Cafe lands at BWIThe American Cafe was the hottest...

TABLE TALK

February 29, 1996|By Elizabeth Large

Cafe lands at BWI

The American Cafe was the hottest restaurant Baltimore had ever seen when it opened some 15 years ago. But when its lease ran out in December and the Rouse Co. wanted to increase the rent beyond what the cafe was willing to pay, the Harborplace location closed its doors for good.

No problem -- at least for the American Cafe, which just opened another one, the ninth, in the Ramada Inn at BWI Feb. 1. And there are plans for more cafes in more hotels.

"It's a good marriage," says Yogi Kumar, director of operations. "The hotel gets a brand-name restaurant, and we get a captive audience and catering capabilities."

End of Taverna era

So what about other Harborplace restaurants whose leases are running out?

"It's the end of an era here," says Georgette Stavrakas, whose husband, Spyros, owns the Taverna Athena. "I'm pretty sure we're leaving." Nothing, however, is settled yet.

Mrs. Stavrakas plans to open her own Greek restaurant in Fells Point by the end of March. The name hasn't been decided yet; it's a tossup between Yianni, after the chef, and Opa!, which means ole! in Greek.

Bar-b-que bubbling

The Harborplace location has been good to Wayne Brokke -- once his Soup Kitchen turned into Wayne's Bar-b-que and business doubled. Mr. Brokke now has a temporary one-year lease. If he leaves, it will only be to another spot in one of the pavilions.

"My space is capable of being expanded, unlike some of the other restaurants'," he explains. As Harborplace begins major renovations and tries to lure larger eating places, Wayne's may have to move to make room.

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