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By Degrees Cafe opens in Little Italy

A Baltimore chef who has worked for the Wine Market and Fleet Street Kitchen opened a casual contemporary restaurant in an industrial building on the edge of Little Italy Oct. 15.

The 1,350-square-foot By Degrees Cafe serves soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch and half a dozen entrees for dinner. By Degrees serves lunch at the counter and relies on wait staff for dinner.

Located in the redeveloped Fallsway Spring building at 415 S. Central Ave., the restaurant will hopefully appeal to young professionals in the neighborhood and adjacent Harbor East, Owner Omar Semidey says. 

Semidey says he wants to offer a small, intimate dining experience for diners who want an alternative to the massive, swanky eateries in tony Harbor East. By Degrees will seat 50 in the dining room and another six at the bar. 

He describes By Degrees as a “third-day” restaurant. When you have a friend in town, you take him somewhere nice the first day. The second day you cook dinner at home. And the third day you’re ready to eat out again, but somewhere that offers "solid food that doesn’t break the bank.” Most entrees at By Degrees cost less than $17 and soups around $5 and sandwiches under $10.

“The goal is not to revolutionize the culinary landscape, but shift it by degrees,” Semidey says.

Semidey is working with a silent business partner, whom he declined to name. He also declined to say how much he and his business partner will spend on the restaurant, financed with cash. 

The building’s developer Larry Silverstein is responsible for refurbishing several other properties in East Baltimore, including the Union Box Co. and the Holland Tack Factory, home of Heavy Seas Ale House and My Thai

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Omar Semidey, By Degrees Cafe


Under Armour opens Tide Point visitor center

Under Armour wrapped up a seven-month construction of a visitor center this month, the latest expansion of the sportswear giant’s Tide Point campus in Locust Point.

Designed by Ziger/Snead, the glass-enclosed 4,260-square-foot building incorporates dark gray metal panel and red steel-plate railings. It is located on the site of the former Harvest Table café.

The building is a welcome area where every Under Armour employee will greet guests, according to a spokeswoman for the company. It’s also a place where school groups and athletic teams visiting the campus can gather, according to Ziger/Snead’s description of the project. The visitor center does not include a retail store. 

In February, the company opened an 8,000-square-foot Brand House retail store in Harbor East. It expects to eventually expand its Locust Point campus by 400,000 square feet

Writer: Julekha Dash

HarborQue moving to new location in Federal Hill

HarborQue BBQ & Catering will be serving its Carolina-style pit BBQ in a new, larger location in Federal Hill early next month.

The restaurant will move to 1125 S. Charles St., the former spot of Kirby’s Szechuan if it gets its beer and wine liquor license approved Sept.12. 

Owner Kelley Stewart says she hopes the new spot will bring her more business by putting her closer to sports fans attending games at M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

“I like the fact that it’s right in Federal Hill. We’ll gain more exposure.”

The new spot will seat 75 inside and another 20 outside, versus 50 seats at the current spot.

Developers planning a retail and apartment project in Locust Point have acquired HarborQue’s current site at 1421 Lawrence St.

Stewart employs 15 at HarborQue and Out of the Blue café, on the corner of Hull and Fort avenues.

HarborQue’s menu items include pulled pork, pit beef and smoked turkey breast. The menu will be more or less the same at the new spot but Stewart says she will add brisket, which is now a special weekly item. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Kelley Stewart, HarborQue

Yoga studio flexing its way to Locust Point

Locust Point residents will get a new place to practice their downward facing dog when BambooMoves Yoga opens in September.
 
Owner Monica Ott says that she wanted to bring a yoga studio to Locust Point after moving to the neighborhood earlier this year.

“I really wanted to bring a sense of a holistic approach of fitness and wellness to the neighborhood, which I thought was kind of lacking,” Ott says.

The 800-square-foot studio will be located at 1624 E Fort Ave. The space, which was formerly an organic nail salon, is currently undergoing some construction, such as repainting and redoing the floors to embody an “inviting, warm feel,” Ott says. The style will be modern vintage.
 
Though Ott privately owns the studio, it is part of the BambooMoves yoga collective, which is composed of four independent studios in the metro New York area. 
 
The Locust Point location will offer mostly yoga classes at all levels, with live music in the background. The style of yoga is Hatha Raja Vinyasa

Though a schedule is not yet finalized, classes will be offered seven days a week in the morning, midday and evening. For the first month, customers can purchase an unlimited membership for $30.
 
