Table talk: Artifact Coffee starts brewing in Union Mills

Baltimore has its baseball all-stars and its beer all-stars, too, with names like Loose Cannon, Resurrection and Snake Dog. Come to think of it, those would make pretty good baseball nicknames.

The city has always enjoyed its baseball and its beer, preferably at the same time, and you won't find a more entertaining guide to Baltimore's beer-baseball connections than "Baltimore Beer: A Satisfying History of Charm City Brewing, the new book by longtime Baltimore Sun writer Rob Kasper. Baseball is only part of the story Kasper tells in "Baltimore Beer," in which he makes exhaustive research and comprehensive knowledge a smooth-reading pleasure.

Thursday at Gertrude's, Kasper will host a Locavore Beer Dinner featuring an all-star lineup of Baltimore-area beers, including brews from Heavy Seas, Brewer's Art, Flying Dog and Stillwater Artisanal Ales. Complementing the tasting will be an array of Charm City culinary specialties like Old Bay popcorn, coddies and grilled beer-smoked sausages. Dessert sounds wonderful: fried ice cream empanadas with Stillwater folklore ice cream, Brewer's Art Resurrection creme brulee and Heavy Seas Peg Leg Stout macaroons.

The cost for the dinner is $40. Autographed copies of "Baltimore Beer" will be available for purchase. There is limited seating for the event. Call Gertrude's at 410-889-3399.

A Woodberry project Artifact Coffee, the new seven-day-a-week casual stop-in for breakfast, lunch and early dinner from Amy and Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen, opened on June 16. Located across the light rail tracks from Woodberry, in the restored Union Mills complex, Artifact Coffee is more than coffee.

A Morning Kitchen menu features egg sandwiches, fruit cups and Pullman toast with Five Seeds honey and homemade jam. The Day Kitchen menu, available all day, includes soups, salads and sandwiches like a bacon, Tennessee green tomato and lettuce on Pullman toast.

Dinner options will change daily and will be single plate suppers, including housemade pastas, braised meats and stews.

The interior space is lavishly appointed with reclaimed wood, cast-concrete countertops and chestnut bar-tops, which have been mounted to the stone walls with hinges fashioned from old silo doors. Greg Magliacane, lead bartender at Woodberry Kitchen, made the centerpiece eight-seat farm table out of reclaimed oak. 

Orders are taken at the counter, where customers are given — instead of a number — a folksy token to take to either their table or counter.

Artifact Coffee, at 1500 Union Ave., is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. No reservations are being taken.

Call 410-449-2287 or go to

A new diner operator The Hollywood Diner has a new operator and a new name. The winning proposal for the restaurant — which served as a principal set in the 1983 movie "Diner" — was submitted by the Rev. Richard White Jr., who will run the city-owned property as Hollywood Diner presents Thomasino's Pizza Subs & Pasta.

Funded entirely by private donations and opened in 1984 as the Kids' Diner, the restaurant was originally run by city schools and the mayor's office as a job-training program for youths. It had been leased since 2001 by the Chesapeake Center for Youth Development. White said he had just started working with CCYD when that nonprofit's lease was terminated by the city late last year.

White said his training program will teach everything from basic restaurant skills to business management. After six months, trainees will be eligible for permanent positions at the restaurant, and after one year, they will get a percentage of the business.

"We're going to have great food at reasonable prices," said White. "People are going to feel good about spending every dime here."

White said he hopes to have the diner open by the week after Labor Day.

An earlier version of this article had an incorrect date for the Locavore Beer Dinner at Gertrude's. It is Thursday. The Sun regrets the error.

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