altimore took a blow this past Friday when Patrick “Scunny” McCusker, one of Canton’s most beloved restauranteurs, passed away after his bicycle collided with a bus in Ocean City. McCusker was best known as the owner of Nacho Mama’s and its sister restaurant Mama’s on the Half Shell, both located on O’Donnell Street in Canton Square. He was 49.
I’ve known Scunny for over a decade. No matter how busy he was in the restaurant, he always had time to come by and hassle me about my affinity for the Redskins. He was like this with everyone. I grew up being taught it was good to be a character, and Scunny was definitely a larger than life character. I used to see him ride around in his Natty Boh car with his son. And he combined his love of Elvis with his love for Baltimore sports when he wore a purple Elvis costume to the Super Bowl when the Ravens beat the Giants.
My funniest memory of Scunny, though, is a sign he hung at Nacho Mama’s in the early days, which noted the remarks of friend Neil Tabor (I believe) who helped convince Scunny to open the restaurant: “It takes a Jewish guy to convince an Irishman to open a Mexican restaurant in a Polish neighborhood.”
He was much more than just a restaurant owner in Baltimore. Some have even called him the unofficial mayor of Canton. He was a real friend to the community, and a true philanthropist, whether it was taking pizzas to a local senior center once a month, or his involvement with Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that provides hospital and housing services to critically ill children and their families. Scunny, you will be missed.
owntown Salisbury can expect a new mixed-use development at the site of the former Feldman’s Building in early 2013. The property, recently acquired by River View Commons, LLC, will have open sight lines to the river front and on-site parking. Four different buildings comprise the 40,000 square foot structure, the most notably being a main 3-story building dating back to the 1800s and first used by wholesale grocers.
Demolition will begin in the Fall of 2012 with renovations occurring thereafter. The new owners have named the project River View Commons, and are looking to create office, retail and restaurant space. They also hope for city approval to construct a riverwalk along the Wicomico River and Mill Street.
hough craft breweries are seeing an increase in popularity in much of the U.S., Alan Newman, co-founder of Magic Hat Brewing, hasn’t found it easy to bring one to the nation’s capital. Newman heads Alchemy & Science, of Burlington, VT, and is looking to open breweries across the country in partnership with local brewers. The company is a subsidiary of Boston Beer Co., which is led by the flagship Samuel Adams label.
Despite interest growing in the DC area for locally brewed beer, Newman has so far had no luck in finding a suitable location. Looking for anywhere between 7,000 and 15,000 square feet, he has visions of a brewery that not only distributes beer but offers tours and samples, and sells ceramic jugs to visitors. The problem: DC presently has relatively little industrially zoned land, which is the zoning required for breweries that produce predominantly for off-site consumption.
Though discouraged, Newman hasn’t given up on a DC brewery. But in the meantime, his focus has shifted to other U.S. cities.
Read more at The Washington Post here.
etails are being finalized on a second location for Mother’s, the Fedral Hill bar and grille. Though the exact location has not been made public, the restaurant would be situated off Route 2 in Arnold, near Anne Arundel Community College. Owner Dave Rather (pictured above) hopes to finish the deal within the next few weeks, in which case the new location would open in the Fall.
Many former Federal Hill residents now live in Severna Park according to Rather, who lives in Anne Arundel County himself. The current location is known for its purple patio and Baltimore pride on Ravens game days.
For more information on Mother’s, visit their website here.
ethesda will see construction breaking on Rock Spring Center some time this summer. The 1 million square foot mixed-use development, located at Old Georgetown Road and Rock Sprind Drive, will include two office towers, a hotel, residential units and retail space. And Silverspot, a luxury movie theater owned by one of the largest theater companies in South America, will be included in the mix.
This will be the third location for the cinema, with a current home in Naples, FL and one set to open soon in Miami. The theater distinguishes itself with leather seats, spacier foot room, and above average snack offerings. In addition, they provide a full restaurant and bar to cater to the dinner-and-a-movie outing.
