March 7, 2007


It is really great that so many of you are sharing your suggestions and ideas!

I think most of us would be happy with a Restaurant, whether is sells alcohol or not. The Challenge is attracting a business to Catonsville, that doesn't count on alcohol for part of their revenues.

Several of you have suggested National Chains, that offer Mexican food. While they would probably do very well here they bring an entire new set of issues:

First of all Baltimore County Does Not want any more Fast Food on Frederick Rd. And I agree, we can do better.

I have contacted several of the businesses, that have been suggested,and I can tell you that they either want to be on Rt. 40, with its higher traffic count and drive through. Or they want to be in a shopping center.

The operators of the suggested Restaurants also want the existing buildings torn down so that they can put up their, homogenized, muti duplicated, pre-fab structures. Do we want Catonsville to look like everywhere else?

The idea of splitting up the hardware store into stalls like Belvedere Square, sounds beautiful. But, at most, maybe two of the Vendors from Belvedere could share the space. It is just not large enough to be split up. By the way, people can enjoy an alcoholic beverage at Belvedere Square - Like it or not, Alcohol is always a big draw. A key element to the success of any Revitalization Project.

When this site was started, part of our mission was to find out if the community thought it was a good idea for us to save the old buildings. Now, that the intersection at Frederick and Bloomsbury has been rated as a Failed Intersection. It is no longer even a viable option to tear down the buildings and build something new.

Our focus now, is to determine the best businesses for the existing buildings. We would also like to know, if Restaurants are put in, would it be a good idea to have a courtyard for outdoor dining and community events. Or would the space be better suited for a few more parking spaces.

We have had some entrepreneur's with very interesting ideas contact us lately. It is really exciting. Please keep this dialogue going so that we can be sure and pick the right businesses.

As Always, Thank You for Your Input! Craig


lb said...

I have a question -- does the liquor license restriction apply to a "bring your own" type of place? Is this an option you are pursuing?

Anonymous said...

Have you looked at Savage Mill to see what has been successful there?

Great Harvest Bread, Co said...

We are the Great Harvest Bread Co. and we have just learned about the intended use of the site in Catonsville from Craig.
Great Harvest is a community based old fashion bread store in an new fashion world - - we are a retail store and we make our living selling bread "out the front door" and not by putting it up on store shelves.
Great Harvest is community based bakery. We work very hard to give back to the community by working with local schools, service groups, senior centers and other organizations. It is our philosophy that the only way to thrive is to be a true part of the community that you live in and work in - - we practice this daily.
Great Harvest is a small franchise and they have some really strong beliefs in Running fast to service customer, being loose and having fun, baking phenomenal bread and giving generously to others. This is what drew us to become Great Harvest owners. We opened our first store in Columbia last year. Our store is starting to gain it legs in the community and each day we have new raving fans who discover the wholesome goodness of whole wheat bread and the products that we make.
this is a Freedom franchise and that means we have a good bit of latitude in what we do but we have found that the franchise has some fantastic business ideas and we love what we are doing and the way that we are doing it.
Daily we grind our own wheat, we make fresh each day 5 to 7 breads, sweets are also made fresh each day and we sell gourmet coffee that is roasted weekly to our order by Caffe Pronto in Annapolis - - also owned by a Catonsville resident, like us. Daily we serve fresh made sandwiches and soups - - the menu is limited but the quality is outstanding!
As Catonsville residents we would love to be able to open a site in our town.......... the question is, is this a store that the community wants and will support? Is there enough health consciencousness and love of fresh bread in the town to support this concept? It takes at least 300 customers a day to make a store work and that means that there has to be a substantial desire to have this type of store here.
We don't do bagels, we aren't a Pannera and we don't do cakes or donuts. We just do bread and sweets from our wheat but you won't taste anything better.
We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this concept. You can come and see what we are talking about by visiting our store in Columbia at 8835 Centre Park Dr (443-542-5912) we are 1 mile from the Target Shopping Center and you can get to us by taking Rt 29 to 100 E. Go 1 mile to exit 1 C. Go 1.5 blocks and we are on the right with 1st Mariner Bank. Stop in and see what you think about the concept and the bread - - our bread board is up each day and we give out generous samples of each bread every time you come into the store - - it is our gift to you.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts
Jane and Pat Hipsley and Chris Bory

Anonymous said...

