Barbecue fare finds a home at Mr. Chelsea's in Owings Mills

Table Talk

October 05, 2005|By SLOANE BROWN

In case you're wondering what restaurant themes - other than steakhouses - seem to be hot around Baltimore these days, barbecue would have to be included in the top five.

You've got the fairly new Ray Lewis eatery in Canton, plans by former Blue Agave owner Michael Marx to open barbecue joints in Timonium and Locust Point, and now the new Mr. Chelsea's Bar-B-Q in Owings Mills.

The guy behind the smoker is Keith Henze, the owner of Garrison Catering, whose major business is providing lunch programs for private schools and colleges. One sideline, however, has been to serve pit beef and pork barbecue at local fairs and festivals, courtesy of a portable smoker.

"Everyone would always ask us where our store was [at these fairs]," says Garrison's Suzanne Wilson. Until recently, they had no answer.

So, when space became available nearby, Suzanne says Keith decided to go for it. What used to be the Greek Village Carry Out and Sub Shop in the Painters Mill Shopping Center is now Mr. Chelsea's.

Suzanne says the place has been changed a lot - "lightened and brightened up." The space was opened up, so you can see into the kitchen and see the barbecue smoker smokin'. They obviously went for a real country feel, with wallpaper "that looks like planks on a barn," and red, white and blue decor. There's seating for about 40, with folks ordering what they want at the counter and taking it to their seats. Or just taking it home.

Suzanne says one of Mr. Chelsea's specialties is North Carolina-style pulled pork. It's not tomato-based, but treated with a vinegar dry rub and smoked for 12 hours. You can order it as a regular sandwich ($4.75), a jumbo sandwich ($6.25) or by the pound ($11.90).

Other barbecued items include beef brisket ($5.50 to $10.50, depending on what size sandwich or platter you want), chicken ( 1/4 for $5.25, 1/2 for $8.95), pork ribs ( 1/2 rack for $9.75, full rack for $17.85) and even a portobello-mushroom sandwich ($5.25).

There are side dishes, including homemade french fries ($1.89 to $2.75), mac and cheese ($2.49 to $4.50) and black-eyed peas, potato salad, coleslaw, bean salads, pit beans or collard greens ($1.75 to $3.25 each). There also will be daily specials like beef barbecue or pit beef.

Mr. Chelsea's Bar B-Q // 410-363-9873, is at 10221 Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

`Warm, inviting' Gigi in Mount Vernon

As the Starbucks world domination has proven, you can never have enough coffeehouses. Particularly, if they're not part of a chain. Case in point, the latest addition to Mount Vernon, Restaurant Gigi.

Owner Ji Kim - whose nickname is Gigi - says she wanted to create a place that was "more warm and inviting than other coffeehouses, which seem rather cold." So she decorated the space with lots of sunny colors, such as coral and lime. There's seating for about 20, and she's encouraging local artists to display their work on the walls.

Needless to say, there's also WiFi, wireless Internet connections. Food-wise, you'll find some breakfast sandwiches ($2 to $3.50) and lunch fare, including sandwiches and salads ($5.50 to $8.50). There are also freshly squeezed juices and the usual coffee-bar offerings.

Restaurant Gigi --410-685-1554, is next door to Grand Central Station in Mount Vernon, at 1005 N. Charles St. Its hours are 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

If you have information regarding a local restaurant's opening, closing or major changes, please e-mail that information to or fax it to 410-675-3451.

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