MindGrub Buys Former ‘Rachel’ Building on Fort Avenue for Coworking Pub Space

| November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

MindGrub President and CEO Todd Marks and wife Nikki Marks, who owns MindGrub Cafe and ShareKitchen, have purchased a three-story, 3,792 sq. ft. building at 554 E. Fort Ave. in Riverside. The building has been many restaurants over the years, most recently being Rachel New American Cuisine. The Marks will use the building to expand their growing businesses and create a pub-style coworking space called MindPub. Todd Marks said it’s a fusion of tech, food, and recreation.

MindGrub, MindGrub Cafe, and ShareKitchen are all located at McHenry Row in Locust Point, which is about a half a mile east of the Marks’ new building on Fort Ave. Todd Marks said it was more affordable to buy a building than to lease additional commercial space. He said his integrated digital experience company MindGrub, which currently has 120 employees, has outgrown its 20,000 sq. ft. McHenry Row office space and is adding employees at a rapid pace.

Nikki Marks has ShareKitchen filled with different food industry vendors, and has moved into a managerial role with the business. She looks forward to having more space for her own catering and culinary education business in the new building as well as using it as a test kitchen for new CBD-infused products that could include coffee and shakes.

The building currently features a first-floor bar room, small kitchen, and dining room; a second-floor large kitchen and dining room; and a third-story office space. The Marks plan on transforming the first floor into a “loungey” coworking space that can utilize the bar for events, entertaining clients, and socializing. MindGrub will move workers to the second-floor dining room and third-story office space. The large test kitchen will be used by Nikki Marks as well as some partnering businesses that are developing products.

Todd Marks said the building can comfortably fit about 30 workers. MindGrub plans on moving some of its employees, known as MindGrubbers, over tho the space in December. Coworking will likely begin in the second quarter of next year.

MindPub will eventually have a membership model that will include a food menu and drinks for members. Nikki Marks, who sold her food truck earlier this year, looks forward to bringing back popular food items such as her Todd Sandwich with BBQ pulled pork, sriracha pickles, deviled eggs, and bacon, as well as her Pumpkin Curry soup.

It will also be used to host MindGrub speaker series called Pub Talks. “It’s as if the pub became the office,” said Todd Marks. He said the traditional 9 to 5 business model is being blurred as workspaces are also becoming places for recreation fitness and socializing. MindGrub’s McHenry Row offices have virtual reality, ping pong, putting greens, and climbing walls. He looks forward to expanding on the concept of adult recreation space within a working environment.

The Marks will make some cosmetic improvements to the building, add a new MindPub sign, and will look to add a rooftop deck in the near future.

Todd Mark said MindGrub would eventually like to construct its own large office building in the future to house all of its businesses, which also includes its software incubator MindHub, and expand on its recreation offerings. He said he’d like to stay in South Baltimore and that Port Covington could be an option. Once completed, Todd Marks said they would look to turn 554 E. Fort Ave. back into a more traditional restaurant.

Photo courtesy of Nikki and Todd Marks 

Photos from a previous Alex Cooper auction listing for the building


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Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, 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 Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.