Main street Ellicott City attracts a lot of foot traffic with nary a single big box store. I think we can do the same here in Catonsville and I applaud your efforts to do so! It can't be easy!

Besides the box store trips, my family and I most often leave Catonsville for:

Mexican food (that place on St. John's Lane),

Coffee/tea and pastry (Old Mill),

Excellent French food (Tersiguel's),

Good fresh seafood to cook at home(Today's Catch in Columbia),

Dance clothing and shoes (Columbia),

Children's activities (gymnastics in Columbia).

And Panera Bread on Rt 40 sure seems to be the new hotspot for lunch and dinner among the Moms I know -- frankly, I prefer to AVOID Route 40!

I don't care if a restaurant sells liquor, even if a good margarita does hit the spot. The BYOB option seems reasonable, though perhaps less profitable for the restaurant owners.

I also agree that a Trader Joe-esque small grocery market and cafe that carried organic produce and fresh staples would be a nice-to-have here in town.

And I love Seminole Sampler. Maybe we need a good hobby shop? Those are hard to find...

Or perhaps you could talk Miss Lisa (owner of Turning Pointe Dance Studio) into taking some of your space and then also inviting a dance supply store...

Or something like the Melting Pot - a destination restaurant because it offers something unique.

Another restaurant that was and is still very successful in my college town of Ithaca was the Moosewood ( - a very famous vegetarian restaurant. This kind of restaurant in conjunction with an organic foods grocer might prove to be very popular among students and residents alike.

Good luck!

Craig W. said...

I believe that BYOB is allowed by law. But, none of the restaurant owners have been impressed with the idea.

I will look at Savage Mill and see if Anything there could work in Catonsville. We have had Many Requests for a Rams Head.

Great Harvest could be nice, in addition to a restarant or 2. What do the other reaaders think? Here is your chance to vote on a specific store. Please leave comments for or against this idea. Craig

A.J. said...

Great Harvet sounds great to me. I would love to send my son to pick up bread for dinner every night. Just as I had to do as a kid. A trader joe's type place also sounds great. I also try to avoid Rt 40 as much as possible.

My mom is a retired Italian Chef. She had a successful BYOB restaurant in New Jersey. She did not have a liquOr license but what she did was genius. She made a wine list with the local liquOr store. They were across the street from her place. When a customer wanted a wine, she would call the liquer store and they would deliver. She charged a small corking fee. This proved very successful. Granted the hours between the two establishments have to mesh but if you forgot a bottle of wine, the restaurant could help you attain one.

Anonymous said...

i walked out of tanneytown deli today, without buying lunch. they were too crowded. may be they would move into one of your places.

Anonymous said...

I have never been to Great Harvest, but, it sounds like a place that would do great in

maureen said...

All of the energy around this project almost eases the loss of Muir's!
Although I think Great Harvest Breads would be a great addition, and the idea of our very own Beleveder Square-type market is very appealing, I suggest you contact Catonsvillian Ned Atwater whose stand at the Catonsville Farmers' market has made his breads, sweets, and Ploughboy soups very popular here and whose business in Belevedere Square seems to be doing very well.

Another wonderful eatery might be Sarah & Desmond's which just lost its lease in Ellicott City in the past few months. I loved their great food, hospitality, and quirky atmosphere. I believe they were doing quite well without a liquor license.

Good luck with the project.

Anonymous said...

can you build apartments for student housing on your property?

OC said...

