South Baltimore Business Roundup

| August 16, 2016 | 2 Comments

Culinary Architecture Opens in Pigtown

Culinary Architecture, the creation of Union Square resident Sylva Lin and Piper Booher, opened at a previously-vacant space at 767 Washington Blvd. in Pigtown. It will sell prepared foods, local artisan groceries, and a small daily to-go menu with items including sandwiches, salads, soups, quiches, and Australian meat pies. Menu items will vary based on what is available from local farms. It will also offer a personal chef service and catering.

Groceries at the market include sauces, jams, rice, greens, dry goods, waffle mixes, baked good, cheeses, homemade yogurts, canned goods, food packages, and more. It will also host a Bacon of the Month Club. Beverages will include coffees, teas, and two house-made beverages each week. Customers can also pick up custom fruit syrups to make drinks at home.

Culinary Architecture is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 7pm.

Photo courtesy of Culinary Architecture’s Facebook page


Convention Center Expansion and New Arena?

Maryland Stadium Authority recently approved a year-long, $1 million study to examine the possibility of an expanded Baltimore Convention Center and new arena. From an article in the Baltimore Business Journal:

The study would consider both a stand-alone Baltimore Convention Center and a hybrid facility inclusive of a hotel and arena as well as determine how big the expansion would be. The complex would be bound by Pratt, Charles and Conway streets.

“The convention center is already fallen behind as it relates to its peers in terms of size and it is already losing business,” said Michael Frenz, the Maryland Stadium Authority executive director.

Frenz and McGuigan said the study is just testing the proposal out to see if a hybrid project could be done. The city is currently looking into a study that would keep the Royal Farms Arena open for a limited schedule while renovations are done.

Minimum Wage Raise Defeated

A bill to raise the Baltimore City minimum wage to $15 per hour was essentially defeated on Monday night. Without the votes needed to move it forward to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the bill was sent back to committee. A new mayor and likely eight new City Council members will take over in December.

From The Baltimore Sun:

City Councilman Robert W. Curran, chairman of the labor committee, said he wouldn’t bring the matter out of the committee unless he’s sure there were eight of 15 members ready to support it. That could mean the bill wouldn’t get another vote until December, when eight new members who Clarke said are “more progressive” will join the council.

In a survey of 322 Baltimore businesses by the Baltimore Development Corp., 97 said the bill would cause them to reduce hours for workers, 69 said they would lay off workers, 56 said they would close, and 33 said they would move out of Baltimore.

Planit Teams with Hofmann Brands 

Hofmann Brands has tapped Federal Hill’s communications, marketing and interactive agency Planit to support its retail expansion into new markets. Hofmann, which is based in Syracuse and known for its sausages and franks, recently opened a corporate office in Downtown Baltimore. From a press release:

The agency will also support the launch of new products, including the company’s Handwich brand featuring Hofmann Brands franks and sausages wrapped in artisanal brioche or pretzel rolls. The Handwich is available in Kielbasa, Jalapeno Sausage, Cheddar and German Frank varieties, as well as recipes inspired by flavors from across the globe.

“We are on a mission to expand beyond our Syracuse roots and create a nation of sausage aficionados,” said Reginald Bailey, CEO of Hofmann Brands. “As an agency with a finger on the pulse of the market, proven success in building brand awareness, and a similar swagger, there’s no doubt in my mind that Planit will get us there.”

CUPs Coffeehouse Closes in Hollins Market 

CUPs Coffeehouse closed in Hollins Market at 31 S. Arlington St. It posted the following message to its Facebook page:

Dear Customers,

Four years ago my husband, Brian, and I embarked on a simple mission to build a coffeehouse that would provide employment opportunities for a few local youth. That mission morphed into something far bigger, better and more important than I could ever envision. Through your patronage we have been able to provide a safe, nurturing environment where hundreds of young men and women not only learned how to be baristas but learned what it meant to be valued and loved. Just this summer alone, 65 youth worked with CUPs!

Since our launch of the Share the Love campaign over 300 homeless men and women have enjoyed a free cup of coffee and a meal. Your generosity to pay it forward allowed these men and women the chance to experience dignity and acceptance. Thank you.
I will NEVER forget how you protected CUPs during the uprising in 2015. To many, the uprising represents a time of fear, violence, and chaos, however, to me it represents a time when we came together as a community, put aside our differences, and showed great compassion and understanding for one another. It is with that same spirit that CUPs held the first community dinner. Since then we have held 5 community dinners, serving over 1,000 residents.

Many of you stepped outside the traditional role of customer and have volunteered in CUPs’ numerous community service projects. Together we have cleared lots, planted gardens, built 7 BookBoxes, gathered clothing for hurricane Katrina victims, put on festivals, and lead workshops. You probably had no idea what you were signing up for when you sipped your first cup of java at CUPs!!
As you can imagine, running a coffeehouse like CUPs is anything but traditional. We have strived to break molds and barriers – and we have done so successfully. We set out to make a tiny difference, and I think you will agree that our impact has been anything but tiny! Today, 65 youth will graduate from our summer program, South West Summer Works (made possible through a partnership with Hollins Creative Placemaking and the Summer Collaborative) and I could not be prouder. However, today also marks the day that we must close our doors at Hollins Market. Simply put, the financial burden of sustaining a program of this magnitude in Hollins Market is no longer feasible. We will continue our work in East Baltimore and are humbled by the opportunity to reach a new community, though southwest Baltimore will always have a special place in our hearts.

While today marks the end for CUPs at Hollins Market, it is with gratitude and love that we say farewell. On behalf of the CUPs staff, we hope that you have felt the love we have for each of you in every cup we’ve served. 

Holly Shook-Gray, Executive Director

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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.