Palmere’s, at 1018 Eastern Avenue, opened in April in the building that used to be Dego Dame’s and before that, Antney’s, and continues their friendly, down-to-earth tradition.
It maintains the same homey corner-bar vibe that its two predecessors had, and it’s quickly becoming a favorite neighborhood hangout. Palmere’s is the burger-and-wing joint in a pasta-and-red-sauce neighborhood, and the neighbors appreciate it.
Mike Palmere is the owner, and, on most days, your host, mixologist and waiter. He’s friendly, he’s from around here (Highlandtown, to be exact) and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of sports, at least sports as they relate to Baltimore. We spent a pleasant hour eating bar snacks and chatting about the Orioles, who had just broken the Red Sox’ hearts the night before.
“That made the season,” said Mike.
Us too. Of course, we agreed that it wasn’t much of a season.
We sampled some fried pickles during a discussion of the bullpen (clear ‘em all out except for Jim Johnson) and the pitching staff, a topic which proved to be so befuddling that we changed the subject back to pickles.
“Most places fry the pickle spears but I like the pickle chips,” says Mike. “They’re crisper.”
The pickles were indeed crisp. The sliced pickles are dipped in batter and fried crisp, and come with ranch dressing for dipping. A big basket goes for $4.95.
Then, while we discussed the possibilities for Ravens v. Jets, we tried Palmere’s Italian fries, a house specialty. These were Mike’s recommendation, and he was right, about the Jets’ chances (slim, none) and the fries.
Just about every establishment that dishes up fries has pizza fries and gravy fries and disco fries and cheese fries, but this is the first time we had seen something like Palmere’s Italian Fries.
They’re like this. First you take a mound of fries, and then you top that with sausage, peppers and sweet onions, sauteed and tossed with herbs, Parmesan cheese and a very light tomato sauce. Then you grab a few extra napkins and eat them.
They were great, like pizza fries only way better, and they would have been awesome if the potatoes have been fried crisp.
Alas, it was the middle of a workday so we had Diet Cokes with our bar snacks, but Palmere’s has many nice draft beers to enjoy if you’re not going back to the office, including Guinness, Loose Cannon, National Boh, Blue Moon and Sierra Nevada Pale. Mike rotates the drafts fairly often, so the list may change.
What we did not try, but will go back for, are the meatballs. Palmere’s meatballs have a fine reputation around the neighborhood, and they are available as sliders (three for $7.95) or as subs ($7.95).
Also on the menu are buffalo sliders—buffalo chicken tenders on a bun ($7.50), burgers (eight-ounce, $7.95), wings (10 for $7.50) and other taproom favorites.
Palmere’s, 1018 Eastern Ave., Little Italy, is open every day, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Food is served till 1 a.m. Happy hour goes till 7 on weekdays and till 2 a.m. Sundays. There are food and drink specials every day but Friday and Saturday.
by Jacqueline Watts