By Kathy Chouteau
The Black Star pirates are coming to The Point, but instead of bringing BBQ, this time they’re bearing treasures of Southern comfort-style cuisine.
Chef Tony Carracci and his partner, Miss Suzie, of the Black Star Pirate BBQ at Point San Pablo Harbor, are launching a dining and music spot called Baltic Kiss. A tentative Grand Opening is set for Fri., Aug. 12 at the venue’s location in the historic Baltic Building at 135 Park Place in Point Richmond.
Chef Tony—whose father hailed from New Orleans—said he’s signed a 20-year lease on the location and created the new eatery’s Southern comfort-style menu with personal recipes, while “the beautiful Miss Suzie” designed the nearly 3,000 square foot space.
Baltic Kiss’s menu will feature Southern delights like “sugar grits, chicken and waffles, smothered pork chops, gumbo, blackened steak, blackened red fish…all that good stuff,” said Chef Tony. As the former owner of San Francisco’s Cha Cha Cha restaurant/nightclub, which served a Cuban/Caribbean menu, Chef Tony said that “he really excels at Southern style foods” and that they’re “just my style” re: why he went this route with his latest eatery.
Music inside-and-out is also planned for Baltic Kiss, spanning all genres and maybe even some comedy nights, per Chef Tony. Amid Miss Suzie’s eclectic, bohemian décor featuring bright, bold colors and patterns, chandeliers and eye-popping artwork, a small stage (with a sound system from Yoshis) is situated in a larger room indoors for bands at night. Outside, a 1,500 square foot deck offers another spot for music on weekends, while doubling as the main dining area. Other whimsically decorated side rooms with high top tables and a full bar near the front entrance add a collective exclamation point to the venue’s array of offerings.
“I would love to do some blues, rock & roll, Cajun and zydeco—it doesn’t really matter to me,” said Chef Tony about Baltic Kiss’ musical lineup. “I love music.” And as for his wife’s design chops, he added, “Major props to the beautiful Miss Susie; she makes it pretty and awesome [and] never gets a bad review. She makes every space special.”
According to Chef Tony, he wasn’t even thinking about starting a new restaurant until the owner of the Baltic Building wandered into Black Star and mentioned he had space available that he thought would be perfect for them.
“I said, well, give me the keys and let me just come in and meditate for two or three days and I’ll let you know,” said Chef Tony to the building owner. “I did, and I fell in love with the place and we just started building it out,” he added about deciding to launch Baltic Kiss.
So where does the name Baltic Kiss come from? “We were thinking about calling the Baltic Star or Black Baltic or Baltic Black, and then I was just sitting around one day thinking about the world and everything going on—and I wanted it to be less harsh,” said Chef Tony. He pondered what name would be less harsh and thought: Baltic Kiss. “It’s sweet and nice…Everybody likes to kiss,” he said.
It turns out Miss Suzie and her friend and colleague Kelsey Wood are cooking up their own plans for Baltic Kiss’ basement. A concept is being developed for a possible vintage clothing store called “Queen of the Underground”—a nod to a Rolling Stones’ song Dead Flowers—to potentially open in September, per Wood.
“Richmond is up-and-coming, man,” said Chef Tony about his decision to expand here with Baltic Kiss and other plans that are afoot. “I just feel happy to be part of it.”
When it launches, Baltic Kiss can be found in the Baltic Building at 135 Park Place in Point Richmond. Business hours are tentatively set for 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily, with the possibility of opening up earlier on weekends as plans are finalized.
A website will be forthcoming here; community members can also follow the business on Instagram at @baltic_kiss as its opening preparations develop.