Money Woes Threaten Steakhouse

Table Talk

Landlord Locks The Doors On Jordan's In Ellicott City

Reopening Is Iffy

August 26, 2009|By ELIZABETH LARGE

A couple of weeks ago in my Table Talk column I wrote about oZ. Chophouse in Maple Lawn closing. It wasn't all bad news, however, because it was being taken over by Jordan Naftal of Jordan's Steakhouse in Ellicott City and Carlos Venegas of Ranazul in Maple Lawn. The new place would be named Carlos and Jordan's Steakhouse.

Then came the surprising news last week that the landlord had locked Naftal out of his Ellicott City restaurant for failing to pay the rent.

"Monday morning while I was working at the new location getting it ready," Naftal told me, "I found out from a prep cook that the landlord illegally locked us out. I spent the rest of the last 36 hours talking with employees, vendors, the landlord, prospective investors, the bank, friends and relatives."

Then a story appeared in the Howard County Times detailing other financial problems. Naftal said he was still hoping to work things out with the landlord and reopen, but that now seems less likely.

Meanwhile, he and Venegas continue to work on the new Maple Lawn location.

"We ... look forward to opening in Maple Lawn this November," Naftal said.

Lenny's not going anywhere : Last week the Jewish Museum of Maryland and the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore sent out a news release saying they had bought the property on Corned Beef Row where Lenny's Delicatessen is. Unfortunately, the release didn't say that Lenny's still has five years on its lease and wasn't going anywhere until at least 2013.

I had a nice chat with owner Alan Smith, who cleared up the confusion for me. He's still planning to be on or around Lombard Street even when he has to leave that location, he told me.

Apparently people had been calling, worried about getting their hot pastrami on rye with coleslaw and Russian dressing. The story that ran on The Baltimore Sun's Web site didn't make it clear Lenny's wasn't closing. Smith wanted me to mention that he has recently renovated, with photographs detailing the history of Lombard Street - showing his commitment to the area. The Owings Mills location remains open as well.

Crema Coffee : If you get a chance, stop by today for the reopening of the Hollywood Diner as Crema Coffee Company at the Hollywood Diner at 400 E. Saratoga St. It's a mouthful, I know, but it's a worthy endeavor. The Chesapeake Center for Youth Development runs it, training high-risk young people for jobs in the food service industry.

The new coffee place will offer artisanal sandwiches, specialty coffee drinks, hand-ground burgers and salads.

Hours will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday nights, 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. I'm thinking the early Sunday hours must be because of the nearby farmers market under the viaduct; you could stop by for a coffee and pastry after picking up your local produce.

The Deal of the Week

Where: La Scala, 1012 Eastern Ave., Little Italy

The Deal: Popular dishes for happy hour prices ($3.75-$7.50)

When: Monday through Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Call: 410-783-9209

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