Do I dare to eat a peach?
This time of year, the answer is a resounding “yes!” Particularly if it’s on top of cake.
Starting July 1, it will be time to stop by Fenwick Bakery on Harford Road for that favorite Baltimore tradition: a big ol’ slab of peach cake.
According to the bakery’s owner, Michael “Al” Meckel, 61, the local staple comes courtesy of German immigrants, like Berger cookies and Old Bay seasoning. Back in the 1800s, new arrivals used Pennsylvania peaches in place of plums to make a favorite sheet cake from back home.
Centuries later, peach cake remains a top summer seller at Fenwick Bakery, which dates back to 1913, though Meckel notes other places sell peach cake, too. Among them are: Woodlea Bakery on Belair Road, Simon’s Bakery in Cockeysville and Parkville’s Weber’s Farm.
Fenwick Bakery’s version hasn’t changed much since Meckel became a co-owner in 1993. But it will now cost more than usual, Meckel said. “Unfortunately, [peaches] are a lot more expensive this year, as with everything else I’m afraid.”
In this week’s non-peach-related news, I’ll have updates on Red Emma’s, new vendors for Lexington Market, plus information about a new restaurant and bar coming to Owings Mills, and tell you where you can find Baltimore donuts and coffee in New York City. But first, meet Baltimore’s self-professed “internet celebrity.”
‘I’m an internet celebrity’
Heritage Smokehouse in Govans shared an intriguing message left on their answering machine from an unhappy customer claiming to be famous, at least on the internet.
“I’m an internet celebrity and I can [mess] up your entire business,” said the Baltimore-accented caller, who didn’t identify herself or leave any contact information, and seems to be a bit of a Karen.
Owner George Marsh said he started laughing as soon as he heard the message. Working in the industry, he’s used to customers losing their cool on restaurants, taking out their personal grievances on an unsuspecting server. But this message seemed a cut above the rest. The caller, who complained that the restaurant has messed up her order, left a message on Monday, when Heritage was closed.
Marsh says staff are considering naming a drink after the caller and calling it, of course: Internet Celebrity.
Everyone’s favorite radical bookstore and café, Red Emma’s, has completed its move to its new “forever home” in Waverly at 3128 Greenmount Ave.
But give them some time to rearrange furniture, will you? They’re not ready for guests just yet. The collectively-run shop will have a soft opening in late July, according to co-founder Kate Khatib, with a grand opening this fall. “Right now we are impatiently awaiting our fire suppression system approval,” Katib wrote in an email.
Red Emma’s announced last year that it had purchased two buildings in Waverly and planned to start “a multilevel community coffeehouse, bookstore, and social center.”
Brews & Barrels
Restaurateur Vic Chibb is placing his bets on Owings Mills.
Chibb, an Owings Mills resident who also owns Taco Bravo in Timonium, will open Brews & Barrels in the Common Brook Shopping Center. The 5,000 square foot location was previously home to Artful Gourmet and received approval for its Baltimore County liquor license late June.
Opening mid-September, this will be the second location for Brews & Barrels, which also has a branch in Gaithersburg. On the menu: 50-60 bourbons, as well as American classics like burgers and ribs.
Cloudy Donuts expands to Brooklyn, New York
You’ll soon be able to have coffee and doughnuts from Baltimore in New York City.
Cloudy Donuts, a Black-owned shop with branches in Baltimore’s Hamilton and Federal Hill neighborhoods, is opening a third branch in New York’s Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. Opening this fall, the new shop will serve coffee from Baltimore’s own Black Acres Roastery.
“The community’s already very excited for us to be there,” said spokeswoman Zewiditu Jewel Ruffin, who goes by Zewiditu Jewel.
The move is part of what the company’s founder, Derrick Faulcon, who also owns Federal Hill’s Home Maid, calls “reverse gentrification”: providing Black-owned businesses with access to affluent neighborhoods. On the menu: the shop’s signature powdered donut, which Ruffin says “feels like you’re biting into a cloud.”
New vendors announced for Lexington Market
With just months to go until Lexington Market’s grand opening, Seawall Developers continues to announce new tenants for the city-owned market.
Now it’s Sunnyside Café and Lumbini Nepali Fusion. Opening this fall, the Lexington Market branch will be the second location for Lumbini, a Nepalese fusion concept owned by Narayan Thapa. The restaurant’s current branch on North Charles Street specializes in items like samosas, naan and mango lassi.
Meanwhile, Sunnyside Café, owned by husband and wife team Charles Miller and Kristian Knight-Miller, will offer a brunch-focused menu that includes Cap’n Crunch French toast, grits and biscuits. The business’ previous location, on Monument Street, was destroyed by an electrical fire.
Small business owners and city officials alike have big hopes for the $45 million Lexington Market, which is set to open this year.
“We’re making good progress, we’re still saying it’s an early fall opening,” said Paul Ruppert, head of the Baltimore Public Markets. “It’s looking good in there.”
While some vendors have expressed concerns about the project’s cost and whether it will turn the market into a “food court,” Ruppert says vendors selling fresh food and staples like bread and spices make up about 20% of the market. “We have a good mix,” he said. “Part of the challenge is finding vendors who are interested in running fresh food stalls.”
City officials are still looking for a butcher shop and additional produce stall to open in the market.
Baltimoreans are still waiting for market anchor Faidley Seafood to sign a lease on the new building. Earlier this year, Mayor Brandon Scott tied an infusion of $4.9 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to ensuring the longtime vendor would be at the new market.