Dooby's has been operating in a preview version on Madison Street

Dooby's has been operating in a preview version on Madison Street (October 16, 2013)

Dooby’s will be opening on Oct. 26, according to owner Phil Han.

The 75-seat eatery will occupy the ground-level space in the Park Plaza building space that was once home to Indigma, one of the casualties of a December 2010 fire that swept through the building.

Han said he gets asked a lot whether Dooby's will be a cafe or a restaurant.

"We tell people we’re a cafe-restaurant," Han said. "I think we are a little bit different. We're trying to introduce a new category to Baltimore. If you come in at night, you'll have the option of coming in by yourself, or a group of friends, just to have a beer or hot tea with a daily pastry, but you can order a full dinner from the menu, too."

So, if you want to stop with tea and a pastry, that's fine with Han. "Our space is designed to look less like a morning cafe and more like a restaurant. But no one will be forcing you to spend a ton of money just because you grabbed a seat."

Folks have already gotten to know something about Dooby's, though. Back in July, Han opened a kind of preview version in a smaller, lower-level space within the Park Plaza. That space, which is called the Hatch, will remain under Han's control once Dooby's move into its permanent home upstairs.

The menu at Dooby's will be a significant expansion of what's being offered in the preview space.  “It will be a much more grown-up version than what we’re doing in the Hatch. Han has recently brought on David Mathie Bersch as chef de cuisine. Katie Boyts, whose savory scones, sticky buns and Fruity Pebbles cookies have already found a following, remains as Dooby's pastry chef.

Having a preview space, something of a novelty for Baltimore, worked out well, Han said. "We used that as an opportunity to find out what people were looking for and used that as feedback for developing our main space."

In planning Dooby's, Han said, "We were driven by our successes and failures within the Hatch."

On the same day Dooby's leaves the Hatch, Han will turn the space over to a contemporary home-decor firm named Zestt, the first in what he says will be series of temporary, or pop-up, tenants.

Dooby's will be open at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends. It will stay open until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until midnight on Friday and Saturday and 9 p.m. on Sunday.