In Mount Vernon, Dooby's to open Saturday in the Park Plaza building

Dooby's will be opening on Saturday, Oct. 26, according to owner Phil Han.

The 75-seat eatery will occupy the ground-level space in the Park Plaza building that was once home to Indigma, one of the casualties of a December 2010 fire that swept through the building.

Han said he gets asked a lot whether Dooby's will be a cafe or a restaurant.

"We tell people we're a cafe-restaurant," Han said. "I think we are a little bit different. We're trying to introduce a new category to Baltimore. If you come in at night, you'll have the option of coming in by yourself, or a group of friends, just to have a beer or hot tea with a daily pastry, but you can order a full dinner from the menu, too."

So if you want to stop with tea and a pastry, that's fine with Han. "Our space is designed to look less like a morning cafe and more like a restaurant," he said. "But no one will be forcing you to spend a ton of money just because you grabbed a seat."

Folks have already gotten to know something about Dooby's, though. Back in July, Han opened a preview version of Dooby's in a smaller, lower-level space within the Park Plaza that he is leasing and that he calls The Hatch.

On the same day Dooby's moves up to its permanent home, Han will turn The Hatch over to a contemporary home-decor firm named Zestt, the first in what he says will be series of temporary, or pop-up, tenants.

The menu at Dooby's will be a significant expansion of what's being offered in the preview space. "It will be a much more grown-up version than what we're doing in the Hatch." Han has recently brought on David Mathie Bersch as chef de cuisine. Katie Boyts, whose savory scones, sticky buns and Fruity Pebbles cookies have already found a following in the preview version at The Hatch, remains as Dooby's pastry chef.

Having a preview space, something of a novelty for Baltimore, worked out well, Han said. "We used that as an opportunity to find out what people were looking for and used that as feedback for developing our main space."

Dooby's will be open at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends. It will stay open until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until midnight on Friday and Saturday and 9 p.m. on Sunday.

A new dining option The Gathering, Baltimore's traveling food truck rally, is meeting twice this weekend, on Friday at the Inner Harbor's West Shore Park as part of the Waterfront Partnership's Fall Fling event, and on Saturday, as part of the Great Halloween Lantern Parade & Festival at Patterson Park.

It will be business as usual at those events. Hungry diners will find a truck that's selling something they like.

But at the Nov. 1 Gathering on McHenry Row, the event's producers are introducing a new wrinkle that might be made into a semi-permanent thing if it goes well — a VIP option.

For $35, you will be able to eat all you want and for $50 you can do that and drink all the top-shelf liquor you want as well. Either way, you'll be doing it in tented VIP seating. A certain number of trucks will be serving the general population attending the McHenry Row Gathering. Six other trucks will be dedicated to the VIP tent.

"Think of it as two Gatherings in one," said Damian Bohager, who produces the food truck rallies.

The Gathering at McHenry Row is from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the VIP portion is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information about upcoming Gatherings or to buy VIP tickets for the McHenry Row event, go to The Gathering website at

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