So, you're driving down Fort Smallwood Road near Duvall Highway and all of a sudden there's this big pig looming in front of you. Up on the roof, a huge, pink porker with a chef hat and apron, carrying a tray with a drink and, uh, a doughnut.
The doughnut certainly makes sense. This is, after all, a a bakery. Complete with shelves full of pies and pastries, turnovers and tarts, cookies and cakes and danish.
But the pig?
Well, the two-story, cinder block building was a restaurant in the early 1950s when George Bolander and his father, bakers from Northeast Baltimore, took it over.
"It was Les Johnson'sback then," Bolander said. "He had a big rotisserie out back. So bighe could cook a whole pig on it. He had a drive-in window where you could get milk shakes and all."
They renamed the place 3-B's Bakery, but left the pig on the roof just because it wasn't worth the trouble to take it down. In fact, they attached a set of braces to the pig's ample stomach for the huge sign that announces "bakery" in vertical block letters.
Now, the bakery, where you can get home fries and eggs to go with your doughnuts and coffee most mornings or pick up the sodas and milk you forgot at the supermarket, is a long-standing landmark.
"When anyone asks for directions, you ask if they know where 3-B's is -- the place with the pig on top," says Larry Estell, who lives off Magothy Bridge Road and eats breakfast there twice a week.
And it's a gathering place for locals to eat sweets, drink coffee and chew the fat.
"Its a good hang out for all us old, retired guys," explained Harry Norris, a retired trucker who was sipping coffee there yesterday morning. "I come in here for the girls," he added,nodding toward Donna Rickert and another woman, who wouldn't give her name, as they hustled behind the counter.
"It's a good atmosphere here. A nice place to work," said Rickert. "And folks come in a lotasking about the pig. Mostly, they buy something, too."
Bolander and his father, John Bolander Jr., moved their bakery from Northeast Baltimore to Severna Park in 1950, then to Pasadena when they lost their lease on a building on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard in 1957.
The move was a good one, George Bolander said, because "people here are more eatable. They eat more. You know, church suppers and all."
For 33 years, he whipped up frothy confections in the kitchen for weddings and anniversaries, baptisms, bar mitzvahs and funerals. But hefinally tired of the work, which he called "too confining" because of the hours, and leased the building.
That lasted 18 months beforeBolander's son, John III, who has been "by my side since he was 12,"reclaimed the bakery and began rebuilding the business.
Most mornings, the younger Bolander is sifting flower and rolling dough by 3 a.m. to have everything ready by the time the bakery opens at 7.
OnFridays and Saturdays, he comes back in at 9 p.m. and stays all night to have enough doughnuts and turnovers for the usual weekend rush.
He agrees it's confining -- his weekend starts when everyone else's is ending -- but says working for someone else was worse.
"I tried that, but it didn't last very long. Then I was back here," he said.