It might be a stretch to say the icing on a cupcake resembles the tip of an obelisk, but we understand if Tracy Rice, founder of the Baltimore Cupcake Company, sees the similarity: it was her great-great-grandfather, Rudolph Jouvenal, who carved the capstone of the Washington monument. "That's where I get my artistic ability," says Tracy, who launched her Locust Point bakery in 2004 and has just recently become a resident of the neighborhood.
As Tracy sees it, Locust Point is on the cusp of the development wave that has made Federal Hill and Canton tony neighborhoods courting residents and new businesses. In fact, Rice's prediction that Locust Point would become "the Georgetown of Baltimore" was one of the major reasons she picked it for her bakery -- the others being the ample parking and the cupcake-craving kiddies attending Francis Scott Key School -- and the development of the Silo Point luxury condominiums and Tide Point business campus have been harbingers of the area's swanky future.
But the current economic slump has slowed the gentrification of Locust Point somewhat, and that's fine with Rice. She loves the "old school" feeling.
"There are generations that still live there that are lucky the taxes have not gone up so much they have to live somewhere else," observes Tracy, who grew up in D.C.'s Maryland suburbs. "I think that's what's charming about it. Basically you have the houses and the park and the fort and a few commercial buildings, but other than that Locust Point's been left exactly how it's always been, whereas other neighborhoods seem to get their makeup completely changed."
Eating it up
Not surprisingly, the Baltimore Cupcake Company, which does equal parts catering and walk-in sales through the E. Fort Street location and a retail-only location in Annapolis, is Rice's pick for a place to satisfy a sweet tooth in Locust Point, as it offers not only cupcakes but brownies, cookies, snowballs, and chocolate-covered Oreos. But even a baker can't live on confection alone, and Rice has her favorite hangouts in the neighborhood.
"Everybody goes to Hull Street Blues for brunch on Sundays," Tracy says of the popular Hull Street hangout. "The food is good and the bar is kind of nostalgic. It's a real neighborhood bar."
For a good dinner, Tracy's favorite is the Wine Market on E. Fort Avenue, which serves up sophisticated American fare. "The food is great, but it's very casual. You can go in and pick out your bottle of wine. I always recommend it."
Tracy also enjoys having a meal at Pazza Luna on E. Clement Street, a quaint Italian eatery. The restaurant excels at wine and food pairings and other special events, but has a delectable everyday menu too.
As for a great place to grab lunch during the workday, she recommends Harvest Table, a great fusion of bistro and lunch counter "They have great sandwiches," says Tracy. Highlights are beef, lamb or chicken kabab sandwiches, a variety of subs, and a create-your-own option.