That neon Natty Boh guy up on the hill in Canton has a little something more to wink about these days. He's got a brand-new hangout named in his honor.
The Natty Boh Lounge recently opened on Conkling Street, right above the Canton Station bar. And the place is packed with Bawlmer history.
Co-owner Darren Petty, a lifelong Canton/Highlandtown resident, says the building itself was built in 1886, around the same time the National Bohemian brewery was built across the street.
In fact, he says, it was the boardinghouse for some of the Natty Boh brewmasters. When he and partner Charlie Alfred started tearing down walls in the building's second and third floors, Petty says, they found the original beams and a working fireplace behind the old drywall.
Petty says all the additional woodwork in the space has been salvaged from other old buildings in the area. And the 17 dining tables they made out of old hardwood floors. Then, they left the new ductwork exposed and added a stainless-steel-and-granite-top bar for a sleek, industrial contrast.
The menu in the Natty Boh Lounge is different from that downstairs, according to Petty. Think upscale pub food - appetizers like crab dip ($9.75), fresh mozzarella caprese ($7.95) and clams casino ($7.95).
Salads include Greek salad ($6.95), field greens and goat cheese ($7.25) and a trio of shrimp, tuna and chicken salads on a bed of lettuce with crackers, cukes and tomatoes ($9.25).
There are entrees like chicken marsala ($13.95), filet mignon with asparagus and a choice of baked or mashed potatoes ($23.95), lobster ravioli tetrazzini ($19.95) and two 6-ounce jumbo lump crab cakes with baked potato or french fries and a vegetable ($26.95).
And that's just the second floor. Petty and Alfred are hoping to have the third-floor lounge opened this weekend. That's where you'll find stuffed chairs and couches, and another bar. You can order a nice bottle of wine or cappuccino.
But the only food served on the third floor is dessert. While the entire second floor is nonsmoking, you can smoke on the third. Smoke eaters will keep the secondhand stuff from bothering those below.
Petty adds: "One friend of mine described Canton Station and the Natty Boh Lounge like this: Downstairs is like Highlandtown, the second floor is like Canton and the third floor is like Federal Hill!"
You'll find the Natty Boh Lounge and Canton Station, 410-327-2004, at 1028 S. Conkling St. Natty Boh's hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday; and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.
News to crow about
Fans of the Rooster Cafe near Columbia will notice a few changes there. Chef Mark Schek and his wife, Deborah Corbett, have bought out their former partner and expanded the menu.
"I had a limited menu with four appetizers, four entrees and four desserts. And if you came here several times within a month or two, [there was a good chance] you would have eaten through everything I offered," Schek says.
Now, he's offering about eight appetizers, 10 entrees and six or seven desserts, some of them using pricier ingredients and more elaborate preparations. For examples, check out the New Year's Eve menu at roostercafe.com.
The menu isn't the only change planned. Schek and Corbett plan to improve the interior and exterior as well as create a private dining room in the back of the restaurant.
The Rooster Cafe is located at 6590 Old Waterloo Road, right off Route 108, near Columbia. Its hours are 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Lunch is available by reservation only, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.
If you have information regarding a local restaurant's opening, closing or major changes, please e-mail that information to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to 410-675-3451.