Table Talk: Brian Boston will take a Highland fling

Brian Boston, executive chef and owner of the Milton Inn, is opening a new restaurant in Highland, an unincorporated community in western Howard County near Clarksville.

A groundbreaking for the "modern-traditional" restaurant, to be called Highland Inn, is scheduled for April 30. The prices, according to Boston, will be lower than those at the Milton Inn, which has established itself as a regional destination restaurant. Located in Sparks in northern Baltimore County, the Milton Inn was recently recognized by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences with its Star Diamond Award.

"I'll still be at the Milton Inn doing my thing," Boston said. "I'll still be here during my normal hours. We will be hiring an executive chef and a front-of-house manager for the Highland Inn."

Highland Inn, Boston said, has been years in the making. Boston first started talking with the owners of the Highland property about four years ago. "The town of Highland has been wanting a full-service restaurant for a long time," Boston said. Plans were moving ahead, Boston said, when the economy took that nose dive. Financing remained a major obstacle but eventually came through.

"It's definitely going to be different," Boston said about Highland Inn. But it will be the same, too, in some ways. Like the Milton Inn, the Highland Inn has acreage to support gardens and tented events. And while the Milton Inn has increasingly turned to its neighboring farms, Highland Inn looks to be a full participant in the farm-to-table movement. Boston said he's pursuing green certification for Highland Inn.

The Highland Inn will be in a 150-year-old farmhouse southwest of the junction of routes 29 and 32.

Alumni News Season 5 "Top Chef" contestant Jill Snyder has a new gig. Snyder has left her chef de cuisine position at Woodberry Kitchen for Clementine. This is Snyder's first executive chef position since leaving Red Maple, shortly after her fleeting November 2008 appearance on "Top Chef."

Snyder's move to Clementine coincides with the promotion of sous chef Jeremy Price, who will be overseeing a new Clementine project at the Creative Alliance, a yet-to-be-named cafe that will operate Thursday through Saturday evenings and Sunday brunch at the Highlandtown arts and cultural center.

"We knew when we were preparing to send Jeremy to Creative Alliance that we would have to find a very talented person to fill his shoes," said Clementine co-owner and founding chef Winston Blick. "So far, Jill has exceeded our expectations in that regard. We are very excited to see what both of these talented chefs do in their new roles."

As for Blick, he'll be overseeing both operations while opening the Green Onion, the long-awaited Clementine side project on Harford Road. The Green Onion will sell local meats (many of which will come from Blick's Genuine Meat Co.), cheeses, eggs and dairy products, along with baked goods, pastas, coffee and homemade stocks from the restaurant.

Trucks and Beer Miss Shirley's was awarded the prize for Maryland's favorite food truck and the Brewer's Art was awarded Craft Beer Program of the Year on April 16 at the Restaurant Association of Maryland's 58th Annual McCormick Stars of the Industry Awards Gala.

The food truck and craft beer categories were new this year. Diners and members of the Restaurant Association of Maryland vote to decide the winners.

Winners in major categories were Jeff Smith of Chameleon Cafe for chef of the year; Baldwin's Station in Sykesville for Maryland's favorite restaurant; and de Lazy Lizard in Ocean City for Maryland's favorite new restaurant. Matthew Milani of the Rumor Mill Fusion Bar & Restaurant in Ellicott City was named restaurateur of the year-

The favorite bar or tavern in the annual voting was Shenanigan's Irish Pub & Grille in Ocean City, and the wine and beverage program of the year was Mr. Rain's Fun House at the American Visionary Art Museum.

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