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Ryleigh's Oyster opens new Timonium location

The owner of Ryleigh’s Oyster House opened his second location in Timonium this month after investing $2 million to transform the former Gibby's Seafood spot into the 300-seat restaurant.

The 10,000-square-foot location at 22 W. Padonia Road has a 2,000-square-foot rooftop herb garden available for private dining, and a patio.

“There was never any curb appeal,” Ryleigh’s Owner Brian McComas says of the former location. “So we definitely made it ‘shore house chic’ and rebuilt the whole front section of the building.”

The original Ryleigh’s is a Federal Hill stalwart, featuring over 100 different kinds of oysters in the course of a year. The new Timonium outpost will have a similar menu, with a few tweaks for the suburban dining scene, focusing a little more on traditional entrees, and a little less on shared or communal plates.

As in Federal Hill, the oysters play a starring role. In partnership with the Shooting Point Oyster Company, Ryleigh’s grows its own farm-raised oysters called Avery’s Pearls on Virginia’s Eastern shore. McComas says these smaller oysters are good for bivalve beginners.

“In order to address the people who think an oyster’s this big slimy thing, we cultivate our own," McComas says. Avery’s Oysters are small, petite, cocktail oysters, so that you don’t get this big hunk of slimy stuff.”

McComas recently held the Moet Oyster Ball Oct. 9 at Ryleigh’s in Federal Hill. The $65 tickets included an oyster bar, open bar and hors d’oeuvres. The event kicked off OysterFest Oct 12-13. The Cross Street festival featured the annual Baltimore Oyster Shucking Competition, as well as live music and raw bars. Proceeds for both benefited the Living Classrooms Foundation and the Oyster Recovery Partnership. 

Writer: Amy Landsman
Sources: Scotti Offutt and Brian McComas, Ryleigh's Oyster 

Boordy Vineyards uncorks new winemaking building

Boordy Vineyards toasted the opening of its new $3 million winemaking facility this month, which it's billing as the largest project in its 68-year history.  
The 11,500-square-foot building in Hydes is composed of a main production facility, a laboratory, two wine-storage warehouses, a bottling room and a room for shipping wine. 
The additional space allows the Baltimore County vineyard to increase production by about 62,000 gallons, to a total of 170,190 gallons. It also allows for more quality control of the fermentation process, says Boordy Vineyards’ Phineas Deford.
The new building is located adjacent to the barn that Boordy Vineyards has been using to produce their wines for 34 years. The barn did not allow for a temperature control during the winemaking process, which is a feature of the new building. The previously used barn will be converted into a barrel cellar.
Boordy Vineyards will offer tours twice a day, seven days a week, and President Robert Deford says that they will allow guests to tour the facility, as long as the winemaking process is not underway. The winery receives 60,000 visitors per year, making it one of the top tourist attractions in the county. 
Vineyard staff has worked to match the architecture of the new facilities with the old buildings on its 240 acres of farmland.
“Building a building here of this sort is actually a real responsibility, an aesthetic responsibility, in that it’s going to be here for a long time and we felt that it had to reflect and harmonize with traditional architecture,” Deford says.
Boordy Vineyards has also made the building environmentally sound with the roofs facing south so that solar cells can be added once the construction is complete.

Boordy produces a number of white and red varietals, including chardonnay, pinot grigio, merlot and shiraz. The expansion was funded with Boordy's own money and bank loans.

Writer: Daryl Hale
Source: Robert and Phineas Deford

Fells Point architecture firm designing green roof for $10M Riverside Wharf project

Urban Design Group LLC  is going green for the Riverside Wharf project in South Baltimore. The sustainable architectural firm in Fells Point has designed a green roof for the building, the first project under Baltimore’s Key Highway South Urban Renewal Plan.

Urban Design Group is bringing sustainable measures to two other high-profile projects in Baltimore: the new Merchant Point townhomes in Fells Point and the renovation of the Inner Harbor's World Trade Center, which will be done this year.
Urban Design President Michael Burton says he expects the $10 million Riverside Wharf project to be done in 2014. Caves Valley Partners is developing the former industrial site located along Key Highway at Lawrence Street into a 100,000-square-foot, three-story building with parking garage.
On the main floor, Walgreens drugstore will occupy 14,000 square feet along with other retailers; the upper two floors have 31,000 square feet of office space; a parking garage accounts for the remaining space.

He says the green roof will enable the building to comply with Baltimore’s green building standards and the state’s storm water management regulations.
Passed by the City Council in 2007, green building standards apply to new and existing commercial and multi-family residences over 10,000 square feet.

