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MICA Food Truck Rolls into Bolton Hill

Hungry students and residents of Bolton Hill have a new way of grabbing food on the go.
Maryland Institute College of Art's (MICA) new mobile kitchen, The Artist's Palate, now provides sandwiches, falafels, burritos, tacos, soups and hamburgers at a variety of food and drink locations around the art school's campus community.
The college spent approximately $100,000 to get the former bread truck up and running with a kitchen that includes refrigeration, a sandwich station, and a deep fryer. The truck is operated by Parkhurst Dining Services and managed by MICA.

Since launching last month, the food truck has been a hit with students, workers, and neighborhood residents alike, says Chris Bohaska, MICA's senior director of operations business services.
A food truck has been planned for the campus community for a couple of years, Bohaska says. The combination of the expansion of the campus onto North Avenue, as well as the unique schedule of MICA students who often take full-day studio art courses, provided the impetus to find a 'creative solution' to provide a variety of food options to the campus community.
Using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to broadcast its location, the food truck cycles to various campus spots. Social media will enable customers to determine which locations serve the community best, Bohaska says. Its schedule and locations will fluctuate semester by semester.
Food trucks on college campuses are relatively new, Bohaska says. He also believes that the campus is the first in Maryland to have a food truck operated by the institution.
Source: Chris Bohaska, MICA senior director, operations business services
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Kids Clothing Store Relocates to Federal Hill

A boutique for fashionable youngsters has moved from Mount Vernon to Federal Hill, a neighborhood that the owner hopes will attract more shoppers.
Cottage Kidz Boutique opened for business Oct. 27 at 1129 Light St., the former location of Bobabooi's Treasure Chest. The move from 823 North Charles St. wasjust two days before Maryland started feeling the effects from Hurricane Sandy. Cottage Kidz assistant Phillip Hawthorne says shoppers were sparse during its first Saturday in Federal Hill when everyone was making Sandy preparations, but is now picking up.
Owner Kimberly Pitts believes her boutique is a better fit in Federal Hill. “There’s more kids here, and the traffic is much heavier,” Pitts says.
The boutique opened at its original location August 2009. The new location is about 1,000 square-feet, which is the same as the old one. Although there is no longer a play area, the Boutique now has a wall that young shoppers can doodle on with chalk.
Cottage Kidz sells apparel, footwear and accessories for kids toddlers through ‘tweens. The boutique also now carries baby clothing and brands like Bean Belt, Alpha Industries and True Religion. Merchandise runs from $10-$180.

Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Kimberly Pitts, Cottage Kidz 

Lauraville Salon to Cater to Women of Color

A new salon hopes to pamper women in Lauraville with makeup, cosmetics, lingerie, manicures, and pedicures. The 1,000-square-foot Aboni Amour will open Dec. 2 at 4600 Harford Road. 
Owner and Baltimore-native Ebony Tyson launched her makeup line, Aboni Cosmetics, last year and plans to feature the products such as foundation, lipstick, lip gloss and blush at the new location. The cosmetic line was previously sold exclusively online.

"I started the line because it's really hard for women of color to find makeup and colors that compliment our skin," Tyson says.

Tyson had been looking for a site to expand her makeup line. After hearing about the location in Lauraville, she decided it would make a good fit for her business. Tyson says she wants to offer a place for women to be pampered and have fun and wants her customers to see and feel the makeup on their skin before purchasing it.
For Tyson, the path to creating a makeup line and starting her own salon is personal. While in college, Tyson worked as a consultant selling makeup through a company, but the makeup she was selling didn't exist for women of color. Tyson, who is African-American, set out to create her own makeup line that catered to women with a myriad of skin tones.
Tyson taught herself how to create makeup using online tutorials and says her makeup line is all natural, healthy for the skin and safe for use with very sensitive skin.
The company is currently hiring two or three makeup artists.
A grand opening event will take place at the location on Dec. 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Source: Ebony Tyson
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Mediterranean Restaurant to Open in Little Italy

Restaurants in Little Italy will get a new neighbor this winter.
Following a total renovation, a new restaurant, Ozra, plans to open at 806 Stiles St. in December. 

The restaurant will focus on Mediterranean and Persian cuisine, serving lamb, beef, and chicken kabobs and Greek desserts, in a contemporary and simple setting, says Reza Holland, a partner in the project. Dinner entrée prices will range from $12 to $22.

"We're surrounded by nice restaurants but we didn't want to compete with Italian food, we wanted to do something complementary," Holland says.