The Great Harvest Bread Co (GHBC) sounds wonderful, but I wonder if Catonsville can sustain the daily numbers they'll need to survive (hence the 'no thanks' from Starbucks, etc...). The idea of a Belvedere Square type market could still be a possibility if the Atwater-type businesses could exist on a smaller scale - as well as enticing some of the already smaller businesses that are thriving there. These businesses do not require the numbers that the GHBC does. In addition, if the upstairs of Muirs was utilized for such businesses there could possibly be room for a greater variety of shops! More shops/variety means more customers. I also can't believe that this type of facility would need to have alcoholic beverages served since it would lend itself more to shopping and/or meals on the fly.
Craig, I think you should revisit this concept and give it some serious consideration. With all of the issues surrounding this site, the idea of a single occupant certainly makes good business sense for you, but maybe thinking outside of the box even a little bit more could bring solutions sooner than later.
My vote is to keep the area designated for outdoor use vs. additional parking.

Anonymous said...

Hi Craig --

First, thank you for your efforts to bring new business to Catonsville while at the same time retaining its character. We enjoy patronizing independently owned and operated businesses and would love to see a few new establishments on Frederick Road. Have you considered a bread bakery, such as Great Harvest? This would complement our existing bakeries because while Catonsville Bakery specializes in donuts and Sugar Bakers specializes in cakes, Great Harvest specializes in bread. The closest bread bakeries to Catonsville are Great Harvest and the Breadery, both in Howard County. I think it would be popular because during the Farmers' Market, the Atwaters stand does a very brisk business.

Another idea to explore is a specialty cheese shop. There used to be a cheese shop in Cross Street Market but it is long gone and the closest place to find a variety of fine cheeses is Eddie's of Roland Park and Fresh Fields. Baltimore has a cheese distributor (The Great Cheese) but no good retail stores for cheese, like Philadelphia's DiBruno Brothers and Claudios.

And, of course, we love the idea of a restaurant, not a chain, even if it is BYOB. We often go to Indian Delight and bring our own wine or beer. BYOB's are nice because your favorite beverage is always available, but without the mark-up.

Maureen Becker
Catonsville MD

Anonymous said...

CRAIG.....I know you are young, but I don't think that you are so young that you do not remember the very first Phillips in Ocean City.
However, maybe you are.

Anyway when Phillips opened in OC way back then, they started their restaurant with a B.Y.O.B. and now just look at them.

Go with your restaurant of choice, your customers will not mind bringing their own. Just to stay right here in Catonsville is a delight.

Good luck to you and your family, you are on the right trial.

Anonymous said...

You can post my email if you’d like. It’s funny you mentioned the Arts &Crafts Festival and the fact that village businesses are not included – I had thought about that when writing my email; I believe they are missing a valuable opportunity. It would be great to incorporate local businesses in the festival; for their own exposure as well as a way for them to support community events. I wonder sometimes exactly who has the final say in what is best for Catonsville , as it appears somewhat disjointed. It is reflected in the atmosphere of the village. To me, that’s what makes it different from other places, including Ellicott City .

I’d like to see you use the available land for a small park as opposed to parking. I have two small children and would love to have a place to walk to, maybe a tot-lot or picnic area to have a cup of coffee and visit with neighbors. A tiny “Village Green” would be a terrific addition to the area and I would think the foot traffic would increase business. Maybe the surrounding businesses would chip in and help with this type of venture. Am I a dreamer or what!!

Thanks for listening!


Anonymous said...

Why not a drugstore? Paradise has one. A drugstore would carry many items used and needed everyday!

Anonymous said...

Please not a national chain. Something original.

Anonymous said...

With sooooo many wonderful Mexican places to choose from in nearby Ellicott City (La Palapa, Mi Casa, etc.), why not see if another ethnic cuisine would be beneficial? Greek? Korean? Filipino? Malaysian? Peruvian? Brazilian? How about a Japanese Sushi restaurant for the student crowd?

On the Lighter Side!