Atwater's cafe opens in Science + Technology Park

A local favorite is now offering its fresh and healthy fare in East Baltimore. Atwater's, a longtime Baltimore eatery, has opened its sixth location, in the 1900 block of Ashland Avenue, featuring handcrafted food made with seasonal, local, and organic ingredients. Its menu includes breads, soups, sandwiches, salads, local seafood, artisanal cheeses, pickles, and cakes.

The restaurant and market is the latest retail partner in the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins, the commercial core of the $1.8 billion mixed-use revitalization effort taking shape north of the university's medical campus. The growing list of retailers includes Walgreens, 7-Eleven, and Harbor Bank, with additional tenants to be announced in the coming months.

With more than 200 new homes planned over the next three years, there is a growing list of reasons to call this neighborhood home, says Andrew B. Frank, special adviser to Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels on economic development.

"It's all right here," Frank says. "Walk to work, take the Circulator to Harbor East, run or relax in the soon-to-break-ground six-acre central park, and send your child to Baltimore's newest school," he says, referring to Henderson-Hopkins, a K-to-8 public school operated by JHU.

Atwater's will serve breakfast, lunch, and early dinner, and will provide catering service. Its initial hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday to Friday; weekend hours could be added. The space, formerly occupied by Cuban Revolution, has indoor seating for 75 people and outdoor seating for 20.

As planned by Forest City–New East Baltimore Partnership and East Baltimore Development Inc., the 88-acre renewal district includes residences, offices, shops, a hotel, and Henderson-Hopkins. Construction is scheduled to begin in November on Eager Park, a six-acre recreational space that is considered the centerpiece of the development.

The new restaurant will be the sixth year-round location for Atwater's, which was founded in 1999 and operates at Belvedere Square, on Kenilworth Drive and Falls Road, and in Canton and Catonsville. Atwater's is also a seasonal vendor at the Waverly Food Market and other farmers' markets in Baltimore and Washington, and will participate in weekly farmers' markets in Eager Park.

Owner Ned Atwater says he decided to open a restaurant and market in the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins largely because of its proximity to the medical institutions.

"Being able to serve healthy food in an environment where all that healing is taking place is intriguing to me," Atwater says. "That seems like a natural thing. I was thinking it would be nice to be part of the healing process."

Atwater says that two of his daughters were born at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and that one of them teaches at a nearby school. Familiar with the area and enthusiastic about the revitalization activity underway, he says he is happy to be part of it.

"Any time you can be linked with an institution known as the world's best, that's something to be proud of," he says, referring to Johns Hopkins' reputation as a health care leader. "We're not diagnosing people. We're feeding people. Our mission is to serve healthy food and deliver great service. This is a great place to do it. We'll try to do our part."

Atwater says he expects the East Baltimore location to provide jobs for 20 to 30 people and that he hopes to expand the staff as the business grows.

More than 850 people now work in the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins, and 600 new and rehabilitated residences are occupied by more than 1,000 new and returning residents. Atwater's will be close to more than 22,000 employees, patients, and visitors who can be found at the adjacent Hopkins medical campus on most days.