The taste of Lebanon


May 23, 2002|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Washington's ever-popular Lebanese Taverna Restaurant celebrated its 12th birthday last week by giving Annapolis a present. The Lebanese Taverna Cafe opened its doors in the Annapolis Harbour Center 12 years to the day after the Taverna Restaurant opened on Connecticut Avenue.

The cafe offers the same food that's served in D.C. - including hummus ("the best hummus on the Eastern seaboard," says Henrik Suhr, one of the owners), baba ghanouj, kebabs and fresh pita baked on the premises. The cafe's menu, however, isn't as extensive as the restaurant's.

The cafe seats 65, but Suhr expects about a third of the business to be takeout orders. A beer-and-wine license is expected to be in place within a couple of weeks.

Annapolitans are already celebrating the new eatery's arrival. "We're doing as well as, or better than, we thought we would be," says Suhr. "We're getting tons of customers who used to live in the D.C. area who are saying, `Oh, we're so glad you're here.' "

The Lebanese Taverna Cafe is at 2478 Solomons Island Road. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Barge in at ESPN

Hey, sports fans, now you can see the weekend games on television while enjoying a little nosh and brewski outside - on a barge. ESPN Zone in Baltimore's Inner Harbor has just opened up a barge, making it the only one of the eight ESPN Zones across the country to offer an outside area.

Not only does the barge have a TV set and a full bar, it also offers several items cooked on an outside grill - barbecue turkey legs, burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and Italian sausage and peppers.

For Memorial Day weekend, the Zone is giving anyone who orders something outside a $5 game card to use in its Sports Arena inside. The barge will be open all summer during ESPN Zone's regular hours - 11:30 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday. Food and bar service ends a half-hour before closing time. ESPN Zone is at 601 E. Pratt St.

Lunch in Canton

The Gin Mill is taking note of the growing number of offices springing up in Canton.

Luke and Lester Reeder, owners of the Canton tavern, observed that while new businesses were opening all around their Boston Street location, there weren't many eating places within walking distance. So, about a month and a half ago, they brought chef Herb Ritter on board to upgrade the Gin Mill's menu and expanded its food-service hours to include lunch.

"People come in here for the social scene," says Lester Reeder. "Maybe now they'll come in for the food. ... We don't want anyone to think we're now a four-star restaurant, just that we just have great tavern food."

That tavern food includes bar favorites like potato skins, buffalo wings and nachos, along with a couple of salads and a sandwich menu (burgers, crab cakes and tuna steak). Prices range from $3.99 for a garden salad to $12.99 for a full rack of baby back ribs.

You'll find the Gin Mill at 2300 Boston St. Food service is available from 11 a.m. to midnight, Tuesday-Sunday.

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