Ott says she hopes that the studio will build a sense of community in the neighborhood. “I want it to be very inviting, a place where you feel comfortable in any type of class,” she says.

Writer: Daryl Hale
Source: Monica Ott, Bamboo Moves

Family friendly restaurant Sweet Caroline's opening this summer in former Pazza Luna spot

Sweet Caroline’s Bistro and Tavern will open in Pazza Luna’s old space in Locust Point by early August.

Owner John Ferrari Jr. is renovating the 2,100-square-foot spot at 1401 E. Clement St., adding new lighting, paint, upgrading the floors and doing some repairs. The restaurant will seat 80 indoors and about another 16 outside. Ferrari declined to discuss his investment in the property or his financing for the 80-seat restaurant.

He says Sweet Caroline’s will be upscale but relaxed, American cuisine with influences from Italy and Spain. The restaurant's dishes will include crab guacamole, a bruschetta trio and a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad. Sweet Caroline’s will be family friendly, with a kids’ menu as well.

Ferrari expects to employ about 10 to 12 people and is currently interviewing chefs.   

Ferrari used to own Bamboo’s Restaurant in Ocean City, which he sold a couple of years ago. After six years on the Eastern Shore, Ferrari says the time was right to head back to Baltimore. Between the fast-growing Under Armour and the influx of young families, Locust Point is the place to be, he says. Nearly 1,600 people work at Under Armour’s Locust Point headquarters, and the company recently announced plans to hire an additional 300 this year.

Ferrari chose the name Sweet Caroline’s because it’s a “good, catchy name,” that says “come out and have a good time.”

The Facebook page and website will be up shortly. 

Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: John Ferrari Jr., Sweet Caroline's

$1M World of Beer bar opening at Locust Point's McHenry Row

Baltimore may be the land of $1 Natty Bohs but a couple  of entrepreneurs are hoping people will pay upwards of $5 for a draft beer.
 
Dr. Matthew Earl and John Stein are spending $1 million to open World of Beer this summer at Locust Point’s McHenry Row residential and retail development. The 3,400-square-foot restaurant will open across from  supermarket Harris Teeter in a corner spot that faces Key Highway. It will seat 75 to 100 and feature additional seating on its patio.
 
Beers will cost $5 to as high as $50 for a Sam Adams Infinium, says Earl, a radiation oncologist at the University of Maryland and a beer lover.
 
World of Beer will feature 60 beers on tap and about 600 bottles of beer – but not your standard Budweisers or Coors. It will also serve wine, but not hard alcohol.
 
Earl says he hopes the pub will appeal to folks looking for a low-key alternative to some of boisterous bars in Federal Hill. And he says he thinks people will pay the higher prices to drink beers they wouldn’t otherwise get to try.
 
“This is unique opportunity to sample beers from around the world,” Earl says.
 
The bar will offer a limited food menu, including soft pretzels and stuffed sausages. The interior will feature high ceilings, a wood bar, large coolers with bottles on display, and a stained concrete floor. 
 
Live music will be played three nights a week and Earl says he is working with sound engineers so the music isn’t too loud.
 
“We’re not looking to be a place where you get trashed. We’re looking to be a place where you can enjoy a couple of beers and listen to some nice music.”
 
World of Beer is a fast-growing franchise based in Tampa, Fla. It recently opened its 37th location in Denver. Currently, its closest location to Baltimore is in Arlington, Va.
 
So how did a doctor who treats cancer decide to tap into the beer market? Earl says he always wanted to open a restaurant, but decided to go the franchise route because the company gives you a formula to follow along with its expertise.
 
He says the bar will be privately funded.

Writer: Julekha Dash; @Julekha; julekha@bmoremedia.com
Source: Matthew Earl, World of Beer

Entrepreneur opening 10 Smoothie King locations in Greater Baltimore

Locust Point residents will have a spot to fill their craving for fruity drinks like Mangosteen Madness and Celestial Cherry High when Baltimore City’s first Smoothie King opens next month.
 
Franchisee Minseok Yu will open the Smoothie King at 851 East Fort Ave. by April. Yu says he plans to open 10 Smoothie Kings in Greater Baltimore and is currently looking for a location for his second store in Canton or the Inner Harbor.
 
