Ashish Alfred Restaurant ‘No Way Rosé’ Coming to Former ‘Bookmakers’ Space in Federal Hill

| June 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

Chef Ashish Alfred, who owns Duck Duck Goose in Fells Point, is opening a new concept called No Way Rosé at the former Bookmakers Cocktail Club space at 31 E. Cross St. in Federal Hill. Cosmetic renovations are currently underway and Alfred hopes to open No Way Rosé in August or September. Bookmakers closed during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns in March 2020 and never reopened.

Duck Duck Goose is a high-end “modern brasserie” which opened a first location six years ago in Bethesda. It then opened a Fells Point location four years ago, and will be opening a Washington, D.C. location in about six weeks. Alfred said No Way Rosé will have a French menu just like Duck Duck Goose, however the restaurant will be more casual.

Alfred, who grew up in Montgomery County, has been coming to Federal Hill for many years and said the name No Way Rosé is a nod to the former No Way José Café. He said some of his first memories in Baltimore were visits to Fells Point and Federal Hill, and he recalls hanging out at Mother’s Purple Patio and getting memorable crab cakes from Ropewalk.

Alfred was named Chef of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Maryland in 2019. He has competed in Food Network programs Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, and The Kitchen. Southern Living named Duck Duck Goose in Bethesda the Best Restaurant in Maryland in 2017 and the Baltimore location took the nod in 2018.

With a lot of new concepts in Federal Hill, Alfred thinks the neighborhood is ready for his style of restaurant. “I think the palette of Federal Hill is starting to grow up a bit, and it’s time for us to go over there,” he said.

He also praised the quality of businesses in Federal Hill and said that’s one of the first things he looks for when picking a restaurant space.

Alfred is leading a small renovation of the space that will “brighten it up a bit.” The facade has been painted white, changing from a dark gray that was previously in place for Bookmakers. He said a yet-to-be decided mural will all be painted on the storefront, noting it will not be “offensive to anyone.”

As the name indicates, rosé wine will be on the drink menu. Alfred said it will be a very champagne- and wine-forward menu. It will also serve frozen rosé.

Alfred noted it won’t be quite the cocktail bar that Bookmakers was. “It will be a great place to get an old-fashioned, but also a vodka soda or Miller Lite without getting looked at like you have three heads,” he joked.

The food menu is still being worked on, but No Way Rosé will offer dinner, weekend brunch, and likely lunch hours. Alfred noted it will be open as many days as they can while dealing with the current “staffing crisis.”

No Way Rosé will have a bar and seating on both levels. Alfred does not plan on offering outdoor seating at this time.

Alfred said the last 15 months dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has been “awful.” He talked about the heartache of letting employees go and worrying about paying his own mortgage.

“Our expansion is not due to the fact that we are doing incredibly well,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate to find landlords who are very realistic about what the next year or two could look like.”

Alfred gushed about how Baltimore treated Duck Duck Goose during the tough times of the pandemic. “Baltimore diners have been incredibly supportive, very understanding, and very patient,” he said.

He also said that every time he visits the Cross Street area Federal Hill neighbors come up to him and tell him of their excitement for the new restaurant. “We are so excited about being part of this neighborhood,” said Alfred.

This was first reported by the Baltimore Business Journal.

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