View from Federal Hill Park

View from Federal Hill Park
The fantastic skyline as seen from just down the street.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Anna Leventis: a Great Person You Should Know When Traveling to Baltimore

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child.  We have found it also takes a neighborhood to host a traveler. If you are lucky, you might run into some of these great souls when you next come to stay with us and experience why neighborhoods are so very much better than hotels.

In the first of our continuing series on the best people you should know, we introduce you to Anna Leventis.  Anna is the owner and manager of the fantastic restaurant, Sobo Café.  After leaving her career in Health Care/IT a few years ago, she bought the restaurant from the former owner.  Sobo Café has always had a great local following, but its hand written menus had seen better days, as had the dark interior.  The place was in great need of an infusion of vibrant vitality.

In a very short time, Anna and her wonderful fellow Jim have reinvented the place into the perfect neighborhood hang out.  The introduction of live acoustic jazz on Tuesday nights is one great way they have enlivened the place. They have also given it an updated appearance with warm cozy colors and re-imagined the food via an ever changing menu that features nearly everything homemade right down to the stocks, mayonnaise and even the breads and buns that they also sell for locals to take home.  The  
dining is comfort food with a modern twist.

Some of our favorite items are the smoked chicken salad, the BLT on a fresh biscuit and any of their decadent desserts to name but a few.   Jim has followed Anna’s creative lead by concocting an extensive cocktail menu utilizing only beers and wines as the main alcohol ingredients.

Anna’s love of her restaurant is very apparent in everything she does.  Her hobby for years has been food.  Whether reading about it, experiencing it while on her travels or through cooking and entertaining at home, she adores food.  Now her love has subtly shifted from the food itself to her innate ability to make others happy with what is created in her kitchen.  Actually, making her customers and guests happy is her favorite part of the job. 

Her guests’ happiness is rather evident in the numerous awards Sobo Café and Anna have won.  Fifteen Favorite First-Date Restaurants in Baltimore - October 2013 - The Baltimore Sun, Top 10 Restaurant Week Menus - July 2013 - The Baltimore Sun, and the Best of Baltimore Award - August 2012 - Baltimore Magazine are but a few honorable distinctions.
Anna finds inspiration from several sources.  She eagerly tries her fellow restaurateurs’ latest offerings and is always reading up on new food trends and techniques and travels widely to try inspired international fare.  Her favorite items from her own menu change as readily as the seasons do since they cook according to what are locally the freshest ingredients.  Currently on her menu she is a little in love with the Korean Chicken Fried Steak with kimchi collard greens, soy-garlic mashed potatoes and ssamjang gravy.  She also is partial to the Mushroom Stroganoff of house made egg noodles, accompanied by Swiss chard and crème fraiche.  Another favorite is the Seared Salmon with white bean puree, mushroom ragout and spinach finished with a red wine-mushroom jus.

Anna is having yet another love affair with the city of Baltimore itself.  She has always loved the civic pride felt within the city and its' great neighborhoods. Perhaps this is why so many refer to Baltimore as Smaltimore since it feels like a collection of small towns rather than a city. She also loves that you can walk away from the harbor in any direction and are able to explore some beautiful

neighborhood filled with boutiques and shops, taverns and restaurants.  Her favorite time in the city is autumn, when the weather turns crisper after the long hot days of summer, ushering in the abundance of local fruits and vegetables. 

Anna’s most proud of taking the risk to leave her comfortable corporate career to work the many, many long hours in developing a very successful restaurant.  Many of us are also glad she took the chance to follow her childhood dream of being a chef/restaurant owner.  We are certain you will applaud her adventuresome spirit as well from the very first bite you take at Sobo Café.

You can try the food yourself by adding an amazing picnic to your stay with us at Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast, the smae picnics many of our guests have raved about, as created by Sobo Café or just walk the few minutes down the block from our front door to where it is located at 6 W Cross Street, Baltimore, MD,  (Phone: (410) 752-1518). 

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