Heating Up: May and June It's going to be one sweet summer.

By Martha Thomas and Kimberly Uslin



Wheel Deal
With improved infrastructure, an increase in protected bike lanes and the proliferation of groups like Bike Maryland and Bikemore, Baltimore is becoming a safer and more inviting city for cyclists. That’s good news for all of us, of course—but especially for Marla Streb, a world-champion mountain biker and owner of Handlebar Cafe, Charm City’s first bicycle bar and restaurant. The Harbor East eatery is open from breakfast to dinner and beyond, with a bike shop in the back and handy racks for cyclists to store their wheels while grabbing a carb-and-protein packed burrito before a big ride. The airy industrial space is home, too, to plenty of appealing features for non-pedalers: a full bar with lots of local brews on drafts (adorably, the taps are made of bike handles), a wood-fired pizza oven and a state-of-the-art espresso machine, to name a few. 511 S. Caroline St. 443-438-7065. handlebarcafe.com

Sweet Simplicity
In case you were wondering, Clementine never technically closed. The homey Hamilton spot decommissioned its dining room to focus on catering and give owners Winston Blick and Christin Dadant a breather. “But it felt weird walking into the restaurant and nobody was there,” says Blick. Now the husband-wife team has reopened “to focus on what we do well,” says Blick. And that means “going back to our roots.” Blick is all about simplicity now. “I’m never doing foam again, or throwing as many baby vegetables on a plate as I can,” says the chef. Blick has sifted through recipes from his early days at the Sobo Café (“all comfort food”) and even reached back to his ancestors’ history as Eastern Shore watermen. “We’re really moving backwards in time. It feels like a rebirth of sorts.” Fresh fish, pot pies and meatloaf are menu staples. “I’ll never take meatloaf off the menu,” says Blick, who was featured with the dish on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. “People come from all over for the meatloaf.” After all, he says, with Baltimore’s restaurant scene continuing to expand, “there’s a whole lot of talented people out there doing everything else. We don’t need to do everything to be Clementine. We just need to do what we do well.” 5402 Harford Road, clementinebaltimore.com

 

Ace in the Hole
If you’re looking for a sweet nibble around Harbor East, look no further than Charm City Cakes’ new shop, barely larger than a Duff Goldman fondant-coated tiered masterpiece. The new space, the first brick-and-mortar spin-off of the Ace of Cake’s Remington headquarters, sells buttercream-frosted confections, dense chocolate brownies, melt-in-your-mouth macarons and more. “It was a good time to expand,” says Executive Chef Geof Manthorne, Goldman’s partner and fellow TV personality. “People don’t necessarily want to make the trek” to Remington. So the downtown shop will double as a quick dessert stop and a place for Food Channel fans to get their rush. The magic will still be spun in Remington, however, where a Styrofoam replica of the Empire State Building—which topped Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday cake—serves as a reminder of how cool the cake business can be. Manthorne got to attend Bennett’s party at the Rainbow Room in New York. Sweet. 618 President Street, charmcitycakes.com

Sehr Gut
There’s certainly no drought of draughts in Federal Hill, but a new German biergarten on Cross Street aims to bring some authenticity to the South Baltimore beer scene. CrossBar, the brainchild of Ryleigh’s Oyster owner Brian McComas and business partners Leho Poldmae and Josh Foti, promises a “full German menu”: brisket, sausages, pretzels and more, with 10 to 12 German brews and four to six local craft beers on draft at any given time. Though lacking the outdoor component traditionally associated with beer gardens, Crossbar mimics the atmosphere with exposed brick walls, long wooden tables (imported from Germany) and a living tree brushing the ultra-high glass ceiling—making it the perfect place to kick back and watch Bayern München kick ass. Prost! 18 E. Cross St. 410-528-1186

 

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