For the almost 8,000-square-foot green roof, a layer of soil and plants that can withstand weather and wind is laid on top of a drainage system. “The building occupies an entire city block. You’ve got to find a way to deal with storm water management,” says Burton.

Merchant Point involves the conversion of a church into a private school and office space, an existing building into offices and 18 new rowhouses. Located at the intersection of South Ann and Aliceanna streets, the townhomes will be ready this summer and are sold out. Urban Design Group used sustainable construction material and created an urban garden to meet the city’s green building standards.
The Maryland Port Authority awarded a contract to Pepco Energy Services to install energy-efficiency measures in several buildings, including the 40-year-old, 30-story World Trade Center.
Urban Design Group designed a geothermal system for the building’s mechanical systems. The system pumps water from the Inner Harbor through the building’s mechanical systems. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and federal Environmental Protection Agency had to approve the design.
Burton founded Urban Design Group in 2009. In 2011, the company moved into the incubator, Emerging Technology Center at Canton. Last February, the company graduated from the incubator and moved to an office in Fells Point.
During its time in the incubator, revenue tripled to over $1 million in 2013 and the staff doubled to nine. Urban Design Group is looking to hire a project manager.
Source: Michael Burton, Urban Design Group
Writer: Barbara Pash; [email protected]

Fells Point Gets a Corner Grocer

Fresh, local produce is now just steps away for many Fells Point residents.  
Fleet Street Market, the brainchild of lawyer-turned grocer Claudette Torbey, opened this month at 2001 Fleet St. with a mission to provide fresh, local and organic foods for neighborhood residents.
For Torbey, the market is half about food and half about community. She saw the need for a neighborhood grocer and decided to pursue it hoping to improve the community along the way.
"I wanted fresh produce within walking distance. I live five blocks away, and I was frustrated to have to get in the car," Torbey says.

The owner says she is trying to source as many local products as possible in the 1,100-square-foot Fleet Street Market.
The store has everything from produce from Calvert Farms to local artisan producers supplying jams, granola and salsas.
There's all frozen pasta from Little Italy, fresh bread from Hamilton Bakery, milk from Trickling Springs Creamery, in addition to meat, cheese, sushi, cupcakes and other desserts. Torbey plans to make sandwiches on-site as well.
One comment on Yelp, a website that allows users to post reviews of local shops and restaurants, describes it as "Whole Foods meets corner bodega."
Tobey says the reaction from the community so far has been extremely positive.
"The neighborhood has really come out…people are saying hello, kids are here. I hope people enjoy shopping when they are here," she says.
Source: Claudette Torbey, owner of Fleet Street Market
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

State Bond Bill Earmarked for Baltimore Design School

A new transformation school in Baltimore has gotten help from the state in designing its future.
Baltimore Design School will use a $200,000 state bond to help renovate the school's future location in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District and add to its operating fund, says Paul Jacob, Chair of the Facilities Committee for Baltimore Design School.
A bond bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2012 legislative session funded the grant along with a total of $7.5 million in various projects across the state.
Baltimore Design School, a Baltimore City Public Transformation School, focuses on applied design fields including graphic design, fashion design, and architecture. The school currently has classes for grades 6 and 7, but will eventually serve more than 600 students in grades 6 to 12. The school opened last fall and is in a temporary location in the Kenilworth Park neighborhood of Baltimore until the renovations are complete.
The school began renovations at the site at 1500 Barclay St. last month and contractors so far have gutted and cleaned the interior of the building. The building sat vacant for more than 20 years but was most recently used for clothing manufacturing, Jacob says.
Contractors will work to improve the structural frame of the building including exterior brickwork.
Over the next year, the school will go through the basic construction process including laying all of the utility lines, putting up drywall, and refitting the entire building with new windows.
Eventually the school will provide state-of-the-art computer labs and technology to support the ever-changing design fields.
Construction is expected to be completed by May 2013 and is on schedule, Jacob says.
Source: Paul Jacob, chair of the facilities committee for Baltimore Design School.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Entrepreneurs Promise Farm-to-Doorstep Produce

