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.
altimore County’s Eastpoint Mall sold Tuesday at auction for $30 million, despite state records showing an assessed value of $58.6 million. The winning bid belonged to LNR Property LLC of Miami Beach, Florida. Thor Equities LLC of New York had previously bought the mall for $112 million, nearly four times as much. It is unclear whether LNR Property plans to sell the mall again or keep it under their wing.
Eastpoint Mall was built in 1956 and underwent two renovations, once in 1991 and again in 2005. It is located at the intersection of Eastern Ave, North Point Blvd and I-695. It includes around 100 retail, restaurant and office tenants, with anchors including Burlington Coat Factory, DSW, Sears, Shoppers World and JCPenney.
For more information on Eastpoint Mall, visit their website here.
hillips announced plans to close its manufacturing and distribution facility this July, effectively cutting 100 jobs (13% of its Maryland workforce). The spokeswoman for the seafood distributor said that since the plant began operations in 2002, the company hasn’t grown as much as they’d expected. Warehousing will now be shifted to Merchants Terminal Corp. (now MTC Logistics), with further help from Dot Foods. Phillips may decide to lease some of the plant as office space for Baltimore tenants.
The company’s 8.5-acre headquarters on Fort Ave will remain home to their sales, marketing, research and development staff.
Read more at the Baltimore Business Journal here.
ince 2004, the Mechanic Theatre has sat dormant in the heart of downtown Baltimore. Now, David S. Brown Enterprises is seeking a permit for the theatre’s demolition. With the help of architects Shalom Baranes Associates, they’re hoping to build two 30-story towers to include 600 market-rate apartments and 150,000 sq ft of retail. Construction could begin in as early as six months, pending approval of the permit by the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.
The group had previously planned one hotel tower back in 2009, which could be what the above (top) rendering shows. In that plan, much of the infrastructure of the theatre was kept intact. No word on whether that will remain the case with the new design. The Mechanic Theatre opened in 1967 but after a few decades could no longer meet the production needs of major shows. Its demise coincided with the restoration of the Hippodrome Theatre.
Read more at the Baltimore Business Journal here.
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.
e’ve done a lot of posting about Station North lately. But we’re not the only ones to recognize the buzz. Baltimore Fishbowl recently posted on the district, comparing it to New York’s Brooklyn. They site a USA Today story where Baltimore came out on top among cities attracting young, educated adults over 25, and where “its vibrant arts and music scene is the most cited reason.”
Included in their post was this cool video on Open Walls Baltimore: http://www.voanews.com/templates/widgetDisplay.html?id=149226675&player=article
Read more about Station North’s offerings at Baltimore Fishbowl here.
lawsuit by Baltimore attorney Peter Angelos against the city’s $150M redevelopment of the “Superblock” has been cited as one of many to stall progress on the project. While Angelos and preservationists tried to argue the city had a duty to preserve portions of the site, the Court of Appeals has thrown the suit out, ruling that Angelos doesn’t have the standing to challenge redevelopment of the city-owned land.
Read more at the Baltimore Business Journal 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.
arbor East may not be ready to call itself a “shopping district” just yet, but gaining four new big-name retailers this summer should make it one step closer. As the Baltimore Business Journal reports, Anthropologie, J. Crew, Lululemon Athletica and MAC Cosmetics all plan to open locations there by the end of summer.
Anthropologie will take, 9,581 sq ft on the ground floor of the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel at 280 International Drive. J. Crew will occupy 7,188 sq ft at the Legg Mason building on 701 Aliceanna St. Lululemon Athletica will take 2,775 sq ft of space at 820 Aliceanna St. And MAC Cosmetics will replace Benjamin Lovell Shoes at 618 S Exeter St with 1,347 sq ft. This will be the first Baltimore City location for all four retailers.
Aside from the city’s tourist-y Harborplace and The Gallery, the closest true shopping destination has remained “The Avenue” in Hampden, a Baltimore melting pot that’s looking trendier by the day. But these four new additions should help solidify Harbor East as a popular daytime and nighttime hotspot for Baltimore. They join a growing list of shops and restaurants already in place, as well as the uniquely chic Landmark Theatres. As development manager for Harbor East Christopher Janian puts it, “The neighborhood is redefining urban life in Baltimore City.”
To learn more about what Harbor East has to offer, visit its website here.
altimore’s Station North Arts & Entertainment District has for the past decade been shaping to be one of the most appealing areas the city has to offer. Conveniently located near Penn Station, Mount Vernon, Charles Village, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and University of Baltimore (UB), the district has evolved into “a diverse collection of artist live-work spaces, galleries, rowhomes and businesses, nestled inside a culture that looks to be getting trendier by the day. And now news that the old Lebow Brothers Building at Oliver and Barclay Streets (visible from 83 N) will be restored into a $25M Baltimore Design School.
It’s quite a change from the now decrepit manufacturing plant that once churned out men’s suits nearly 60 years ago under the Lebow name. Before then, it was used by Crown Cork and Seal Co. as a steel and reinforced concrete plant in the early 1900s. For nearly 30 years now it has sat locked up and vacant, and in many ways vulnerable to the decaying elements of nature.
The development results through partnerships between the state’s Department of Education, the Seawall Development Company, and the Baltimore Design School, who will occupy the site as part of an expanding campus. Some of the old sewing machines left among the other molding garments and artifacts will be preserved for display, appropriate considering the new facility’s emphasis on fashion.
The Station North Arts & Entertainment District spans the neighborhoods of Charles North, Greenmount West, and Barclay. Some current destinations in the district worth visiting include The Windup Space, Joe Squared, and The Metro Gallery. It is also the annual home of Baltimore’s very popular Artscape festival.