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Bmore Media reports a Baltimore chef who has worked for the Wine Market and Fleet Street Kitchen is opening a casual contemporary restaurant in an industrial building on the edge of Little Italy.

Omar Semidey says he anticipates that By Degrees Café will appeal to young professionals in the neighborhood and in neighboring Harbor East when it opens early summer in the old Fallsway Spring building at 415 S. Central Ave.

The 1,350-square-foot restaurant will serve soup, salads and sandwiches for lunch and half a dozen entrees for dinner. By Degrees will serve lunch at the counter and employ wait staff for dinner.

Semidey says he wants to offer a small, intimate dining experience for diners who want an alternative to the many massive, swanky eateries in tony Harbor East. By Degrees will seat 50 in the dining room and another six at the bar. Baltimore City’s liquor board has yet to schedule a hearing date for the restaurant’s liquor license.

He describes By Degrees as a “third-day” restaurant. When you have a friend in town, you take him somewhere nice the first day. The second day you cook dinner at home. And the third day you’re ready to eat out again, but some place that offers “solid food that doesn’t break the bank.” Most entrees at By Degrees will cost less than $15 and desserts will cost around $5 and sandwiches under $10.

Brick chicken — or chicken cooked in the oven and weighted down with a brick — is an example of the kind of food By Degrees will serve.

“The goal is not to revolutionize the culinary landscape, but shift it by degrees,” Semidey says.

Semidey is working with a silent business partner, whom he declined to name. He also declined to say how much he and his business partner will spend on the restaurant, to be financed with cash.

The building’s developer Larry Silverstein is responsible for refurbishing several other properties in East Baltimore, including the Union Box Co. and the Holland Tack Factory, home of Heavy Seas Ale House and My Thai.

Writer: Julekha Dash, Bmore Media

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