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Belvedere Square : Development News

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Spike Gjerde opens Shoo-Fly Diner

Spike Gjerde, a James Beard-nominated chef and one of Baltimore’s most celebrated restaurateurs, opened his latest venture Oct. 11 in the former Crush space in Belvedere Square. Shoo-Fly Diner is the name of the 5,000-square-foot combination “farmhouse diner” and canning operation.

Former Roy's Restaurant Chef Patrick “Opie” Crooks is the chef de cuisine of the 75-seat restaurant, serving regional comfort foods and classic diner fare. Sourdough pancakes with maple syrup, fried oyster and creamed chipped beef sandwich with toasted butterbread are among the menu items. The menu is divided into various sections: snacks, jars, griddle, eggs, open faced, biscuits and large plates. Menu items cost between $4 and $15 and entrees between $12 and $20. A serpentine-shaped counter that seats 22 is the diner's hallmark.
“It’s a diner, but with a heavy dose of Woodberry [Kitchen's] rusticity,” Gjerde says of the new restaurant.
The diner is open at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and stay open until 1 a.m. It serves three meals a day on the weekends. 
Gjerde says he will also use part of the kitchen to can, preserve, dry, pickle and freeze vegetables for the enormous quantities of produce he goes through at Woodberry Kitchen. The canning and preserving operation at Belvedere Square is the intermediate step until Gjerde gets his own building for this sort of operation when the Food Hub in East Baltimore opens next year.
Gjerde also owns Artifact Coffee, which recently added a liquor license. He is also opening a butcher shop with Seawall Development Co.’s new development in Remington. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen and Artifact Coffee 

Senator Theatre could reopen in May

The owners of the Senator Theatre will wrap up its $3 million restoration this spring and expect the historic North Baltimore landmark to open at the end of May after a year of closure.
The once aging, single-screen theater will open with four screens and a 50- to 75-seat wine bar, says Co-owner Kathleen Cusack.
The yearlong renovation includes restoring the murals, installing new seats and getting a new chandelier for the 74-year-old Art Deco-style theater. Kathleen and her father James “Buzz” Cusack spent $1 million on the repairs, while the remaining money for the restoration came from a bank loan and city and state money.
“We’ve been working on this project since 2009 and it’s been a very labor intensive process. We’re happy to see things finally moving along,” Cusack says.
The theater will show mostly big Hollywood productions when it opens and house a total of 1,080 seats. The main auditorium will hold 770 while the other three will contain 150, 85 and 75 seats.
Baltmore City bought the theater three years ago for $810,000 after it went into foreclosure. It sold it to the Cusacks in September at a $310,000 loss.
The Cusacks operate the Station North Arts & Entertainment District’s Charles Theater, which shows mostly independent movies. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Kathleen Cusack

City Restaurants Apply for Outdoor Seating Permits

Winter may be just around the corner, but the owner of Little Italy’s Amicci’s restaurant is already thinking of spring.

The restaurant will add 20 outdoor seats to the 300-seat venue, Roland Keh says.

Amicci’s is one of several Baltimore City restaurants that have requested permission from the liquor board to hold outdoor service. Others include Greektown’s Acropolis restaurant, the Grand Cru wine bar and Phillips Seafood Restaurant, which will soon open a location at the Power Plant.

Keh says he got the idea after applying for a one-day outdoor seating license during the Baltimore Grand Prix. He didn’t get quite the boost in business he was expecting since the restaurant is several blocks away from where the action was taking place.

But having outdoor seats gave the restaurant a festival atmosphere that he wants to continue during the warmer months.
“It was reminiscent of a European café atmosphere,” Keh says. “We want to capture that essence again on a regular basis.”

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Roland Keh, Amicci's; Baltimore City liquor board

Wine Bar Grand Cru Expands With New Gallery, Liquor License in Belvedere Square

Fans of Belvedere Square’s Grand Cru wine bar will soon get to sip their favorite chardonnay while biting into an Atwater’s sandwich — or gazing at local art.

Baltimore City’s liquor board recently approved the bar’s expansion to include the 6,400-square-foot Belvedere Square market. Within a week or two, patrons will be able to take wine and beer from the Grand Cru and drink it inside the market or while eating lunch at one of the outdoor tables.

Owner Nelson Carey has also received approval to allow patrons to bring alcohol to his new pop up art gallery and party room called Plywood. It's located at a few doors down from the wine bar. While Grand Cru has long featured local artists, Carey wanted a standalone space where he could showcase higher caliber photography, painting, and sculpture.

For now, the gallery is open only on Saturdays and by appointment. Carey says he hopes to book some holiday parties and other events at Plywood. He says he often has to turn away party requests for the Grand Cru because there isn’t enough space at the 1,600-square-foot bar to accommodate events in addition to his regular customers.

“With the gallery party space, we’ll be able to offer a cool, hip modern location,” Carey says.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Nelson Carey

Belvedere Square Getting Renovation, Hot Dogs, and Expanded Hours

A renovation and expansion are in the works for Belvedere Square market as existing stores expand and new ones join the mix next year.

Among the new tenants is Wurst, a shop selling German and Austrian-style hot dogs and sausages. Nelson Carey, owner of Belvedere Square’s Grand Cru wine bar, is spearheading the new venture to open by venture to open in March. Carey says he has scoured the nation to bring Belvedere Square patrons the best dogs from New York, Chicago, and other areas.

Why hot dogs? "Everyone loves hot dogs," Carey says.

Wurst is one of four new tenants coming to the market, says Bill Struever, managing director of Belvedere Square property manager Cross Street Partners. Struever declined to name the other three vendors as leases haven’t been signed.

In the coming months, several existing tenants will expand. They include sushi eatery Ikan, Atwater’s, and Neopol Savory Smokery. The market will close for a period next year to make way for the expansion and new tenants. The market hours will also be extended by an hour or two, closing at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. at night, Struever says. Cross Street plans to also extend the sidewalk to double the outdoor seating capacity.

Elsewhere at Belvedere Square, Sofi’s Crepes will open next month in the former Starbucks spot on York Road. The creperie is moving its shop from downtown Baltimore's Women's Industrial Exchange to the North Baltimore shopping center. Its flagship store next to the Charles Theater will remain open.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Nelson Carey, Grand Cru; Bill Struever, Cross Street Partners

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Parks & People offering $1K grants to create green spaces

The Baltimore-based Parks & People Foundation, is offering up to $1,000 for groups interested in greening their neighborhood. The monies, part of a partnership with the Baltimore Community Foundation and the Cleaner Greener Baltimore Initiative, provides up to $1,000 in Neighborhood Greening Grants for those planning projects that will plant trees, create community gardens, clean up and restore vacant lots, clean up neighborhoods, create green schoolyards, improve water quality improve and provide environmental education activities. Grant funds may also be used for tools, plant material, equipment and other needed supplies.

One of the goals of Baltimore City's Sustainability Plan is to increase accessibility to green spaces so that they are within ¼ mile of every resident. This program helps move another step closer to attaining that goal, according to the organization.

Parks & People has found that when outdoor spaces are healthy, utilized, vibrant and green, community residents are more engaged and invested in their neighborhoods. This is the type of sustainable environment that we work to create in neighborhoods, particularly underserved neighborhoods, throughout Baltimore, the group says.

Source: Parks & People
Writer: Walaika Haskins
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