Sweet Peaz Southern Kitchen Opens in Federal Hill

| December 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

Sweet Peaz Southern Kitchen opened this month at 1026 S. Charles St. in Federal Hill. The 4,000 sq. ft. storefront was the former home of Fat Larry’s before it closed in 2017.

Sweet Peaz serves Southern dishes including fried chicken, chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, BBQ ribs, broiled salmon, turkey wings, turkey burgers, oxtails, fried fish, and sides including mashed potatoes, green beans, collard greens, mac and cheese, and candied yams.

Sweet Peaz is open for lunch, dinner, and late-night, and soon will add brunch hours. Sweet Peaz is currently open Tuesday and Wednesday from 12pm to 8pm, Thursday from 12pm to 10pm, Friday and Saturday from 12pm to 2am, and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. Sweet Peaz will offer earlier hours and a brunch menu on Sundays in the near future.

After 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, the late-night menu will focus on turkey burgers, fried chicken, fried fish, shrimp, and french fries.

The building no longer has a liquor license as it was sold to Shoyou Sushi. Sweat Peaz will sell homemade iced tea and lemonade.

Owner Fatimah Ames opened Sweet Peaz to honor her late mother. After high school, Ames tried nursing school and then beauty school, before getting into the clerical side of healthcare. However, Ames was still not completely happy and wanted to go to culinary school. Ames’ mother was concerned about another career change for her daughter, but Ames was sure this is what she wanted to do. Ames’ mother died soon after this decision and Ames was adamant about keeping her promise to her mother of finishing culinary school and naming a restaurant after her mother one day. This is now a reality as Sweet Pea was Ames’ mother’s nickname.

Ames grew up in New York City and Virginia Beach, and her mother is from Alabama and her father is from Eastern Virginia. Ames said Southern cooking was a big part of her household growing up. She carried on that tradition at family functions by cooking her family’s Southern food recipes. One day a friend encouraged her to start doing catering. She followed that advice and eventually opened a small carryout storefront in Harlem called ‘Sea to Soul,’ which was open for a few years starting in 2011.

Ames, who was raising her own three kids along with three younger siblings, moved to Georgia, but soon after wanted to be closer to family and moved to Baltimore where her father had relocated after retiring. Ames finished her business degree last year and currently has a catering business that has moved its operation into Sweet Peaz.

Ames chose Federal Hill because she fell in love with the space at 1026 S. Charles St. Its layout features a kitchen and carryout area in the front and a large two-story dining room in the back, which reminded her of SoHo in New York City. There is a back bar and patio that will not initially be open at Sweet Peaz.

Ames also loves the space because her and her now-husband had their first dance next-door at Nobles two years ago.

Ames renovated the floors and bathrooms in the restaurant space and lined the walls with black and white photos of Baltimore and New York City. Sweet Peaz also honors The Soup Kitchen, which was the former long-time restaurant in the space that was run by Wayne Brokke, who still owns the building.

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Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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