Turf Inn's owners realize there's no place like home


April 19, 2001|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,SUN RESTAURANT CRITIC

"We're back," says Tony di Paola to all of you who miss the Turf Inn, 2306 York Road in Timonium. Only the name has changed. When it reopens at the beginning of May, it will be the newly renovated Turf Restaurant.

Two years ago, Tony and his brother and business partner, Manny di Paola, leased the space, and it became a Damon's ribs franchise, which did quite well.

According to Tony, the owner's wife ran the restaurant while he (the owner) traveled for his primary business. She worked 24 hours a day at it. "He wanted his wife back," says di Paola. Meanwhile, the di Paola brothers had been scouting for other locations to open a restaurant. They decided they liked the one they had, thank you, and let the Damon's owner out of his lease.

"We've been here 32 years," says di Paola by way of explanation.(If you miss Damon's, a new franchise opened in Crofton a couple of weeks ago.)

J. Cafe opening soon

In a week or so, the restaurant group that owns Jay's Deli and Viccino Bistro will be opening a neighborhood place in the space between them. J. Cafe is located where the entrance to Jay's bar was at 1311 N. Charles St. Its menu will be a combination of Jay's sandwiches and salads and Viccino's carryout (mostly pizza and pasta).

"The venue is much too pretty for the kind of food we're serving," says Henry Pertman, director of food and beverages for the restaurant group. That's because the space, which has been completely renovated, will be used for overflow from the more upscale Viccino Bistro when there's an event at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall or Lyric Opera House.

J. Cafe will have an opera singer performing on opening night, which, of course, means Pertman can't resist saying, "We won't be open till the fat lady sings."

New sushi eatery

We can never get enough of it. Sushi, that is. Now Niko has opened in the Normandy Shopping Center in Ellicott City, serving sushi, tempura and teriyaki dishes. It's open for lunch and dinner during the week and dinner only on the weekends. Entrees are priced from $12.95 to $15.95.

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 elizabeth.large@baltsun.com.

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