The 2,100-square-foot restaurant near Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop will feature outdoor, terrace seating and bar on the second floor. An additional bar is planned for the first floor. 

The owners hope to create a contemporary and clean look inside the restaurant with neutral colors and an emphasis on exceptional lighting. Additionally, one of the partners in the project is an artist who has done architecture and design work and will use that expertise in the design of Ozra, Holland says. 
Holland says a group of investors chose the location due to its proximity to the Inner Harbor and an assortment of additional fine dining establishments. Holland says the investors purchased the property in 2009 after it had changed hands many times due to its prime location.
Holland says the owners are in the process of selecting a New York chef to develop the menu and train the staff. 
From 1906 to 1981, the location was home to Impallaria/Gramigna Bakery, with 18 years of closure during the mid-60s and 70s, according to The Baltimore Sun.
According to state property and taxation records, the property was purchased in 2009 for $275,000.
Source: Reza Holland, partner, Ozra
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Pike's Diner Reopens as Crab House and Retail Store

Big changes are in store for Pike's Diner on Reisterstown Road in Pikesville.
The restaurant is now known as Pike's Crab House and Grill and is less of a diner and will have a greater emphasis on seafood. The restaurant still serves prime rib, ribs and fried chicken.

Pike's Crab House and Grill opened after $50,000 in renovations that includes two new bars: one indoors and one outside with an 80-foot awning.

Owner Wil Reich says he has also added a wall dividing the restaurant and bar from a 3,000-square-foot area that will hold a store selling wine, beer and liquor. The 7,000 square-foot restaurant is now 4,000 square feet to make room for the retail operation.

Rich says he hopes that excitement about a new concept and demand for a liquor store will draw more customers. Because of the proximity of many other restaurants on the block, Reich says he believes there is a great demand for customers to purchase beer, wine, and liquor after getting carryout. 

Located at 921 Reisterstown Road, the restaurant is on the same block as Jilly'sMari Luna, and Vernisage Restaurant, among others. Reich also owns Jilly's. 
Dinner entrees such as the crab cake platter top off at $25. The breakfast menu will still be available as well during specific hours.
Reich has owned the movie-themed diner for six years. The business features life-like statues of various movie stars to pay homage to the building's previous life as a single-screen movie theater. It will continue to feature live music on Saturday nights. The restaurant expects to add an additional 10 employees to the restaurant's current total of 20 employees.
Source: Wil Reich, owner Pike's Crab House and Grill
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Mt. Washington Tavern Getting More Than $4M on Renovations

It's been almost a year since Mt. Washington Tavern was gutted by a two-alarm fire, but the iconic neighborhood watering hole will reopen to the public Nov. 7 after more than $4 million have been spent on the renovations.

Destroyed last Halloween, the popular "Cheers" type bar anchored the North Baltimore neighborhood of Mt. Washington. After the fire, Owner Rob Frisch vowed to local news outlets that the bar would return. And it has, with a few design and layout changes. 
Owner Rob Frisch hired SMG Architects to do all of the design of the 10,000 square-foot building for their expertise in the renovation of historic properties. The new tavern will feature three different and unique bar spaces, Frisch says.
The front bar is now one level, which creates a wide, open space. It will have exposed stone and hickory flooring. The area previously called the "Garden Room" will become the "Chesapeake Room," with a waterfowl theme. A fireplace has also been added to the room.
The upstairs Sky Bar used to be a seasonal bar, but it has been converted to an enclosed, year-round bar with collapsible doors and a large, wooden deck. A new kitchen will allow the tavern to add variation to its menu.
Frisch expects to hire an additional 12 to 15 people to add to the tavern’s staff of approximately 70 people. Construction and renovation started on the tavern in January after the building was demolished.
The tavern will host a grand opening party on Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. to kick-off the holiday season.
Source: Rob Frisch, owner, Mt. Washington Tavern
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Group Fitness Studio Flexing its Way to Canton

Hoping to take its private training model to a wider group, a new fitness studio will open Oct. 15 in Canton.

Featuring yoga, pilates, Zumba, barre and classes for children, Inline Group Fitness will open in a 3,300 square-foot space at 720 S. Montford St, says owner Josh Kirk. The location is near Boston Street and Canton's Can Company.

Canton resident Kirk, who owns the business with his wife, started Inline Private Training in 2004 by offering individual and group fitness classes.The company's success led them to establish a larger, separate location for the group fitness division of the business. 

Kirk wants to address the fitness needs of children just don't exercise like they used to and need additional opportunities to get fit, he says. Of the 36 classes offered each week, seven classes will be targeted to children up to age 7. 