Yu previously owned commercial property in his native country of Korea and will be moving to Baltimore the end of this month. He invested $250,000 in the franchise, which includes rent, training and travel fees. The 1,200-square-foot space was formerly a tanning salon. Yu says he believes Locust Point will be a good location for the first store because the neighborhood is growing but still could still use more retail.
 
Yu noticed how popular Smoothie Kings are in his native country. When he came to visit his brother who lives in Baltimore, he was surprised that there wasn’t a Smoothie King in the city. “A lot of people in the city go to the Smoothie King across from the Towson Mall,” Yu says. Yu says he plans to hire 10 employees for the first location.
 
Smoothie King is a health store that offers fresh-blended smoothies, vitamins and herbs, nutritional supplements and sports nutrition products. There are over 600 Smoothie King locations in the United States, Korea, Singapore and the Caymans. The company is headquartered in New Orleans.
 
Source: Minseok Yu, Smoothie King franchisee
Writer: Jolene Carr

Townhomes Planned Near Museum of Industry

South Baltimore could see a new townhouse development if an area developer's plans get approval from Baltimore's zoning board.
 
A planning consulting firm is working with a local developer who plans to build townhouses near Key Highway in Riverside. The townhouses are expected to carry price tags around $400,000.

Baltimore's AB Associates submitted plans for zoning approval from the city for 14 three-story townhouses with rooftop decks, and most with two-car garages at the intersection of Harvey and Lawrence Streets bordering Locust Point. The site is one block from the Baltimore Museum of Industry. 
 
The plans will go before the city's Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals Feb. 7.
 
If approved, construction could begin on the townhouses this year, and hit the market early next year, says Al Berry, principal of AB Associates. Berry says he's working on behalf of developer Ray Jackson, who owns the property.
 
Berry believes the location near the proposed townhouses just off Key Highway and close to the exit for I-95 will appeal to many homebuyers. Additionally, Berry expects the price point to suit buyers looking to move into the city.
 
"The neighborhood has always been strong for development and housing value," Barry says. He says he doesn't yet know the development cost. 
 
The land where the proposed townhouses sit belonged to the late Vincent Rallo, owner of Rallo's Restaurant. The planned site served as a parking lot for Rallo's Restaurant.
 
The homes will be designed modern industrial style and will all face onto an extensively landscaped interior court, says Berry.
 
Architectural work for the proposed project is being handled by SETO Architects LLC in Mt. Vernon, Berry sats.
 
Writer: Alexandra Wilding
Source: Al Berry, principal of AB Associates
 

Charm City Run Latest Tenant to Sign Up at McHenry Row

A running store, sub shop, and dentist are latest tenants to sign up for McHenry Row, an office, residential, and retail complex debuting this year in Locust Point.

Charm City Run and Horizon Dental will open in January, says developer Mark Sapperstein. Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches is expected to open by the end of the year.

It will be the local running store’s fifth location. The others are located in Bel Air, Timonium, Annapolis, and Clarksville. McHenry Row’s anchor tenant, Harris Teeter, will open Dec. 7.

The retail portion of the development is now 90 percent leased, Sapperstein says. Two spots totaling 7,200 square feet remain.

The Green Turtle Sports Bar & Grille, Yogi Castle, Red Parrot Asian Bistro, pet store Dogma, and Massage Envy are among the other shops opening this year.


Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Mark Sapperstein

Organic Nail Salon to Polish Up Locust Point

Organic products are sprouting up all over the place — milk, meats, apples, cleaning supplies.

Now the organic trend has hit the beauty industry. Two Baltimore women, Ambra Black and Maryam Dennis, are opening an organic nail salon mid-May in Locust Point.

Juste-B., to be located at 1624 E. Fort Ave., will offer manicures and pedicures and soy-based waxes. The scrubs and other products used on hands and feet will be made with essential oils and natural sugars, Dennis says. Nail polishes are water-based and don't rely on any chemicals.

The partners, who are spending $30,000 of their own money to start the business, will make their own foot scrubs using herbs from their herb garden.

Juste-B will be one of a handful of organic salons in Greater Baltimore. Others include Hampden's Sprout and Insignia in Overlea.

"We should be able to be healthy and beautiful without having to sacrifice the health of the planet," Dennis says.

Juste-B will embrace other green initiatives, including using light sensors and serving organic wine and vodka to guests. A combined manicure and pedicure will cost about $40.  

The business owners chose Locust Point because it's a "new and upcoming neighborhood." With office and retail developments like McHenry Row, to be anchored by a Harris Teeter grocery store, underway, the business owners hope to get in on the area before it really builds up.


Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Maryam Dennis, Juste B

Gourmet Deli, Wine Bar Selected for Silo Point

Construction on a gourmet grocery shop and a wine bar will soon begin at Patrick Turner's Silo Point condominium tower.

Hospitality consultant Peter Yaffe is cooking up plans for a store where Silo Point residents can pick up a sandwich, coffee, prepared foods and a bottle of wine.

Construction on the 2,200-square-foot business, called FoodLifePoint, should begin in the next month or so. Yaffe describes the style of the design-heavy store as "cozy industrial chic," much like the condo tower itself. He has hired Silo Point's architect, Chris Pfaeffle of Baltimore's Parameter Inc., to design the store.  

FoodLifePoint's features will include wireless Internet access, HD TVs, and seating overlooking the harbor. The store will employ between 60 and 75. If all goes well, Yaffe plans to open more stores like it throughout the U.S., one of which could be built at Patrick Turner's Westport development in South Baltimore.

Yaffe's previous experience includes LFB Enterprises, where he was president of a Maryland hospitality group that included catering, a restaurant, a nightclub, and a gourmet-to-go food operation. He has also run high-volume seafood restaurants in Florida and was director of operations of Capital Restaurant Concepts, the Washington, D.C. restaurant group that includes Paolo's Ristorante and J. Paul's Dining Saloon.

Meanwhile, the folks behind the 13.5% wine bar in Hampden are opening a wine bar at Silo Point. No word yet on the name of the 2,600-square-foot store, expected to open in April at 1200 Steuart St.

Wayne Laing, of 13.5%, declined to comment on his latest wine bar.

"They're both great concepts for the neighborhood," Turner says of FoodLifePoint and the wine bar. "I'm not real big on chain restaurants. Restaurants of this caliber are very site specific and we want that uniqueness for Silo Point."

The condo tower also features Mexican restaurant Miguel's Cocina y Cantina and Privé Salon and Spa.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Peter Yaffe, FoodLife Point; Patrick Turner, Turner Development Group LLC


Frozen dessert biz Screwballs hopes to pitch a shutout in Locust Point

Following their retirement, business partners Irene Baum and Kathy Fleming got the itch to start a new venture, but they didn't want to get into something too time consuming or demanding.

So the pair came up with the perfect business: ice cream.

Baum and Fleming opened Screwballs Frozen Delights in Locust Point over Memorial Day weekend. The spot at 1400 Towson St. sells 30 flavors of snowballs and 13 flavors of hand-dipped ultra-premium ice cream, or ice cream with at least 17 percent milkfat.

The ice cream, which is free of growth hormones, comes from Moorenko's Ice Cream Café in Silver Spring. Their flavors include salted caramel with pralines, orange chocolate chip, cotton candy gummy bear and cookie dough.

Screwballs, outfitted like a 1950s-style ice cream parlor, also sells milk shakes, floats and banana splits. Baum could not say how much the partners spent to open the business, located on the first floor of a 1,220-square-foot rowhouse.
 
"We found a lovely spot in Locust Point that's perfect or an ice cream parlor," says Baum, a former division manager of a tobacco company.

The shop owners were not interested in, say, starting a full-service restaurant that would require around-the-clock hours and supervising a number of employees.

"We wanted something that just the two of us could handle on our own," Baum says. "It gives us flexibility on time, " says Baum, who plans to close the shop three months during winter.

Though Baum lives in Anne Arundel County's Glen Burnie, she decided Locust Point would be the best fit for the business.

"It's a very close-knit community with lots of kids and families," Baum says. "We've gotten great feedback and support from the neighbors. I grew up in the city and this reminds me of the city I grew up in where everyone knew everyone else."

And how did the business owners come up with the name? It's a joke between Baum and Fleming.
"We used to call each other screwballs. We're just two goofy people," Baum says.

To read more about Locust Point, click here.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source; Irene Baum, Screwballs

New owner takes over Pazza Luna

A new chef and owner is saying "ciao" to Locust Point's Pazza Luna.

Milan native Davide Rossi and his wife Christa have taken over the neighborhood eatery at 1401 E. Clement St. from Riccardo Bosio. The owner of Mount Vernon's Sotto Sopra, Bosio owned the trattoria for more than three years.

Rossi says he plans to add a host of new Northern Italian menu items to the 65-seat restaurant, which he started running Feb. 2.

