Casey Jenkins is closing Darker than Blue on Greenmount Avenue

Casey Jenkins plans to reopen his soul food cafe in a Charles Village (Gene Sweeney Jr. / Baltimore Sun photo / November 23, 2011)

When The Sun's dining blog reported this week that Casey Jenkins was closing his popular restaurant Darker Than Blue in Waverly, I recalled Jenkins' frustrations with crime along Greenmount Avenue and wondered if it had played a role. 

In November 2011, Jenkins threatened to move the restaurant and disbanded a merchants association that he started. He said the city was ignoring the area, which at that point had seen five killings in less than three years.

"The city has really let certain neighborhoods go, and this is one of those neighborhoods," Jenkins said in 2011. 

But in a phone interview Thursday, Jenkins, who plans to start a new venture in Northeast Baltimore and possibly move Darker Than Blue to Charles Village, said crime wasn't the reason - though he said it will always be a factor.

"It's been fairly mild since around here since the last article was put out," Jenkins said. "It's hard for me to complain when places like West Baltimore are just having horrific crimes. Crime has spiked so bad in other places that it makes whatever happens over here look so minute."

Jenkins praised the former commander of the Police Department's Northern District, Sabrina Tapp-Harper, who now leads the agency's sex offense unit.

"There was more police visibility. Major Tapp-Harper did a wonderful job before she left, trying to curb whatever was starting to move this way," Jenkins said. 

Jenkins' new venture is a sports bar with famly-style Southern meals, located in the 6300 block of Belair Road - a decidedly more suburban location. 

He also said he believes Waverly is "ripe for change" and hopes it will be targeted for redevelopment. He ticked off a number of projects taking place across the city. "They need to take a more concerted effort aruond Greenmount. It's kind of like everybody skipped over Greenmount. Eventually, they can't keep skipping over this area," he said.