoon: performances by an Irish pipe band and Bill Davis and the Spalpeens as well as a sing-along. There's a $4 donation at the door.

AN ANNAPOLIS OUTPOST: Mick's, the popular Towson restaurant known for its family-friendly atmosphere and gigantic desserts, opened another location last month across from the food court in the Annapolis Mall.

This Mick's doesn't look anything like the other. To play off the popularity of boating in Annapolis, the restaurant has used a nautical theme -- decorating with oil paintings of boats, lobster traps, anchors and miniature sailboats.

So far, general manager Jim Petrillo says diners have shown a real love of meatloaf with lumpy potatoes and Heath Bar ice cream pie. The secret to Mick's meatloaf, he confides, is the sauce. Chefs there use pizza sauce in the loaf to give it a sweet, tangy flavor.

Parents often appreciate the children's menu here, which features everything from spaghetti to a bowl of Cheerios.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Have news about local restaurants, chefs or clubs? Call (410) 332-6156 or write the Real Dish, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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