WALKING DISTANCE: Bolton Hill Dining Scene is Looking Up

When last we published, the number of places to go for food, drink and cheerfulness in the neighborhood were in decline.

Although old lite-fare favorites like On the Hill Cafe and Park Cafe have been around, along with the newer craft beer bar Brass Tap and its dive bar neighbor Mt. Vernon Tavern were there on Mt. Royal Avenue, the vacancy at the old B Bistro, on Bolton Street, the closing of the Barnes & Noble bookstore with its small coffee shop at the Fitzgerald Apartments and the shutdown not so far away of The Elephant in Mt. Vernon were disconcerting.

But while The Bulletin was away, good things have happened.

Noona’s, which had only just opened on Mt. Royal Avenue near the Brass Tap, has become a fine place for pizza, light dining and good drinks from 5 to 9 p.m. and, starting recently, will feature happy hour drink and food prices after 9 until midnight Thursdays through Saturdays.  Owner Phil Han says that the extended hours are working well and that if they continue to do so, he may add live music to the venue on these evenings come summer weather.

The Tilted Row , a still-shiny and full-service restaurant on the ground floor of the new apartment building at McMechen Street and Eutaw Place, has an attractive “Blue Plate Special” and daily “Chef’s Choice” $20 entrée and dessert features.  The Sun called it an “elegant, welcoming” brasserie that features half-price bottle wines mid-week.

And finally!  After months of anxious anticipation, CookHouse is at last open in the old B Bistro site, with a new look, a full bar and a dinner menu that tips toward Old Europe.  Neighborhood resident and owner George Dailey, who also operates On the Hill, plans eventually to offer all-day service, outdoor seating, a full bar, and a thoughtful carry-out program.

Things are looking up.

by Bill Hamilton