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April 20, 2010

Noodles & Company comes to Charm City

Noodles & Company saladI'm not sure Baltimore needs yet another chain restaurant in the Inner Harbor, what with Cheesecake Factory, Hard RockCafe, ESPN Zone, etc., etc., etc.

But here comes one more place where tourists can have a taste of, well, everywhere else in America.

Noodles & Company opens its first Baltimore location in the Light Street Pavilion a week from Thursday.

At least as chains go, Noodles & Company is a good one, according to a Richard Gorelick review on the blog last summer.

Noodles is opening in a spot once occupied by a women's clothing store in the Light Street Pavilion.

It's in the same building as that other uniquely Baltimorean eatery: Hooters.


Noodles & Company's "Chinese Chop Salad," with sesame-soy tossed field greens, sprouts, carrots, crispy wontons and black sesame garnish. Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.
Posted by Laura Vozzella at 3:40 PM | | Comments (18)


Nothing like driving to Baltimore and eating noodles. Gee, HP had such promise in the beginning.

Captcha: badly ago

I love Noodles and Co. It is another chain, but it's a unique concept in the Baltimore area. It would be a great lunch spot for downtown workers.

It's a well documented phenomenon that tourists love crap. "let's go to Baltimore and get a Hard Rock Cafe Tshirt from *that* one!." etc.

I formerly worked at a museum in our fair city. We took great pains to stock our gift shop with unique and interesting items relating to the museum.

What were our best sellers? Pencils, dinosaur-head claw grabber thingers, bookmarks and about a dozen other items that would make Sunsations in Ocean City blush if they carried them.

Let them eat (and buy highly taxed and overpriced) crap.

Another place to get food for Lunch at Otakon that isn't expensive. I am always for that.

As chains go, Noodles & Co isn't too bad. They actually make some nice, spicy entrees. Better than another damn Subway or McD's...

I drop by the Hunt Valley one now and then. It's good, cheap and quick. Hard to beat.

How many more years until a Red Lobster shows up at Harbor Place?

It's a cheap viable alternative for a quick bite now and then. Having said that, Harbor Place was at one time a big tourist draw and suppossed to be a type of Baltimore Showcase. So, in that sense, it's sad that all the restaurants there are chains.

After going through security at BWI, I needed a couple of stiff drinks before getting on my flight (long story, Thanks, TSA) and I had the misfortune of having food in Phillips.

Now, it's just sad that anybody thinks that THAT mess is representative of Baltimore cuisine!

What a stupid name for a restaurant.

@Greg -- You know how they came up with it? They were just noodling around one day when indigestion -- I mean, inspiration -- struck.

It was just a matter of time before HP started opening more 'chains'. HP was intended to be new and now but that was 30 years ago. Everything (including the economy) changes. Better a Noodles or even burger joint than nothing at all. We visited Virginia Beach last Summer and their version of HP is sad to see. It is virtually devoid of stores, eateries and people. A shell. It is located right next to a wonderful Nautical Museum. The surrounding area is kept spotlessly clean and appears to be street safe. Puzzling. So if it takes a 'Noodles' to keep them coming to HP, let it be.

As someone who works near the harbor it's great to have another inexpensive choice for lunch. But it's sad that when my 10 year old niece visited last month even she noted that the harbor was "chain central" and we ended up having to leave the harbor area to get a non-chain meal.

Boheme Cafe, across from the Inner Harbor on Pratt is a cheap, very good, locally owned breakfast and lunch spot.

Funny (well, sorta) story about Boheme Cafe. I went in there the other day and asked for a regular machiatto. The barista looked confused. On their menu, they have a Caramel Macchiato. I said, just make me a plain macchiato without the caramel in it. Still confused. Finally, "So, you want a machiatto, but without any caramel? I've never heard of that."

Me: "Yes."

Starbucks effect?

Sean, everything is better with carmel, including, apples, macciatos, bacon, popcorn, etc...

Forget the tourists - downtown is hurting for some places for lunch. A lot of you probably don't roll through the pavilions in mid Feb but it is death in there. We need a chick-fil-A too but aparently they refuse to open one downtown. Maybe we could lump that in with the FIOS hearing.

So, in that sense, it's sad that all the restaurants there are chains.

FWIW, the American tourist experience has a longstanding history of relying on familiarity in unfamiliar environs.

The old stereotype of clueless Americans rolling through Europe searching for McDonalds? It's more appropriate than we'd care to admit.

Chains wouldn't succeed - much less be multiplying there if the formula of familiarity, standardization, and homogeneity didn't fit the market demands.

Between the business drones and tourists, I'm not particularly perturbed by the need for Harborplace to be dominated by chains. As long as they stay out of the neighborhoods, many of which are a relatively easy walk from the Inner Harbor anyways - even moreso with the advent of the Circulator.

Starbucks effect?


What's a "business drone"?

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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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