Although chef Saon Brice has spent the previous 20 years creating his ardour for cooking—working beneath native greats like Linwood Dame of Linwoods and Kevin Miller of Copper Kitchen—he admits that meals wasn’t his old flame.
“To be sincere, it was really music,” he says. “I grew up as a drummer, so my old flame was studying and enjoying music. Then in the future I began working in a kitchen washing dishes. I might see the pastas and totally different plates popping out and be like, ‘Oh man, that appears good.’ That turned me right into a prep cook dinner, then I began coaching on the road, after which all the sudden I used to be working my very own station.”
After years spent climbing the ranks within the native eating and catering scene (Brice ultimately grew to become the manager catering chef at Linwoods, the place he labored for greater than 15 years), the West Baltimore native is now getting ready to step into a task that may fuse his love of cooking together with his deep appreciation for native music, arts, and tradition.
Come spring, Brice will head up his personal kitchen as the manager chef of BLK Swan—a social spot with an “city elevated” vibe that’s taking up the previous residence of Cava Mezze on Fleet Avenue in Harbor East.
Highlighting a New American menu, curated cocktail program, live music by resident DJs on Friday and Saturday nights, and partitions that exhibit native paintings, the restaurant and lounge is aiming to offer a center floor between the town’s extra informal bars and swanky fine-dining spots.
“We wish folks to know that we’re a trendy, elegant institution,” Brice says, “but additionally a spot the place you possibly can come and have a good time.”
Celebrating Attraction Metropolis tradition is a large a part of the restaurant’s mission, in response to Brice and homeowners with the Outkrowd Restaurant Group. One of many many ways in which the group pays homage to space traditions is thru the menu, which is able to characteristic refined takes on native delicacies. (Diners can look ahead to Brice’s crab muffins, in addition to cheesesteak spring rolls impressed by metropolis carryouts.)
Although the complete menu is being saved beneath wraps till the opening, Brice teases different choices like honey-glazed salmon, entire branzino, and lamb chops. Weekend brunch service will even be a spotlight, and the group plans to have reside DJs—together with native favorites DJ Impulse and DJ P-Drama—spinning all through the day for teams that need to stick round for afternoon drinks.
The “city elevated” theme will even translate to the 130-seat inside, which is able to juxtapose authentic concrete flooring with velvet banquettes, candelabra chandeliers, artsy Instagram backdrops, and a mixed-media gallery wall that presents work from native artists.
Moreover, BLK Swan will boast a non-public eating space, 16 seats outdoors, and its personal adjoining carryout area the place diners will have the ability to seize bites like a breakfast sandwich or salmon BLT on the go. Brice is grateful to have the ability to supply this feature, particularly because the pandemic wears on.
“We’ve got a particular carryout menu that may enable our company to nonetheless get a style of who we’re, even when they’re uncomfortable eating in in the mean time,” he says.
After all, the restaurant will adhere to all COVID-19 restrictions and implement a well being screening program for workers along with the grand opening in Could. However, wanting forward, the group is worked up for diners to totally expertise the idea when it’s secure.
“The black swan concept is described as an occasion that got here as a shock and had a significant affect,” Brice explains. “That’s precisely what we wish. We wish folks to return in and be shocked. We need to have a significant affect on their lives, and on Baltimore.”
The homeowners hope that their presence is felt not solely throughout the eating panorama, but additionally by the group at massive. They’re wanting ahead to internet hosting every thing from vacation toy drives to cooking lessons and fundraisers benefiting neighborhood organizations.
For Brice’s half, he’s excited to make use of his meals as a approach to formally introduce himself to the Baltimore eating scene.
“I’m most enthusiastic about bringing who I’m to Baltimore, and permitting my metropolis to expertise that,” he says. “Arising beneath management like Linwoods and Copper Kitchen put me ready the place I wished to be one with an organization. Now that I’ve a spot of my very own, it’s far more private.”