Waterfront Hotel expands upstairs


August 04, 2005|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The revival and expansion of a Fells Point institution continues. The Waterfront Hotel, which opened its downstairs pub in May, has just opened its upstairs dining room.

General manager Ben Greene says management has kept as much as they could of the original hotel, including constructing the bar out of the doors of the Waterfront's original hotel rooms. You'll see old chandeliers, red walls, a dining room with black tablecloths and seating for 60 and a great big working fireplace (one of four in the place). Ben says think "very Victorian lounge-y."

As for the food, upstairs and downstairs have the same menu -- "gourmet pub grub," Ben says. Appetizers include oysters fried in Japanese bread crumbs with spicy horseradish sauce ($10), deep fried potato fritters with bacon, cheddar and leeks, served with a spicy aioli ($6.50), and crab dip in a bread bowl ($9.50). There are several salads that range from a petite Caprese -- grape tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with pesto and balsamic vinaigrette ($6.50) -- to the Chesapeake -- jumbo lump crabmeat, scallops and shrimp with peppers, onions and tomatoes ($12.50). You'll also find a variety of sandwiches and burgers, wraps and gourmet quesadillas, from $7 to $12.50.

Next week, executive chef Kenny Plant (formerly of Sotto Sopra and the Pickled Parrot) comes on board. Ben says he'll add "3 1/2 - and 4-star items" to the menu, changing entree specials weekly. Kenny will also service a chef's table in the dining room, which can be reserved for up to eight people. Ben says Kenny will come out and confer with his guests and then concoct a dinner just for them.

The Waterfront Hotel, 410-537-5055, is at 1710 Thames St. The downstairs is open 11:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m. (serving food until 1 a.m.) Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours are 10 a.m.-1:30 a.m. The dining room will be open 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. After the dinner hours, Ben says, the lights will be turned down, and the area will become a lounge, sometimes offering live acoustical acts.

Yellow Dress Auction

The Yellow Dress Golf Classic Dinner and Live Auction is never an easy event for Doug and Sharon Strouse. After all, it's a fundraiser for the Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation, which they founded after the suicide of their 17-year-old daughter four years ago. But this year, Sharon says she noticed a slightly different mood at the dinner, held at Hillendale Country Club.

"It wasn't as heavy. It was lighter. Maybe that's a statement on the healing that's not just happening for [husband Doug and myself], but for the people who come to the dinner."

Many of the 250 folks in the dining room have been friends and supporters of the Strouses' organization from the beginning. Folks like Joan and Jon Schochor, Jan and John Kenny, Jon Levinson, Gail and Larry Butler, Lynne Brick, Meadow Lark Washington, George Everly, David Pessin and former Baltimore Colts Joe Ehrmann and Stan White.

And then there were the 20 families of suicides in the room, each of whom had tied a ribbon to a "Tree of Life" there.

Sharon explained to the gathering that the tree provided a process for grieving families to acknowledge the person they loved in a private way, while letting others know how many families have lost a loved one to suicide.

"We want to give people the opportunity to come forward out of the silence, and challenge the way people think about mental health issues," she says.

The $100,000 raised at the event, Sharon says, goes to several organizations -- Rita Project, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association (DRADA), and a new program announced at the dinner.

Sharon says the foundation is funding a program being developed at the Johns Hopkins department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences -- a core college curriculum program on depression that will be taught to students and faculty.

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