"Gym classes are cut way back anyway for the bigger kids, and TV, internet, and video games has cut down on playing outside for all ages – even the youngest. Most importantly kids need to build a relationship with their bodies through exercise that is not sports or play oriented, but enhances those activities and is still fun," Kirk says. 
Inline began as a movement in 2004 as a counter-approach to gym, sports, and boot camp style training that can create injuries and high dropout rates. Canton was selected as the location for the company's expansion because of the support from clientele in the area and the desire on the part of many residents to have a healthy, urban lifestyle, Kirk says.

Reservations for special series classes, including beginner yoga, prenatal yoga and children's ballet, have already begun.

Source: Josh Kirk, INLINE Group Fitness
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Three New Businesses Open in Highlandtown

Three new businesses have opened on South Conkling Street, including a grocery store, clothing shop and art gallery, says Highlandtown Main Street Manager Amanda Smit-Peters.

A refugee-owned Nepalese grocer Druk Grocery, clothing store J and M Fashion Stop and art gallery Anthony's Park Mobile Arts Recycle Center have opened within the last three months. They're the latest to open in the East Baltimore neighborhood, home of arts center the Creative Alliance. The area scored a coup in May when Winston Blick opened an outpost of his popular Hamilton restaurant Clementine at the Creative Alliance.  Community activities, including an art project and a local farmers market, have led business owners to take notice of the area and invest in the neighborhood, Smit-Peters says.
Nancy Jagelka's 1,000 square-foot gallery combines her personal studio with an instructional space for children's art classes. 
Jagelka's work and classes focuses on recycled art projects, or work that uses found materials and repurposes them as works of art. The center will offer classes on a donation basis to youth as young as four years old in the recycled arts. The first in a series of workshops will start on Saturday and will focus on mask-masking. 

It doesn't take a lot of money to make art, Jagelka says, but it is a communal process. With the help of a grant from the Baltimore Community Foundation, Jagelka recently organized an intergenerational mural project at Bank and South Conkling Streets in Highlandtown across from Hoehn's Bakery that was a partnership between her art center, the John Booth Senior Center, and Mosaic Makers Inc.
The mural was dedicated with an event and children's activities on Oct. 6.

Smit-Peters credits pop-up shops and art projects earlier this year, a series of events where businesses and art projects took over vacant spaces in Highlandtown, as a way of generating new business in the area. Smit-Peters says the new businesses leasing space on the block benefited from business owners who saw increased interest in the area and made improvements to their buildings to attract new tenants. The presence of the weekly farmer's market has also attracted new businesses to the area.
"This block feels like what a main street is like. It's nice to see businesses make improvements together," Smit-Peters says.

Following the participation in the pop-up shop project last winter, Jagelka worked with a landlord who she says was very flexible in helping her to establish a permanent location in the neighborhood. 
Source: Amanda Smit-Peters, Highlandtown Main Street; Nancy Jagelka, Anthony's Park Mobile Arts Recycle Center.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Posh Retro Clothing Store Debuts in Federal Hill

Trendy professionals in Federal Hill can now throw a party decked out in retro clothing.
Posh Retro opened this month at 1003 Light St. But Amber Ivey’s store operates a bit differently than your average retail outfit.

It is open to the public on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rest of the week, customers can call and schedule “lifestyle parties” for 15-30 guests ranging from shopping parties to business lunches. Hostesses receive discounts on future purchases and “swag bags”, and nonprofits that schedule a “Party with a Purpose” receive 20 percent of each sale toward their organization’s mission.
Posh Retro’s new-and-used clothing caters male and female customers ages 21-mid 30s/early 40s. Items average around $39. While Ivey currently has three employees and is looking to hire about five women ages 22-26 to work as brand representatives. She has a goal to expand in 18 months with locations in Washington, D.C., and Boston.
Ivey, who invested $15,000 for the Baltimore location, was happy when the roughly 1,000-square-foot-location became available. “Posh Retro fits Federal Hill,” Ivey says. “There’s a young, hip vibe with people who want clothes that are a little different.”
Ivey opened Posh Retro in 2008 in Newport News, Va., and then Portsmouth, Va., in 2011 for a year. She decided to move the store with her to Baltimore while pursuing a master in public administration at University of Maryland at College Park.
The business owner donates about 15 percent of each customer’s purchase to Mission: Launch, Inc., a Baltimore nonprofit that assists job seekers once they have been released from prison.
Writer: Jolene Carr,
Source: Amber Ivey, Posh Retro 

