Wine bar open in Federal Hill


Full Moon renovations begin

December 26, 2007|By ELIZABETH LARGE

At last. Junior's Wine Bar (1117 S. Charles St., 410-727-1212) in Federal Hill has finally opened where Vespa used to be. It's Vespa on steroids - double the size and double the seating, with room for 114 customers if you count the bar stools.

Co-owner Jeff Minderlein describes it as a comfortable space, done in earthy tones with lots of wood, red brick floors, brown leather couches in the lounge and African rosewood bar tops.

Obviously, the emphasis is on wine, but it's an affordable emphasis, with an eclectic list divided into Old World and New World reds and whites. Bottles range in price from $20 to $59, and there are 18 to 20 wines by the glass available at any given time, priced from $5 to $8.50.

"They are good-tasting wines at a good price," says Minderlein, "and there's not much you'll find in a retail store."

The kitchen, meanwhile, is overseen by Mike Russell, who produces a seasonal menu with dishes like fennel sambuca-cured salmon with Cerignola olive bruschetta; pork shank with a sweet-potato-and-carrot mash, and a fennel-and-apple relish; and house-made lobster ravioli with a roasted red-pepper-tomato sauce and a fennel-parsley salad. Nothing is priced more than $20.

Update on Full Moon --Louisiana's John Saki finally got the permit he needed a couple of weeks ago to proceed with his plans for the Full Moon Saloon next door to his restaurant at 1710 Aliceanna St. in Fells Point. The renovations started the same day, and he's hoping to open his live jazz and blues club and restaurant in about three months.

"I'm struggling with the name," he said. "We're debating whether to run a contest for ideas. I wish we could come up with something better, but we'll probably end up staying with Full Moon."

If you have any suggestions, give him a call at Louisiana.

Closings --Closings are tricky to report, because there's usually no one to talk to. But it looks as if Petalo's in Little Italy and the owners' other restaurant, the Afghan Kebab downtown, are gone. If they reopen, I'll let you know.

Call Phat Pug Coal Fired Pizza in Perry Hall, and you'll get the message that the phone is "temporarily disconnected."

The Admiral's Cup in Fells Point has closed because the lease was up and the building is being sold. Sun columnist Dan Rodricks tells me there's a sign outside saying everything is for sale "except my Mom and my dog."

And in the never-opened department, Joe Squared Pizza owner Joe Edwardsen says his plans to open a satellite spot in an undisclosed location have fallen through.

Changing places --Maybe when Michael Tabrizi reopened his Mediterranean restaurant Tabrizi's earlier this year at 500 Harborview Drive, he should have called it Michael Tabrizi's. He's had members of a party end up at Tiburzi's Cafe in Canton, while people with reservations at Tiburzi's have wound up at his restaurant by mistake.

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, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278.

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