Local chef Craig Brown and owner Anna Simms are planning to open 8trium Bar & Grill (1623 E. Baltimore St., facebook.com/8triumbar), offering locally sourced Louisiana Cajun-Creole cuisine with a Baltimore flair in the Washington Hill neighborhood. They hope to be open by the end of the year, with seating for about 75 guests.
The Liquor Board yesterday approved a Class B beer, wine, and liquor license for the restaurant, pending the written consent of a church within 300 feet of the space. Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth, executive secretary of the board, said she had spoken with the church's pastor and learned the church agreed to sign the necessary forms.
A sample menu includes American fare such as soups, salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, and homestyle sides, as well as Cajun Creole-influenced dishes such as Louisiana blue crab cakes—lump crabmeat with onions, bell peppers, celery, Old Bay seasoning, golden-fried or pan-seared with a lemon bordelaise.
The menu also features an array of Southern-style seafood, such as catfish and shrimp, and Cajun Andouille sausage with red beans and rice. Other notable offerings include a selection of po-boys and an option to create your own speciality steak.
The drinks list will feature a selection of local beers and wines.
Brown, formerly of Prime Rib, has 20 years of experience under his belt, including stints at the Rusty Scupper, Bill Bateman's, and Polo Grill. Brown and Simms decided on Creole cuisine together, but Simms, with no prior restaurant experience, concedes that Brown and her team of employees have all the expertise.
With Washington Hil's proximity to Johns Hopkins Hospital and downtown, Simms and Brown see the neighborhood as a prime spot for a restaurant. They plan to hire from the neighborhood, as well as have a small outside herb garden from which the community can do tastings.
"Being able to have a community come over and do some tastings, some learning as well, is something that the chefs, the owners have made a commitment to as well," says Brown.