Wellness Center Opens Near Hampden

There’s a new place in Woodberry where Baltimoreans can do their downward dog.
Respite Wellness Center opens for business at 2000 Girard Ave. Oct. 1. The Center offers yoga, Reiki, and Zumba classes along with massage and acupuncture sessions.
Certified yoga instructor and massage therapist Angeline Gentile has partnered up with acupuncturist Tiffany Houchins to open Respite. Gentile, a Hampden resident, found the 1,500 square-foot location on Craigslist and thought it was ideal since the space was already set up for a wellness center with three treatment rooms, a yoga studio, a kitchen and reception area.
 “We decorated the space with a Woodberry urban-organic vibe,” says Gentile. Gentile says she plans to work with Artifact Coffee and offer lunch for afternoon yoga sessions provided in the backyard, which she will set up with hammocks as a place to socialize.
Gentile, who also holds corporate yoga classes including sessions at Baltimore City Public Schools for teachers, enjoys providing classes for Baltimore workers like artists, writers and small business owners who need to relax but have tight budgets, and she often offers sliding scale prices.
Respite is currently offering intro specials, like $70 for 90-minute massage sessions that usually cost $100. Walk-ins for yoga classes are $15, and $10 for seniors and students, or 10 classes for $120.
Respite currently employs three acupuncturists and five yoga instructors. There will also be a life coach and licensed social worker later this month. Gentile would also like to add bars and Pilates instructors in the future.

Source: Angeline Gentile
Writer: Jolene Carr

Greene Turtle Spending Nearly $40M on Expansion

Most turtles are not known for their speed, but the planned growth of The Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grille is anything but slow.
By the end of 2014, the Maryland company plans to open an additional 16 to 20 restaurants, including a major expansion in Long Island, N.Y., Greene Turtle CEO Bob Barry says. The restaurants will be a mixture of company-owned and franchise locations. The company hires 60 employees at each location that opens. The average Greene Turtle location seats 220 in the dining room and another 120 in the bar area. 

The company and franchisees could spend as much as $36 million on the expansion while the company's staff of 1,800 employees could grow by 1,200 workers across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, Barry says. Greene Turtle restaurants are, on average, about 7,000 square feet. 

So how has the Edgewater company been able to expand so rapidly? A report released by food consulting company Technomic suggests that restaurants focused on franchising such as The Greene Turtle have grown the most during tough economic times. By focusing on expanding their brands, franchise restaurants can also move into locations vacated by closing businesses, according to the report. 

Barry says that because more people have home entertainment systems, The Greene Turtle needs to provide more for customers than flat screens to watch sports games. They have focused on trying to make the venues family-friendly.

The company currently has 34 locations, and plans to expand to 40 by March 2013. They will open an additional three locations in 2013, and 10 in 2014.
Construction began on the restaurant's newest location at the White Marsh Mall, and should open in January. Plans for the location include an outdoor patio with a roof for winter and summer outdoor dining.
Three of the company’s new locations will be in Delaware including in Dover and Newark. Construction is underway at the location in Dover and the restaurant plans to open February 2013.
The company is also scouting locations in central Pennsylvania, including the areas of York and Harrisburg.
Source: Bob Barry, CEO and President of The Greene Turtle
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

The Walters Gets a Java Jolt With New Coffee Bar

For lovers of art and gourmet coffee, a new partnership just might get you buzzing.
Q at The Walters, an authentic Seattle-style espresso bar opened this week at The Walters Art Museum. The 300-square-foot espresso bar and cafe serves coffee, pastries, pre-made wraps, salads and sandwiches.
"We love this space. I have never been in a museum. It's the first time for my concept," say owner and operator Ashley Stark-McCauley.
Stark-McCauley runs three additional coffee bars in the Baltimore area including cafes at Johns Hopkins University and at an office building in Hunt Valley. 