Two local entrepreneurs want to bring the bounties of Maryland's farms to your neighborhood, maybe even your doorstep.
Here's the concept: Friends & Farms goes out and gets the freshest produce, meat, dairy, and seafood from farms and suppliers around the region. Then they divide it all into a basket that you pick up once a week from a designated location in your area. They also plan to provide direct delivery to homes, says co-founder Tim Hosking.
In the works since last fall, the venture will launch May 31 with the first basket pick-up in the week of June 4. The company will start in Howard County and plans to expand to locations as far north as Baltimore City and County, and as far south as Northern Virginia, Hosking says.
Baskets will include two proteins, a myriad of fruit and vegetables, milk and bread every week, and occasionally items like eggs, bacon, herbs and spices. The food will have been picked, baked, or harvested within 24 to 48 hours.
They are priced more along the lines of Giant as opposed to Whole Foods or a farmers' market, Hosking says.
Hosking says he thinks that quality, freshness, and price will differentiate Friends & Farms from other retailers and markets. Large baskets designed for a family of four will retail at $76, while smaller baskets for two will run at $51. 
The company recently leased a 4,500-square-foot office and warehouse space in Columbia as its distribution base. It currently employs four full-time employees with plans to hire additional part-time workers.
Hosking and co-founder Philip Gottwals have both worked in areas of community development, food and agriculture and finance. They are hoping to better connect busy, working people with high-quality, fresh foods straight from the farm and sea.
"We really want to work in the food system, and many aspects of it aren't functioning well, some may even say it’s broken. We are putting our money where our mouths are with this project," Hosking says.
Friends & Farms will host a launch event May 31 at Boordy Vineyards in Hydes.
Source: Tim Hosking, co-founder of Friends & Farms
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Hamilton's Clementine Restaurant Opening at Creative Alliance

One of Hamilton's best known restaurants is expanding to East Baltimore.
Clementine, the Hamilton restaurant focused on farm-to-table foods and meals will open a new location, Clementine at Creative Alliance May 17, says Clementine owner and chef Winston Blick.
The 49-seat bistro will be a slightly more upscale and 'downtown' version of Clementine in Hamilton, which does rustic comfort food, Blick says.
The restaurant will be a partnership between The Creative Alliance and Clementine, with Clementine managing the restaurant. The Creative Alliance built out the restaurant and recruited Clementine to fill the space, Blick says.
More than four years ago, both parties were interested in a partnership, but Blick thought the space was too small and Blick ended up opening Clementine in a space in Hamilton. Ironically, the restaurant is the same size as the original Clementine prior to its renovations two years ago, Blick says.
"The great thing about this is that we have the chance to do it again," Blick says.
As for the cooking duties, the current sous chef at Clementine, Jeremy Price, will take over as chef at the new location. Jill Snyder, formerly of Woodberry Kitchen and Top Chef season five contestant, will become the executive chef at Hamilton's Clementine, Blick says.
Blick says he's slightly removed himself from daily cooking to work on menus and bringing in fresh, local produce and meats for his restaurants from area farms.
Some of the farms that partner with Clementine include Prigel Family Creamery, The Zahradka Farm, and the Hamilton Crop Circle.
Blick's other venture, a market called Green Onion, will open this week or early next week up the street from Clementine in Hamilton. The market will carry local dairy products and meats, dry goods, and other locally made products like laundry detergents, jams, and jellies. The market will also bring in chefs such as Snyder to offer classes and workshops.

Blick told Bmore Media that the shop is a cross between Atwater's and Milk and Honey Market
Sources: Winston Blick, owner of Clementine
Andre Mazelin, theatre and rental manager at the Creative Alliance.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

IT Support and Hair Braiding Come to Hamilton-Lauraville

From children’s hair-braiding to a market stocked with locally grown produce, Hamilton-Lauraville is home to several new and soon-to-open businesses.

Last week, Kinkx Studio, a kid-focused braiding studio opened at 2926 E. Cold Spring Lane. The studio serves children aged three to 14. The studio relocated from Charles Village from an office building to attract more traffic, says owner and CEO, Angelique Redmond.

The studio recently offered a deal on Living Social and more than 100 deals have been purchased, Redmond says. The studio also provides free movies, music, games, and refreshments for its young clients.

Redmond invested about $10,000 in the move, and the business currently has three employees.

On May 1, Supportech MD Inc. will open at 4517 Harford Rd. The business provides computer support for small businesses and will also offer drop-off computer repair services. Previously located in Towson, the relocation gives the business more space for the price, says owner John Lemonds.

For those looking for fresh, local food options, the long-anticipated Green Onion Market will open this spring, likely in May, says Regina Lansinger, director of Hamilton Lauraville Main Street.

Last year owner Winston Blick compared the market to a cross between Atwater’s and Milk & Honey Market.

Regina Lansinger, director of Hamilton Lauraville Main Street
Angelique Redmond, owner of Kinkx Studio
John Lemonds, owner of Supportech MD Inc.

Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Chesapeake Bay Trust To Award Green Grants

The Chesapeake Bay Trust is considering applications from towns and cities in Maryland and neighboring states to spur economic development, energy efficiency and sustainable communities. The trust is awarding a total of $400,000 in environmental grants to the Free State and Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. 
The grants are for a program called Green Streets-Green Jobs-Green Towns. The program was introduced in 2011, a partnership of the trust, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Maryland.
This year’s funding more than doubles the amount available in 2011, when 10 cities and towns received grants from $25,000 to $35,000 each for their projects. A maximum of $100,000 may be awarded for a project.
Janna Davis, the trust’s acting executive director, expects to award eight to 12 grants in 2012, depending on the amount requested for the project. The winning projects will be based on EPA criteria.
Previous projects ranged from storm water improvement to local roadways, planting trees and creating rain gardens, using energy efficient sources for street lighting, instituting recycling measures and creating and training people in green jobs.
“We want people trained in green jobs so they can then become the experts” in that field, says Davis.
The grant program is open to local governments and nonprofit organizations in urban and suburban communities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed area.
Source: Janna Davis, Chesapeake Bay Trust acting executive director
Writer: Barbara Pash

Fells Point Wine Bar V-NO Opening Little Italy Location

Baltimore wine lovers rejoice: Little Italy will soon have another wine bar. 
V-NO, a wine bar in Fells Point, plans to open a new location within the next three to four months with a similar concept but twice in the space, says owner Mark Bachman.
Located in the old Fallsway Spring building at 415 S. Central Ave, V-NO's new location, V-NO II, will push the company’s concept of providing sustainable wines even further. Currently 70 percent of the wines at the Fells Point location are sustainable. Bachman plains to expand the sustainable wine offerings by featuring wines on tap.
Nationally, a growing amount of quality vineyards are offering wines in small, reusable stainless steel containers as opposed to bottles.
The packaging solution is a win-win for vineyards, businesses purchasing the wine, and the environment, Bachman says. Less packaging lowers costs for all involved and also dramatically reduces the carbon footprint. Plus, the first glass is as good as the hundredth, Bachman says.
In terms of the ecosystem, it's the best way to drink wine, Bachman says. He hopes his customers in Baltimore will also buy into the idea.
"It just makes sense. I've got a six year-old son, I want to leave the world in a decent place for him," Bachman says.
Additionally, the wine bar will offer light food and a larger selection of wine. V-NO II will occupy 25 percent of the Fallsway Spring Building. The 1,500-square-foot store will be located on the Eastern Avenue side of the building. Bachman plans to employ six people in the new business.

The building's developer, Larry Silverstein, is responsible for several other redeveloped retail and restaurant buildings in East Baltimore. His Union Box Company is the developer for the Holland Tack Factory, home of Heavy Seas Ale House and Red Star Bar & Grill, among other projects.
At one point, it was reported that the developer wanted to turn the space into condos with retail and office space. Silverstein bought the building for $750,000 in 2007, according to state property records.  

Source: Mark Bachman, owner of V-NO II
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]


National Main Streets Conference Headed to Baltimore

Baltimore's neighborhoods will have a staring role in next month's National Main Streets Conference, as Charm City becomes the first city to host the conference twice. The yearly conference was last held in Baltimore in 2005.
Conference organizers hope to send a message to attendees that small businesses and main streets across the country are thriving and local development is on the rise. The conference, titled "Rediscover Main Street,” will be held April 1-4 at the Baltimore Hilton.
Baltimore's small-scale development, from urban gardens to craft brewing, will be featured throughout the conference. Organizers plan to use the city as a "living laboratory" for what makes successful neighborhoods, says Mary de la Fe, program manager for conferences at the National Trust Main Street Center.
Baltimore has been successful in creating and sustaining innovative practices within neighborhood economic development and the hope of the conference is to highlight some of the success that Baltimore has had, de la Fe says.
"We really try to make sure we're showcasing the city, the preservation efforts and the uniqueness of the city," de la Fe says.
The conference, an initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will be co-hosted by Baltimore Main Streets, part of the Baltimore Development Corporation.  Currently, 10 main streets exist within Baltimore including the Fells Point and Hamilton-Lauraville Main Streets.
The main street model was developed in the 1980s as an approach to economic revitalization and has since been implemented in over 1500 communities across the nation. The approach focuses a combination of historic preservation, supporting and recruiting businesses, organizing a volunteer base, and neighborhood promotion.
Around 1,300 professionals who work in local economic development are expected to attend the conference that will provide educational tours and workshops to help managers of main street programs maintain or create vibrant, sustainable downtowns.
Amy Cortese, journalist and author of "Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit from It," will provide the keynote address.
While the majority of the conference is open to registered participants only, a free overview of the main street approach will be held Sunday, April 1, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m at the Baltimore Hilton and is open to the public. 

