Spike & Charlie's big plansSpike Gjerde and his brother...

Table Talk

October 16, 1997|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,SUN RESTAURANT CRITIC

Spike & Charlie's big plans

Spike Gjerde and his brother Charlie, owners of Spike & Charlie's, may be opening a restaurant in the American Can property at 2400 Boston St., although the project is still in the delicate negotiations stage. Spike Gjerde wasn't ready to divulge any details, but he did say that if the deal goes through, the dining room will seat 160 people. "It's a bigger project than we've ever been involved in," he said. Rumor has it that the new place will be a seafood restaurant.

Big names at Oregon Grill

Fans of former Milton Inn chef Mark Henry can rest easy. The new Oregon Grill (1201 Shawan Road, 410-771-0505), with Henry in charge of the kitchen, finally opened a couple of weeks ago. The renovated Oregon General Store has been turned into a fine-dining restaurant -- a steak house with cachet. One new staff member of note: Blane Boeri, maitre d' at the Prime Rib for 11 years, is now at the Oregon Grill.

Approximate reservations

The new Romano's Macaroni Grill in Timonium has an odd practice: priority seating. You can call and make a quasi-reservation but not a real reservation. What does that mean? When you call, the restaurant puts your name down for the time you want, and at least one member of your party has to show up by then. "Then we try to seat you within half an hour," the hostess told me over the phone.

Guaranteed reservations

Don't look now, but American Express's Guaranteed Restaurant Reservations Program may soon be coming to a restaurant near you. Its purpose is to combat no-shows at peak times, such as on holidays and during conventions.

The customer can make a reservation at these times, but it can only be guaranteed with an American Express card. If a card member doesn't honor or cancel a reservation, the restaurant may charge a fee ($10 or $25 a person).

Locally, Da Mimmo was one of the restaurants that took part in a pilot test of the program.

While it's hard to see how customers benefit directly, American Express points out that we should receive better service at places guaranteeing reservations because they won't be holding empty tables.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; or e-mail to elarge592ol.com.

Pub Date: 10/16/97

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