Four months after winning a court battle to evict Warfield's, the Historic Savage Mill opened a new restaurant in its place, run by the family that owns Ma's Kettle a few blocks away.
"We're thrilled with the opportunity for us to once again have a restaurant that is commensurate with the quality of the Savage Mill and can draw customers,"said Stuart Title, sales and leasing director for the mill's developer, A. J. Properties.
The cafeteria-style restaurant, called Baldwin's, opened officially Saturday, but on Sunday owner Bobby Mitchell feted county residents and VIPs with his jazz brunch of smoked salmon, roast beef and ham,omelets, eggs Benedict, and the strawberries and chocolate perfectedby his catering business, Putting on the Ritz.
Mitchell is sole owner of Baldwin's, and co-owner with his mother, Mary Ann Mitchell, of Ma's Kettle on Baltimore Avenue and the catering business.
"WhatBobby did yesterday was phenomenal," said Title of the white-tablecloth, sit-down affair.
The Sunday jazz brunches, a weekly departurefrom the restaurant's cafeteria-line service, were the one feature Title said he
missed the most about the old Warfield's owned by Baltimore entrepreneur Mark Yumkas.
Yumkas opened the restaurant in April 1986 and sold it June
1988 to H & B Enterprises. The new company stopped featuring the jazz brunches and in two years began to have trouble with mill management.
Charging that H & B allowed "unreasonably" unclean conditions, including dirty trays and greasy countertops, and unsafe conditions, such as a smoky oven,
mill managementcharged that the 4-year-old restaurant had defaulted on its 10-year lease.
The restaurant failed a state health inspection in January 1990, but passed a follow-up inspection in April 1990.
Mill management tried to evict the restaurant in April 1990, but H & B countersued for $300,000 in damages. The resulting court case allowed the restaurant to stay in the mill for exactly a year, until a four-day trialthat ended in a jury verdict in favor of the mill.
The restaurantwas renamed Baldwin's, after a family that owned the cotton fabric mill, to distance the establishment from H & B's problems.
Title said he was sure Baldwin's would bring business to the mill, which has seen a downturn over the last six to eight months.
Mitchell said one of the ways he hopes to bring people to the mill is through catered events, such as weddings and bar mitzvahs.
"The Savage Mill offers you the sort of ambience you can't get in any of the major halls,"he said.
"Every night but Thursday and Friday, the whole mill closes at 6, so it's perfect for catering."
The mill is planning to open a "sit-down" restaurant sometime next spring or early summer, although Title said the mill has not yet found an operator for it.
The mill's renovated studio space, much of it for "demonstration-type" artists, is scheduled to open Nov. 1.