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.
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.
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.
any businesses discover it the hard way…a business is only as good as its marketing. That goes for customer-oriented businesses of course, but almost every company can and should benefit from better marketing, and there’s almost always something more you could be doing.
We’re talking about basics here, intuitive reasoning about how you as a bank, a diner, a hardware store, a bar, a clothing store, a carry-out, etc. etc., are perceived by the public. Practicing good business goes a long way (goods/services offered, pricing, accessibility, etc.). But before all that you rely on the visuals you provide to draw in your customers, be it your logo, brochures, ads, signs, menus, or website. And assuming you have a physical location, sometimes the most important thing may be your storefront itself.
Some bad examples…
These are extreme examples of course, but the fact is, walk to and around your closest city sometime and you’re bound to find some equally unfortunate visuals. Big-name companies like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s and countless others outsource much of their marketing with experienced marketing professionals, and justifiably so. But many smaller businesses can’t afford that luxury. Despite perhaps having a great product to offer, many businesses don’t know how to market themselves, never truly reach their potential, and have to close their doors when profits aren’t met.
As a real estate firm ourselves, we never like to see this happen with our clients, and offer services to landlords and tenants to ensure it doesn’t. And it would be great to see a bigger push to help the “little guy” thrive in our communities, from any avenue possible. After all, if we walk, ride, and drive these streets, we might as well make them look their best.
estauranteur Tony Foreman and chef Cindy Wolf announced some time ago their plans for a second restaurant at the Roland Park Shopping Center, anticipating a spring opening. Foreman and Wolf already own the center’s Petit Louis, as well as a number of other local favorites like the Charleston, Pazo, and Cinghiale. But during construction in the center’s old deli space, however, they found structural damage that halted their progress.
The English tudor-style center was built in 1896 as the country’s first planned shopping center. As a historic site, the demolition and build-out of the space must be approved by the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP), the Civic League, and its Architectural Review Committee. The League stated that they have “already requested that the owner, tenant and architect make every effort possible to copy the form and appearance of the existing deli structure in their proposed plans.”
The former deli space will feature American cuisine and a wine list consisting of American and new world wines. They plan to have 100 seats in total, including 12 bar seats, and are aiming to hit the family-style demographic. If everything goes to plan, opening is now scheduled for this Summer.
For more information on Foreman Wolf, visit their website here.
ark View residents of Washington, DC (just South of Petworth) can anticipate an exciting addition to their community this May. The “Mothership”, a full-service restaurant/bakery will be opening at 3301 Georgia Avenue NW, formerly Brown’s Caribbean Bakery. It will be run by Stephan Boillon, founder and chef of El Floridano, a popular food truck operation that travels DC neighborhoods serving a variety of sandwiches.
The new brick-and-mortar location came with pizza and rotating deck ovens, industrial dough mixers, sheeters and shapers, a walk-in freezer and other equipment, all of which Boillon hopes to take advantage of. In addition to artisanal breads, he envisions “small plates, long braises, gourmet pizzas, Jamaican patties and other dishes” that draw on Caribbean and Latin American influences from his previous experiences in South Florida.
Planning a long-term stay, Boillon signed a 10-year lease at the location. El Floridano will continue to serve the DC area with sandwiches, while simultaneously promoting the Mothership at 3301 Georgia Ave. Renovations include two new restrooms, laying new pipes, creating a walk-in cooler, applying for a liquor license, and attempting to create a 45+ seat restaurant out of the former carryout.
For the full article by The Washington Post, click here.
his Spring, Baltimore can expect a great new nightlife hotspot. “Of Love & Regret” will be opening its doors in Brewers Hill at 1028 S Conkling Street, in what was previously the Natty Boh Lounge. The bar/restaurant brings together Ted Stelzenmuller (pictured left), chef and co-owner of Jack’s Bistro in Canton, and Brian Strumke (pictured right), founder of Stillwater Artisanal Ales.
The first floor will feature a pub featuring 23 drafts, many of them Stillwater brews, an extensive beer list, as well as a casual dining menu by Stelzenmuller. A second floor will serve as a “provisions” shop, selling a variety of gourmet products (some under the Stillwater name), as well as clothing featuring the artwork of Lee Verzosa, an Ellicott City tattoo artist whose artwork has been used in Stillwater’s branding.
Not unlike the artwork used in Stillwater’s branding, Strumke describes the final look and feel of the bar to be that of “old world modernism”.
Renovations are expected to be completed in the Spring.
For more information on Stillwater Artisanal Ales, visit their blog here.
For the full article by Baltimore Sun, click here.
eneral consensus is that since opening the first week of January, Tavern on the Square can only be described as an improvement to Canton’s most popular strip. The new bar/restaurant replaces the similarly-named Fins on the Square, as well as its previous decor of fish and palm trees. Instead, they feature a sophisticated setup of dark mahogany, an extended bar, and vintage photos of Baltimore in black and white.
It’s no coincidence the place looks akin to Blue Hill Tavern of Brewers Hill. Tavern on the Square is managed by part of the same culinary team, including executive chef Jeremy Thatcher, who brought along a number of his impressive menu items with him. Co-Owner Mel Carter describes the food as “contemporary American bar fare with a focus on local and game-oriented dishes.” That’s pretty obvious when browsing the selection: cuban pork belly sliders, venison chili, duck confit spring rolls, wild boar ragout, and pheasant pot pie to name a few.
If it isn’t already, I project the place to soon become a Canton favorite. And inside its doors I’m told business has been good.
Tavern on the Square is located at 2903 O’Donnell Street in Baltimore, right between Nacho Mama’s and Mama’s on the Half Shell. I’m sure they’ll have a website soon, but until then, find them on Facebook here. You’ll find they have lots of specials on different nights. (And be sure to check out their sizable menu.)
ecently, downtowndc.org reported that redevelopment rights had been selected for the Old Post Office Pavilion at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, one of Downtown DC’s landmarks for 100+ years. The General Services Administration (GSA) looked at bids ranging from “a hotel to a museum to a media center”, and ultimately chose the Trump Organization for the job.
Their proposed first-class hotel will include 250 rooms, a spa, conference facilities, as well as restaurants with café tables on the avenue that’s been called “America’s Main Street”. Preliminary plans would have the renovations beginning in 2014.
The 400,000 sq ft building and adjacent pavilion now lose $6 million annually due to underutilized space, low retail rents and high operating costs. In addition to enlivening the Federal Triangle, the new project should create 150-200 new jobs and pull in $7 million to $8 million in new tax revenues for the city.
For the full article, click here.