Meli is due soon as third eatery in Thames St. group



First there was the upscale Kali's Court in Fells Point. Then its small-plates bar, Mezze, had great success next door. Now a third restaurant in the group, Meli, is due to open this summer down the street in the Admiral Fell Inn at 1640 Thames St. (No, it's not taking over the space True, the inn's restaurant, occupies.)

Meli, which means "honey" in Greek, is an ambitious project, with more than 6,000 square feet on the ground and basement levels. Theodore Losin, who will be one of the managers, describes it - probably more modestly than it deserves - as a European cafe. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be offered; and prices will be reasonable, somewhere between Kali's and Mezze.

"It's a beautiful space," Losin says. "We've spent a lot of money on it."

DON'T FEEL LIKE COOKING --I've lamented often enough about the lack of places to get good carryout. This should help. Stone Mill Bakery (Green Spring Station, Lutherville, 410-821-1358) is opening its new Gourmet to Go in the former post office next to the bakery. Owner Alfie Himmelrich hopes it will happen next month.

The plans are elaborate. There will be five chef-attended stations: a chopped-salad bar, a station serving fajitas, burritos and soft tacos made with fresh-pressed tortillas; a build-your-own-pizza bar; a create-your-own-dinner station offering fresh seafood and chicken (like Boston Market, only "upscale, all fresh and all natural," says manager Rachel Maw) and a bakery case that also will have milkshakes, Italian sodas and smoothies for the kids.

EATING OUT --Food just tastes better when you can eat it outdoors in a pleasant setting. I was glad to hear that The Grove at Vin (1 E. Joppa Road, Towson, 410-337-0797) is open, weather permitting. This year the patio and lounge is serving the restaurant's full menu. (Last summer offerings were limited.)

This is the real deal, with evergreens, potted plants and a 50-year-old crape myrtle tree. The candlelit patio has hardwood floors; teak-finished, comfortably cushioned seating; handmade ipe-wood tables; umbrellas, of course; and an outdoor bar.

The Grove is open for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner and late-night cocktails seven nights a week.

THE TOP 10 OF EVERYTHING --Every Tuesday is Top 10 Tuesday on my daily restaurant blog at Last week it was my top 10 seafood restaurants. At press time, yesterday's top 10 was going to be Pet Peeves When Eating Out.

The name of the blog is Dining@Large, but don't use the @ sign for "at" when you type in the Web address. Several readers have e-mailed me that they couldn't sign on, and that turned out to be the reason.

Send restaurant news, trends, questions of general interest or observations to me at or fax me at 410-783-2519. Snail mail works, too: Elizabeth Large, The Sun, Box 1377, Baltimore, MD 21278.

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