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Plenty of Baltimoreans remember Ixia, the flamboyantly decorated restaurant and lounge on Charles Street in Mount Vernon. Others recall Louie’s Bookstore Café, the soothing hangout that preceded Ixia. But most folks’ memories stop there. “People kept coming in and asking about the history of the building,” says Ezra Tilaye, owner of Ware House 518, which replaces his previous restaurant Crème in the same space. Originally a private home, the building became a furniture store called Ware and Company in 1923. (“The restaurant’s name is a pun,” he points out.)

Décor is austere, with distressed wood floors, reclaimed wood tables and cowhide backed booths. Chef Chris Vocci’s menu is Southern fare locally sourced. Crème in Washington, D.C., which Tilaye also co-owns, is a popular soul food spot, but “the concept never caught on in Baltimore,” he says. “I’ll admit when we came here, we didn’t know the city.”

What’s he learned? “Baltimore loves a story—especially loves a story about Baltimore.”

518 N. Charles St. 443-869-3381, warehouse518.com

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