Today’s column brings plenty of good news for lovers of Latin American food.
In Waverly, a vegan taco truck is putting down roots with its first brick-and-mortar restaurant. And in Highlandtown, the closing of a sushi spot will make way for an eatery specializing in burritos.
I also have updates on changes at No Way Rosé in Federal Hill and a new location for Ledo Pizza.
When Adrian Sushko decided to open a restaurant, he knew it would be in Highlandtown.
The local real estate agent and Highlandtown native wanted to contribute to the growth of his old Southeast Baltimore stamping grounds when he opened Avenue Sushi on Eastern Avenue, right across from the Creative Alliance.
Two years later, Sushko is handing the keys to the kitchen over to another Highlandtown native: his brother.
Avenue Sushi closed on Oct. 16. While business was strong on weekends and on nights when the Creative Alliance was hosting a show, midweek sales “just weren’t enough to meet our expenses,” Sushko said.
“After two years, I just realized sushi’s great and everyone loves our food, but the volume isn’t here throughout the whole week,” he said. “So let’s bring something in that has a greater, broader appeal.”
His brother, Alex Sushko, who recently moved back to Baltimore from California, has an idea to do just that. He plans to transform the former Avenue Sushi space into Mystic Burrito, a casual spot focused on West Coast-style burritos.
The restaurant will serve classic burritos stuffed with carne asada, carnitas or charbroiled chicken, as well as Pacific Island-style options like a Hawaiian steak burrito with teriyaki rib steak, and the Kalua Pig Burrito, packed with Kalua pork braised in banana leaves, Adobo garlic rice, onion rings, slaw and Japanese barbecue sauce.
Mystic Burrito will have vegetarian and seafood options, too, as well as tacos, quesadillas and an assortment of stuffed potatoes and yams. And for early risers, there will be a breakfast burrito with thick-cut bacon, potatoes and eggs enveloped in a flour tortilla with black beans, Monterey Jack cheese and pico de gallo.
Look for the new spot to open before the end of the year.
Kevyn Matthews probably won’t be serving any burritos when he opens his new brick-and-mortar in Waverly.
“I’m not excited about doing burritos” — they can be notoriously tricky to wrap — “so I’m probably going to leave that out,” he says. But the menu at the first nonmobile location of Chihuahua Brothers, Matthews’ vegan Latin American food concept, will have a much-expanded menu featuring tacos, quesadillas, empanadas, tamales and more.
Matthews announced last week that he has leased the former Hip Hop Fish & Chicken space in Waverly and plans to open a Chihuahua Brothers restaurant there. The historic building was once home to the Little Tavern restaurant, and it caught the chef’s eye whenever he shuttled by on trips to Waverly’s Ace Hardware store to pick up tools for improvements to his taco truck. Eventually, he tracked down the owner and worked out a deal to lease the space with plans to buy it.
Matthews, a chef with three decades of experience working in restaurants including José Andrés’ Jaleo, used to own The Dog Chef, a business offering gourmet dog treats and holistic meal plans for pups. During the pandemic, he decided to shift his focus back to human diners, transforming a vintage Cushman Truckster into “Tito the Taco Truck,” a roving purveyor of Mexican street food including tacos and the “Chihuahua Dog,” a spin on the Sonoran dog with plant-based bacon, pinto beans, pico de gallo and guacamole salsa.
All of the dishes at Chihuahua Brothers are vegan: Matthews’ wife is a vegan and he wanted to see if he could make meat- and dairy-free versions of Mexican favorites that she could enjoy.
“It inspired me to create something different, because the vegan market was growing,” he said. “I wanted to make things as tasty as possible so even meat eaters would like it.”
He chose the name “Chihuahua Brothers” in part for its connection to the dog breed (Matthews has a chihuahua) and in part because of its significance as a region in Mexico known for street food. The “brothers” are a reference to his two sons, who he hopes will one day take over the business.
While he gets the brick-and-mortar spot ready for a grand opening, Matthews is moving ahead on his mobile business, too: he has a few appearances for Tito the Taco Truck lined up through the end of the year, including at the Jerry Seinfeld show at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and he plans to add two new trucks to the fleet soon.
Say au revoir to the foie gras, caviar and escargot.
No Way Rosé, a Federal Hill bar and restaurant that offered fine French cuisine, is changing gears. Owner Ashish Alfred says he’s decided to chart a more laid-back course for the eatery.
Get the scoop on that new restaurant, learn about chef changes and discover your favorite new recipe. All your Baltimore food news is here.
When No Way Rosé debuted this spring, “our goal was to open a fine-dining French restaurant in Federal Hill, thinking there were more experienced diners that way that might want something a little bit nicer,” Alfred said. But he found the local crowd was more interested in casual bites.
Alfred shut down No Way Rosé about a month ago for a rebrand of sorts. Though No Way Rosé will keep its name and bright, Instagram-worthy décor, the restaurant will reopen with a new menu of cost-conscious small plates and shareable items like sliders, flatbreads and poutine.
“We thought: why not make something more approachable for the younger demographic that’s down there?” Alfred said. “I think it’s just a study in adaptability.”
No Way Rosé is slated to reopen the weekend of Nov. 4.
Towson residents now have a local spot to grab a slice of Ledo Pizza.
The Maryland chain recently opened its latest restaurant at 1238 Putty Hill Ave., across the street from Calvert Hall High School. Franchisee Jim Robertson says he hopes it can be a “fun, go-to spot for guests to enjoy quality time together over delicious pizza, wings, subs and more.”
The pizzeria is the 76th in Maryland for the chain, founded in Adelphi, Maryland by Bob Beall more than 65 years ago, and the 116th location for Ledo Pizza overall.