Source: Mary de la Fe, program manager for conferences at the National Trust Main Street Center.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding

Woodberry Kitchen Owners to Open Cafe in Hampden

Woodberry Kitchen’s Spike and Amy Gjerde will open a coffee shop at Hampden’s Union Mill this spring.

The 1,500-square-foot café will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Allie Caran, the lead barista at Woodberry Kitchen will manage the store, Spike Gjerde says.

Also still in the works is Half Acre, a fast-casual eatery that the Gjerdes will open at 3801 Falls Rd. in the middle of this year. The 75-seat restaurant will serve lunch and dinner and employ 30, Gjerde says. The restaurant is also opening an office at Union Mill for about half a dozen employees at the cafe and restaurants.

The café will be under construction next month and open in March or April, says Michael Morris, the real estate manager for the Gjerdes’ restaurant ownership group behind Woodberry Kitchen, Artifact and Half Acre.

One of the area’s first farm-to-table restaurants, Woodberry Kitchen is one of the Baltimore area’s most popular restaurants. It earned the accolade of Bon Appetit magazine, which named it one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America in its September 2009 issue.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen; Michael Morris, real estate manager

Howard County's $29M Ellicott City Library to Open Next Month

Howard County’s is debuting its largest branch next month — a $29 million new building in Ellicott City expected to bring in one million visitors per year.

Opening mid-December, the new Miller branch will replace an aging building with three times the space and, hopefully, a LEED Gold certification.

The 63,000-square-foot library will include a stone bridge, a garden to hold science and technology education and a terrace that will serve as an outdoor classroom or a spot where guests can listen to acoustic guitar concerts.

Yes, you just read library and acoustic guitar in the same sentence.

The site will house the Howard County Historical Society and a history education center, including genealogy resources, says Valerie Gross, CEO of the Howard County Library System.

A 3,000-square-foot meeting room will allow it to hold best-selling authors like Jodi Picoult, who will make an appearance March 16. Gross says she expects up to 600 visitors for the event, some coming as far away as New York.

A garden located in a quarter-acre park will be the setting for health, science and environmental education. It will include a pizza garden – a garden growing tomatoes, onions, green peppers and other vegetables to encourage kids to order vegetables on their pizza.

Howard County, and a $2 million grant from the Maryland State Department of Education, provided funding for the building.

Howard County Developing New Master Plan

Widening Route 1, enhancing libraries and other services, and including more affordable housing could all be part of a new Howard County master plan that will be adopted next year.

The county devises a new master plan every 10 years to ensure that zoning and other regulations can accommodate new jobs and housing.

A task force is currently weighing several changes to the master plan and will put together a draft by the end of the year, says Marsha McLaughlin, the county’s director of planning and zoning. After getting input from the public, the proposal will go before the planning board, followed by the Howard County Council.

Widening Route 1 to include bike lanes, sidewalks and trees will likely be part of the plan, though the county has to determine how to pay for this, McLaughlin says. Offering more affordable housing is also on the map for the county, which has many of the state’s wealthiest zip codes.

County officials will also examine whether the Route 1 corridor needs more schools, senior centers, libraries and other services.

The county will need to look at how it can sustain its quality of life while accommodating future population growth, McLaughlin says.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Marsha McLaughlin, Howard County Planning and Zoning

Clementine Owner Opening Grocery Shop in Hamilton

The food options keep growing for residents of the Hamilton/Lauraville neighborhood.

Clementine Owner Winston Blick is opening grocery store and café Green Onion at 5500 Harford Rd. in July. Rich Marsiglia, owner of Hamilton Vacuum & Janitorial Supply, and Baltimore Tattoo Museum's Bill Stevenson are Blick's partners on the new business. Located one block from Clementine, the store is a cross between Atwater's and Milk and Honey Market, Blick says.

Blick says a grocery store will hopefully bring more families to the area and make it a better place to live. He also wants to introduce shoppers to local farms that will supply the produce, meats, and cheeses. Sauces, charcuterie, dressings, and soups from Clementine will be sold at the store.

Green Onion is the latest food venture for the area. Hamilton Bakery opened at the end of April. The area is also home to top-rated restaurants Chameleon Café, Hamilton Tavern, and, of course, Clementine.

The store will sell 30 types of cheeses, along with olives, soups and sandwiches, and bulk laundry detergent supplied by local business Healing Fields Whole Body Care LLC. The grocer will focus more on fruits and vegetables rather than dry goods.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Winston Blick, Green Onion and Clementine

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