For more information on Silverspot Cinema, visit their website here.
altimore’s Broom Factory (3500 Boston Street) will pick up a new restaurant come this Spring: DelMarVa’s Southern Café. It should be a welcome addition for area residents, especially considering the recent closing of Della Rose’s Tavern across the street at the First Mariner tower. It appears this would be the first location for the café, although they have a website that almost seems to suggest otherwise.
They have a variety of menu options, from salads to burgers, and lots of breakfast items, some drawing from Southern influences. And they were sure to include a few items that speak to local taste, like the Chesapeake Chicken Sandwich, Lump Crab Cake Sandwich, and the Maryland Crab Cake Platter. It’s not always smart to judge a menu by its “cover”, but the Chesapeake Melt also sounded exciting: “Crab dip w/ havarti cheese on sourdough bread w/ Chesapeake aioli”. Mmm.
DelMarVa’s is also opening a second location in Arlington, VA this Fall, that will also include a “taphouse”.
wo new restaurants and a dry cleaner are expected to start tenancy late this summer at the mixed-use apartment complex in DC known as Mass Court. Located at 300 Massachusetts Ave NW, the 4,370 sq ft of street level retail space has sat vacant for some time, and all of it will be leased between the three new tenants.
One of the restaurants, Carving Station, will serve bistro food, sandwiches, and alcohol. The other is a new pizza restaurant called FAI Pizza. Taking up the rest of the space will be Mass Court Cleaners. The property was bought by CBRE one year ago, though its retail space has remained vacant for eight years.
fter 5 years of trying to survive, Della Rose’s Tavern closed its doors this past weekend at its Canton Crossing location. The area has remained undeveloped since the recession and financial troubles of First Mariner stopped any progress, and foot traffic hasn’t been enough to keep the tavern alive. They are the second tenant to leave the tower building.
If the retail development ever comes to fruition, it would mean much different activity of course. Public renderings in August showed a 140,000 sq ft anchor tenant with other shops and restaurants on a 31-acre site, and investors are pushing for Harris Teeter or Target to join. The site sits by the Merritt Athletic Club on Boston Street.
or many businesses, obtaining a liquor license can make or break your restaurant or bar concept, and it can often be a tedious and costly endeavor. Now a measure passed in Annapolis may help to change that, and it’s set to take effect in a few months. The bill was sought by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who aims to reform what he sees as an “archaic” system, while helping to spur economic development in the area.
Under the bill, through various means, more liquor licenses would gradually become available to business owners seeking them. It’s garnered a mostly positive reaction from local businesses, though those that already possess licenses worry the bill may devalue their investment.
Read more at The Baltimore Sun here.
arlier this week, our friends at Adventures in Baltimore Restaurants let us know of a great deal happening next Thursday, April 26 at Fogo de Chão in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. If you haven’t heard, or have never been, Fogo de Chão is an authentic Brazilian “steakhouse” that offers 15 different cuts of meat grilled to perfection.
I say “steakhouse” because it in no way embodies what in my mind I’ve come to know a steakhouse to be. The meats are prepared by gaucho chefs who also uniquely serve it with continuous tableside service. You eat to your heart’s content, notifying the chefs for more with the green card / red card system. In addition, their “salad bar” (in quotes for the same previous reason) offers over 30 items, including gourmet salads, fresh vegetables, imported cheeses, artisan breads, and cured meats.
A dinner meal goes for $50 a person, but whereas drinks and dessert would typically run you extra, the price includes both on Thursday, April 26. It goes to support Junior Achievement of Central Maryland, in honor of Financial Literacy Month. But if you plan to dine that night, make sure you make reservations through the group at 410-753-3286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fogo de Chão is located at 600 E Pratt St in Baltimore, just across from the harbor. And if you’re DC-inclined, you can find them at 1101 Pennsylvania Ave NW. To find out more about Fogo de Chão, visit their website here.