At Last: Avam Is Getting A New Restaurant


August 19, 2009|By ELIZABETH LARGE

When I asked Bill Buszinski what kind of food his new restaurant was going to serve, I thought at first he said, "iconoclastic cuisine."

What he actually said was "Americana classic cuisine," but iconoclastic food might be just right for his new venue, the quirky American Visionary Art Museum. After more than three years, the space once occupied by the Joy America Cafe has a new tenant. This is very good news.

One possible glitch: The cafe's liquor license was allowed to expire, but Buszinski and his wife Maria are in the process of applying for a new one. They are the former owners of the offbeat, now-closed Sputnik Cafe in Crownsville.

The Buszinskis are renovating the Joy America space now, and are hoping to open by late fall. Buszinski told me they won't be using the old name but still haven't decided on a new one. Their and the museum's first choice, Fun House, turned out to be trademarked.

The museum has been slow - or careful, depending on your point of view - in picking a new tenant.

"We first met them," said AVAM spokesman Peter Hilsee, "as participants in our annual Kinetic Sculpture Race (participating this year as "Air Cosmonauts"), so we know them to be clever, adventurous and fun-loving. Our kind of people!"

While little has been nailed down as far as the new restaurant's menu is concerned, expect it to be eclectic and innovative. Maria Buszinski is from the Philippines, and chicken relleno (stuffed chicken) and lumpia, a Filipino-style chicken and shrimp spring roll, will be signature dishes. Buszinski, who is also the chef, said that his specialty is seafood.

Prices will be reasonable, with lunch items ranging from $6 to $10 and dinner entrees from $15 to $20. A cheaper "Starving Artist Plate," in the spirit of the museum, will also be available.

It looks like the cafe will open at 10 a.m. to accommodate museum visitors and stay open until 9 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays, till 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It will be closed on Mondays, when AVAM is.

Hampden moves : Gran o, the tiny pasta bar that Gino Troia opened in Hampden at 1031 W. 36th St., will be moving to new and larger quarters, possibly in September but more probably in October. It's taking over the space vacated earlier this summer by Dangerously Delicious Pies Savory House at 3547 Chestnut St.

Julie Padilla, Troia's partner, promised the same menu with some additions, such as simple appetizers like roasted peppers, olives and cheese. There will also be more daily specials. But the new place will still be BYOB.

"Customers like it," Padilla said.

Once Grano goes, Susan Yannetti and her chef Marta Quintana will move in. They are opening Havana Road, where they will make a line of artisanal Cuban sauces to be sold at gourmet shops and supermarkets like Whole Foods.

"We'll maybe also do a couple of sandwiches and daily specials for carryout," Yannetti said, "if we can determine that we can do both." The pressed Cuban sandwich, she added, is "our calling card."

The two are working around Grano's hours to get the place ready to open. "We're doing a tiny bit of remodeling in a tiny space."

Indian food in Columbia : Sometimes it's hard to keep Indian restaurant names around here straight. I had heard good things about India Delight (McGaw Plaza, 410-381-1111) in Columbia, but didn't realize it was new this summer until recently.

The chef/owner is Jasvinder Singh, with 22 years' experience running restaurant kitchens and 15 years owning restaurants. His former establishments were Mughal Garden in Baltimore, India Palace in Cockeysville and Bombay Dining in Bethesda.

India Delight serves both northern and southern Indian cuisine, with tandoori dishes a specialty.

At lunchtime, customers can order from the menu or choose the buffet ($9.95 on weekdays and $10.95 on weekends). The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch. Dinner hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weeknights; till 11 p.m. on weekends.

The Deal of the Week

Where: : The Milton Inn, 14833 York Road, Sparks

The Deal: : 6-ounce filet mignon with bearnaise sauce or lobster tail and two side dishes for $25, plus 25 percent off any bottle of wine

When: : Sunday through Friday, through Aug. 31

Call: : 410-771-4366

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