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March 14, 2010

Catonsville food scene revs up

LamborghiniI was in a long, slow line at the Catonsville Post Office yesterday, and behind me was a woman I know from the YMCA. We chatted as we waited, and she recalled the time she took her son to the home of a magnet-school classmate who lived in a swishier part of the county.

She pulled up and saw not one, but two, Lamborghini in the garage. She made small talk with the other mother at the front door, complimenting her on her beautiful home. The woman asked where she lived.

"Catonsville," my friend said.

"Catonsville," Lamborghini Mom replied. "It's getting" -- she paused, searching for the right word -- "better."

This exchange came back to YMCA Mom because I'd mentioned to her that after mailing my package at the Post Office, I was heading a few blocks down Frederick Road to Atwater's.

Atwater's recently moved its baking operations into town and opened a small storefront, right near Catonsville Gourmet, a terrific restaurant that is doing its part to overcome the days when that name would have been an oxymoron.

Eat your heart out, Lamborghini Mom.

I'd been to Atwater's many times in Belvedere Square, but yesterday was the first time I'd gotten to the Catonsville location, not far from my house in Southwest Baltimore. The bakery is a very welcome addition to a stretch of road known more for independent music stores -- Bill's Music House, Appalachian Bluegrass Shoppe -- than for upscale food.

I'd hate to think Lamborghini Mom's conspicuous consumption is rubbing off on me, but I left Atwater's pleased but wanting more! more! more!

The bakery had Atwater's usual assortment of pastries and breads, but the menu is more limited than at Belvedere, where you can sit down and have soups, salads and sandwiches before moving on to dessert. There were only a handful of tiny tables in Catonsville, so clearly the aim is not to have a lot of eat-in business.

Some soups could be had for take-out from a self-service fridge. The fridge also had some interesting cheeses and local, organic eggs and milk. I like the idea that I can pick up that sort of product without having to schlep all the way to Whole Foods.

Maybe, as with the all the music stores, we'll start to get some good-foods synergy along the street. Can Appalachian Grass-Fed Beef Shoppe be far behind? How about Bill's Artisan Cheese House?

I expect to see a Lamborghini parked on Frederick Road any day now.


AP photo


Posted by Laura Vozzella at 10:39 AM | | Comments (15)


Gee, I moved to Arbutus when I was about 15, we considered Catonsville a step up, and a real nice place to live. I went to Catonsville High, and while there weren't any Lamborghini's on the student parking lot, there were a few Corvettes.

I would be willing to bet that Atwater's in Catonsville will expand its offerings if the demand warrants. That is what happened at Belvedere, where Atwater's is taking over more and more of the retail space.

I seem to recall something about UCLA: "Upper Catonsville, Left of Arbutus."

Good job. Much better than you regular column. Not nasty. Why don't you change jobs?

Sounds good to me! LV

Don't forget Sugarbakers, also in amongst the music shops on Main Street. They make a mean Smith Island cake. I hope Atwaters doesn't hurt their business.

you talking about swishier and YMCA in the first paragraph? You got some 'splainin' to do

Don't talk it up too much, LV. Sounds like it's already hit early stage gentrification. Next thing you know, all the cutesy hipsters will be moving in and destroying the indigenous Catonion culture.

I hear they're already calling it CaVille.

Just moved to Southwest Central Catonsville. A nice place to live, I think. The locals are so colorful. I just love them. I hope to find a good group therapy for my dog. Know of any in the neighborhood? Now if only there were more places that sold fair trade coffee.

Catonsville Gourmet!
I like my Oak Forest. :)

Catonsville remains downscale. We can't even get a full-service Atwater's. I mean, how hard is it to serve soup and sandwiches?

From what I understand, Atwaters is not allowed to have seating due to the fact that they do not have their own source of parking. Street parking is apparently not sufficient for the city to approve them to have table service. It's a requirement, unfortunately, and the menu is likely limited as a result.

So, watch out Arbutus, Catonsville is a City on the...Grow!

Grilled Cheese Sandich shop and the H-Mart. Now, all they need is monorail to link up all these destinations.

Catonsville was always good. Just plain and simple, a good place. How could you beat a place with beautiful old big houses with awnings, an area with Catonsville High School, the Community College (Harvard on the Hill), Rolling Road Golf Course, and a nice country estate like loony bin like Spring Grove?

Is the Taneytown sandwich shop still there? What about the 828?

Catonsville downtown is junk like a bomb went off. Not a decent grocery store or place to eat within miles. People are not very friendly, don't smile and some very sketchy places. You finally have a decent bakery and a grilled cheese store. Wow.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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