As for expanding, Stark-McCauley says she's scouting other locations in Baltimore and is also considering adding locations in office buildings in New York City.
After completing her undergraduate and graduate studies in Seattle and working as a professor, Stark-McCauley says she wants to bring an authentic Seattle coffee experience to her hometown of Baltimore. She launched her first coffee business almost 20 years ago.
The model is very different than a traditional business model because she operates inside host institutions that require her to work with existing space as opposed to being able to completely remodel a location, Stark-McCauley says. 
Stark-McCauley will add roughly four employees, and has invested $25,000 in launching Q at the Walters.
Q at The Walters will be open during regular museum hours, which are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Just announced by the museum are Thursday evening hours when the museum will stay open until 9.pm.
She hopes to eventually offer early morning hours for residents of Mount Vernon.
Source: Ashley Stark-McCauley, owner of Q at The Walters
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Gluten-Free Gourmet Coming to Ellicott City

An entrepreneur will bring gluten-free Shepherd’s pie, pizza, mac and cheese and other foods to Ellicott City next month, investing $150,000 to open restaurant One Dish Cuisine.
One Dish Cuisine is moving from a 1,200 square-foot wholesale facility at 300 East Gittings St. in Federal Hill to a 3,000 square-foot kitchen and eatery in Ellicott City’s Taylor Village Center at 8001 Hillsborough Road.
All menu items are gluten, soy and casein free, while most are also peanut, nut, egg, dairy, corn and fish free and incorporate organic ingredients. Dishes include comfort food staples that normally aren’t available to people with food allergies, including Reuben melts on mock rye and pumpernickel, steak, wings and soups. The café will primarily serve lunch and dinner but offer muffins and coffee in the morning, and eventually weekend brunches. Chef and owner Maureen Burke encourages customer requests and plans on hosting themed nights like Italian, Thai and Chinese.
Burke began experimenting with gluten-free cooking and baking when she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the 80s. “I started making recipes for breads and pizza crusts, and nobody knew that they were gluten-free,” Burke says. She continued experimenting when her nephew was diagnosed with autism two and a half years ago, requiring him to also follow a gluten-free diet. Burke says there are 900,000 people with food allergies in the area’s 60-mile radius alone.
One Dish Cuisine started as wholesale facility in June 2010 where Burke would make, freeze and ship products to retailers and hospitals like Crofton’s the Irish Channel Restaurant, Severna Park’s Freedom Bakery and Washington, D.C.’s Children’s National Medical Center.
Burke wanted to relocate from Federal Hill for more space and parking opportunities. She will continue to ship her foods and also offer a freezer for customers at the café. There are currently six employees but Burke plans to hire four more.

Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Maureen Burke, One Dish Cuisine

Fells Point Bar Plans $1M Expansion

A landmark Fells Point bar will undergo a $1 million expansion with the goal to open next spring or summer, the owner says.
The Horse You Came in On Saloon plans to take over a 1,700-square-foot space next to their current location on Thames Street to create a new dining and music area, says owner Eric Mathias.
The new space at 1628 Thames St. will be part of The Horse You Came in On, but will feature separate musical acts, its own bar, a dining area, and have will have a slightly different atmosphere and furnishings from the other bar. The expansion will double the bar's space to 3,700 square feet.
The project has received approval from the zoning appeals board and support from the Fells Point Residents Association. Construction on the new space is slated to begin in the next 45 days, Mathias says.
"Our expansion is kind of an example of the amount of work, commitment and passion that myself and everyone else has for the Horse, the neighborhood and what we do," Mathias says.
The Horse You Came in On opened in 1775 and claims to be America's oldest saloon. According to the saloon's website, it is the only bar in Maryland to exist before, during, and after prohibition.
Mathias says the saloon wants the concept of the new space to be relevant to Baltimore and Fells Point, and is considering a prohibition theme, but no final decisions have been made.
Source: Eric Mathias, owner
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Vegan Bakery Opens in Fells Point

No eggs? No dairy? No problem, says the owner of a new vegan bakery in Fells Point. 

Dirty Carrots will open Saturday at 600 S. Wolfe St. in the space formerly occupied by Smedly's, a popular coffee shop and will sell vegan baked goods including salted caramel cupcakes and whoopee pies.

There are three other vegan bakeries in Baltimore, according to VegBaltimore.com
Owner Lisa Muscara Brice says it's her goal to provide a vegan option for Baltimore residents and to show them how delicious vegan food can be.
She calls the Fells Point neighborhood where she set up her bakery a "phenomenal" place with a "great mix of people where I've felt welcomed from the moment I've been down there." 
For now, the bakery will offer carry-out treats and coffee in the same space where Brice bakes all of her treats including wholesale orders for places like Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse and the Baltimore Farmer's Market.
Eventually, Brice hopes to have table serve but she says she's growing slowly.
"Baby steps get you there often," Brice says. Ultimately, Brice wants to continue growing her wholesale business, as well as additional retail locations.
To get her business off the ground, Brice participated in the Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore Inc. program. The program aided her in writing a business plan and helped her to formalize a concept for the bakery.
Source: Lisa Muscara Brice, owner of Dirty Carrots
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

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