Patch has reached out to local restaurant owners to get the details of their establishments. We've rounded up some interesting tidbits of history as well as what dishes to try.
This week we caught up with Regions on Frederick Road. Here's what you need to know to enjoy your dining experience:
- 805 Frederick Road
- Open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday (5:00 to 9:30 p.m.); Friday and Saturday (5:00 to 10 p.m.); and Sunday (4:00 to 9:00 p.m.); closed Mondays
- Lunch hours begin in May: 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on weekdays
- BYOB; $5 per table, $10 for tables of 6+; liquor license pending
- Reservations are available online through OpenTable; during the week, walk-ins can usually be accommodated, except during the busiest hours (6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday)
- Staff is happy to work with families, vegetarians and those with food allergies to find something suitable for them, though there are no special menus
- Parking availability: At present, limited to the streets of Frederick Road and Mellor Avenue; in the future, 20 public (metered) spaces will be available in the lot behind Catonsville Gourmet
- Catering is done in-house; space can be rented for private events; price varies according to day, time and size of party; call or e-mail to request a quote
- Online reservations are the best way to make sure the restaurant isn’t closed for a private event
What They Do: Small portions of high-quality ingredients from a variety of culinary traditions. It’s close to tapas, in which one diner might order four or more plates; at Regions the staff recommends two to three per person, and a table of eight might come in and order one of everything on the menu.
- Appetizer: Diver Scallop Risotto with caramelized pan sauce ($11)
- Entrée: New Zealand lamb chops: the preparation rotates. Currently it’s a Black and Bleu style; their most popular is pesto with cilantro. ($28 full rack)
- Dessert: Xangos, a sort of deconstructed fried ice cream: banana and cheesecake are rolled in a tortilla shell, fried, rolled in cinnamon sugar, and served with ice cream, caramel and chocolate sauce ($6.50)
- Mad Hatter: pepper-seared filet tips over goat cheese and ratatouille ravioli, finished with roasted garlic pan sauce ($12)
- Grilled Caesar Salad, the favorite of owner Sean Dunworth: Cut a head of Romaine lettuce in half, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, coarse-ground pepper and Montreal Seasoning. On a medium-heat (300-400 degree) grill, grill it cut-side down for 30 seconds, possibly flipping it over for another minute before removing it. “The secret is to getting a good char on it before it gets limp,” he explains.
- Risotto: this is the hardest thing to make on the menu, Dunworth says, because “you can’t walk away from it;” the chef must constantly keep stirring, adding liquid, and checking it, and he can’t make it too far ahead of time because the texture will suffer.
- Tuesday: $10 small-plates specials
- Wednesday: $22 entrée specials
- Thursday: three-course prix-fixe menu for $32
Who’s in Charge: Business partners Sean Dunworth and Rob Rehmert. They both have a strong background in restaurants – Dunworth in the seafood industry and Rehmert as a chef.
Why They’re Here: Dunworth and Rehmert had already opened a successful seafood restaurant, Catonsville Gourmet, which required long hours and wasn’t suitable for private parties. They decided to look for a more quiet, sedate venue that would accept reservations, so when the coffee shop down the street closed, they were able to reopen as a restaurant in just a month.
When they sat down to write the menu, they began listing cooking styles that inspired them, eventually settling on seven: Asian, Cajun, French, Italian, Southwestern, regional Maryland specialties and what Dunworth calls “comfort food.” When the restaurant first opened, it featured one big and one small plate for each category every night; now the menu is a little more fluid, but each cuisine is represented each night in a menu that changes constantly.
Why They Go Local: Dunworth’s background in seafood has taught him that closer means fresher and better-tasting, in addition to more environmentally responsible. During Maryland crab season, the restaurant uses it exclusively; they also get oysters and rockfish from the Chesapeake Bay, scallops and lobster from Ocean City, and summer produce (tomatoes, corn, squash, beans) from local growers. During the rest of the year, they work closely with their distributors to insure they receive the highest-quality ingredients from the closest locale possible.
Why They Love Catonsville: “Catonsville is a place that has a hometown feel to it,” Dunworth says. It also has “great demographics,” and he feels it has been somewhat shortchanged. While neighboring suburbs offer chain restaurants and big-box stores, Catonsville has done a good job of preserving many of its older buildings for modern use. Dunworth hopes his restaurants will be the first of many similar establishments in a revitalized downtown.
Meanwhile, Regions is establishing itself in the community through donations to local schools (Mount de Sales, Catonsville Elementary) and churches (St. Mark’s, St. Agnes) and organizations (the Rolling Hills Women’s Club.) “We try to help out customers who are loyal,” Dunworth says. “People want a good meal for a good value and good service, so they come here. We appreciate everybody who’s supported us; they keep us motivated, and while this isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world, it’s really a pretty fun thing to do, too.”