The Rossis come to Baltimore after six years running Ports of Italy in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. The couple have put that restaurant up for sale, though if it doesn't get a buyer, Rossi will hire a manager to run it during the busy summer months. 

The two decided to make the move in part because Christa is from Baltimore. Rossi also likes the people and culinary scene here.
"I love Baltimore," Rossi says. "There's great food, great people, great restaurants."

He was also impressed with the receptiveness of his Locust Point neighbors. When they heard that Pazza Luna was getting a new owner, they introduced themselves."That doesn't happen very often in big cities," Rossi says.

Rossi says he his not sure if he will renovate the restaurant's interior. But he is planning a big makeover of the menu. His signature dishes will include lobster ravioli with mascarpone; rack of lamb with a sambuca demi-glaze and beef tenderloin with a gorgonzola brandy truffle sauce. He will also feature fresh pasta and risotto.


Source: Davide Rossi, Pazza Luna
Writer: Julekha Dash

Bateys try anew with Ullswater

Fans of Nicholas Batey who shed a few tears when his South Baltimore restaurant, The Bicycle, closed its doors earlier this year now have a reason to rejoice. Batey is back in the kitchen. This time, however, he's left behind the global theme and instead has chosen to concentrate on his take on Italian cuisine.

Ullswater, located at 554 E. Fort Avenue, may not sound like the name of an Italian restuarant, says Saundra Batey, co-owner, and that's because it isn't.

"Ullswater is a place in England. You'll see paintings of it around the restaurant. When [Nicholas] was at culinary school, looking at the picture calmed him. He was all alone and could only afford that one painting. He'd go and stare at it when he was lonely. So, he decided that Ullswater was a unique name. We know it doesn't sound Italian," she explains.

The former site of the Sly Fox bar, Batey says she, her partners Monique, Mary and Michael Faulkner, and her husband chose the location because they wanted to create a neighborhood restaurant that was affordable. "We've always loved the area. When we went looking for a restaurant we wanted to keep it in the neighborhood. We noticed that this building was empty and when we walked in it was perfect."

The Bateys and Faulkners completely renovated the two-floor restaurant. "We tore out the back part of the building and redid that, added crown molding. We changed everything. It's basically a brand new restaurant with a brand new bar. The bar is the main attraction."

Ullswater, which opened officially on Nov. 16, will seat up to 100 people. "We didn't want to make it overwhelming and chose to kept it small and intimate," Batey notes.

The restaurant is geared towards families and offers family-style dining for parties. The menu is what anyone familiar with Nicholas Batey might expect. "It's his take on Italian food. One favorite, so far, has been Batey's mozzarella sticks. Forget the frozen and breaded nightmares that are a bar mainstay. These are made with mozzarella, prosciutto, basil, wrapped in phyllo dough and served with a pomodoro sauce.

Another hit is Ullswater's Shrimp Trio. Shrimp prepared three ways, wrapped in pancetta, fried and chilled, served with a sundried tomato cocktail sauce.

"His meatballs in bolognese sauce are very popular and his green bean salad," Batey says.

The menu is changing a bit as the restaurant gears up to begin serving lunch. "We're starting to serve burgers and paninis and will be open for lunch starting next week."

For those who lament the the loss of Bicycle, the Batey's plan to add some of their loyal customers' favorite dishes to the menu. "They aren't Italian but we want to cater to our Bicycle clientele."

Source: Saundra Batey, co-owner
Writer: Walaika Haskins

Hideaways new neighboorhood bar in Fed Hill

Federal Hill residents recently welcomed a new neighborhood bar and restaurant. Hideaways, located at 1400 Key Highway, has replaced Tavern on the Key.

"We chose the Federal Hill area because it's an incredible area. The number of bars and restaurants, the location and the people there, it's hard to find people like that anywhere else in Baltimore. It's just a great tight-knit community," says Dave McGill, co-owner.

This is the first bar/restaurant for the Catonsville native and his partner. "Right now, we're a bar slash restaurant, but in a few weeks we'll have the kitchen open and begin serving dinner specials Friday and Saturday nights and bar food. We're expanding it slowly."

Hideaways, at just 1100 sq. ft. or so, features a full-sized bar and a few tables. Currently, the bar only offers bottled beers as they install a new tap system.

Source: Dave McGill, Hideaways
Writer: Walaika Haskins
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