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Eats and Drinks

Comings & Goings

Photo: Noah Scialom, License: N/A

Noah Scialom


Breathe-ing new life into Hampden

If you’re not convinced that Hampden can sustain another coffee shop, don’t mention your concern to Susan Weis-Bohlen, owner of breathe books. She’s been energetically raising funds (with the help of the Kickstarter-like site Indiegogo) to launch a cafe in the bookstore’s converted house, on the Avenue, that will spill out onto the wraparound porch when the weather is warm. “Book sales are down,” Weis-Bohlen says. “We have to adapt to the new reality,” which includes expanding into new areas of business.

The place aims to fill a niche, eschewing white flour and white sugar in its menu of vegan, gluten-free, and Ayurvedic-influenced treats prepared by Renee and Don Gorman, once of the health-foody Puffins in Pikesville and, more recently, fixtures at the Waverly farmers market. Weis-Bohlen also hired Joanne Goshen, of the defunct Louie’s Bookstore Cafe, as cafe manager. “Louie’s has been in my head the whole time,” Weis-Bohlen says. “When Joanne sent her resume, I thought, This is unreal.” (810 W. 36th St., [410] 235-7323, breathebooks.com)

Stone mill takes a Village

Stevenson Village, which recently lost 10-year tenant Coffee with Tea, seems to be embracing Alfie Himmelrich with enthusiasm. On opening day of his new branch of Stone Mill Bakery last week, he reports, “the place was packed.” The renovated spot, in the charming shopping center where Baltimore County starts to look like serious horse country, isn’t far from Himmelrich’s Green Spring Station location. “It’s convenient to get to,” he says, “so it makes my life easy.” In addition, he admits the pristine (read: upscale) locale offers “a customer base we understand very well.” If Stone Mill seems pricey, Himmelrich understands. “Pricing is a funny thing,” he says. “The value of community in today’s world is greater than money.” And the premium prices, he points out, are passed on to wages, meaning happy employees and low turnover. “For a few dollars more than Panera, you can see the same people making your food who have been making it for 15 years.” (10415 Stevenson Road, Pikesville, stonemillbakery.com)

Martick’s goes back to its roots

When the Volstead Act was set down in 1919, the Martick family began selling moonshine from its tiny grocery store on West Mulberry Street. At one point, Harry Martick was sent to a Pennsylvania prison for selling liquor to a federal agent (though, apparently, he was released on weekends, enabling him to travel home and fill bootleg orders for prison staff). The legendary Martick’s operated post-prohibition as a legitimate bar, frequented by artists and writers, and, beginning in the 1970s, as a fine dining institution helmed by Harry’s son Morris. Sometime soon (late February or early March 2013, we’re told), the spot will reopen, taking on a new persona while remaining saturated in its storied past. The newest incarnation will be a speakeasy, with small tables, sofas, and classic cocktails inside, a discreet entrance with no signage and a bell for entry—designed to encourage an aura of exclusivity—on the outside. (Valet parking will be available.) The partners are Morris’ octogenarian brother Alex and nephew Steve Shockett, both attorneys who share office space, along with Brooks Bennett, who has been involved in restaurant projects in Harford County, Towson, and Baltimore City. “This is not a reproduction,” says Shockett. “We’ve got the original tile floors and tin ceiling. It’ll be the real deal.” (Martick’s, 214 W. Mulberry St.)

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