When I travel to Annapolis, Maryland, I always try to fit in a visit to one of my favorite restaurants in the area, Vin 909, right over the bridge from Annapolis in scenic Eastport. Vin 909 is a farm-to-table, small-plate restaurant housed in a charming cottage and has a warm and inviting atmosphere. It is always packed, with an overflow of expectant diners waiting for tables while sipping wine in the lovely garden in front. The crowd lines up before opening time to be sure to get a table at the first seating.
As described in their own website:
“Vin 909 Winecafé is built on family history, and passion for food, wine and beer. The name “Vin” means wine in French and also defines the vintage feel of our inviting setting in the eclectic neighborhood of Eastport, an enclave located in Annapolis, Maryland. Our restaurant is approachable, local and a reminder of the comfortable, inviting dining experiences we have loved. Whether you are enjoying the culinary artistry with a view into our exhibition kitchen, a glass of wine or craft beer, or sharing a hand-formed brick oven fired pizza on the patio in the spring; 909 Bay Ridge Avenue is a place where you can come home again, and again. Just like we did.
After 18 years away from the East Coast, Alex; Owner and General Manager, and Justin; Executive Chef came home again bringing their combined experience in California’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, and their family roots in Italy and New England. Having acquired lifelong restaurant experience; Alex and Justin both draw from their extensive knowledge to fuel their passion for culinary creativity, and hospitality. Alex and Justin both strive to provide more than just a place to eat. Rather they present a personal, distinctive experience to the local community, and travelers alike.
Our food is American, with many ingredients sourced from local, organic purveyors. Our influences and roots include Mediterranean, coastal Californian, and New England cuisines. All combined to create the seasonally fresh, American cuisine that is unique to Vin 909. Our approach is the European ideal of smaller, more frequent meals. Whether simple or delicious; at Vin 909, meals are meant to be shared. Please join us and experience the culinary flavors, and warm hospitality that awaits you at Vin 909 Winecafé.” http://vin909.com/about-us-html/
Vin 909 does not take reservations for dinner, but it is often possible to walk in and eat at the open-seating bar without a wait. The seating on the right of the bar is the chef’s counter, with a front-seat view of tall the action in the open kitchen–my favorite spot when dining solo or with my son.
Vin 909 has a varied menu of many creative small plates, but my focus here is on the exceptionally thin and crispy, and inventive brick-oven pizza– unlike any pizza I have had anywhere.
On our latest visit, my son and I had just finished a long and victorious day of football at the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Go Navy!) We had skipped the post-game tailgate in favor of a great meal at Vin 909.
When we arrived, there was indeed a wait, so we put our names in and left to change out of our football clothes. Within just a few minutes after we left, the restaurant texted us that a table was ready for us, so we hurried back to claim it. The host guided us toward the back patio, which is a very nice place to sit, but on the way we luckily spotted two available seats at the chef’s counter and ended up in our favorite spot in the restaurant!
Our luck continued, as the soup of the day was vegan butternut squash–perfect for the beginning of autumn.
We also had some of their amazing hot crusty bread and a side of warm mixed olives and almonds.
All of the small plates on the menu looked great, but we had come specifically for the pizza. My son ordered the special pizza of the day, with meat and cheese (which I forgot to photograph before he polished it off) and then we ordered another pizza, half for me and half for him. The kitchen was very accomodating to allow us to do the ultimate half-and-half, with one side meaty and cheesy, and the other with their wild mushroom special toppings–but vegan–no cheese ! It looked like they took great care not to mingle the two sides.
This was the most amazing thin, crispy, and light pizza! I am going to try and recreate the mushroom pizza, so look forward to my Pizza at Home Recipe post.
As the name implies, Vin 909 stocks a vast selection of wines, both by the glass and the bottle, all at very reasonable prices. Our waiter recommended a crisp Italian white wine that we shared to complete our pizza feast.