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Pure Wine Cafe in Ellicott City, Owner P.J. Strain, Chef Kevin Brother, and Sommelier Mark Bowman with a New Expansion and Patio


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The Pure Wine Cafe is one of many places that we enjoyed, but rarely found ourself revisiting.

Now is the time to eat there again -- especially if you can try their new patio in the fleeting nights of the year when we can eat outside.

Pure Wine started as a tiny place on Main Street in Ellicott City.  Small plates.  Good wines.  But such a tiny space that they didn't take reservations, and it often took second place to restaurants where we knew that we could get parking and a seat.

Now, they've blown through a wall and spread upstairs into a second dining room and a stone patio overlooking Main Street.  It's beautiful space and -- like the new patio at Portalli's -- a real reason to explore downtown Ellicott City.

IMG_6127.JPG The patio.

Pure Wine has always had a fun kitchen.  A small, seasonal menu of maybe a dozen items.  On Sunday nights, some dishes even sell out because they only buy what they expect to use.  It's also a fun joint.  We arrived on one of those Sunday nights when all the outdoor seats were filled.  The hostess set us up on two chairs a few steps above the patio.  We drank wine and a cider from Millstone Cellars in Monkton, then slid into a table once one opened.

We missed some sliders that looked terrific, but we ate well.  A salad with spinach, peaches and goat cheese.  Some fish tacos.  And a terrific charcuterie plate headlined by salami and an amazing blue cheese.  The cheese was creamy with a blue flavor, but milder so that it went well with everything else on the plate.

Sitting outside gives a new feel to Pure Wine.  You overlook the Old Columbia Pike intersection.  It's almost a city feel.  The entire new space is modern.  A sleek bathroom.  A wine cellar built into the bedrock with glass walls so that you can see inside as you walk upstairs.  A new second-floor dining room where 10 people were watching a pair of guitar players perform while we ate.  With original bar on the first floor, you now have three really different options -- and they take reservations.

When we were there, the Pure Wine folks were talking about heaters to extend the season.  It's all new. They're figuring it out.

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