Owner of Eddie's of Roland Park wants to add cafe to store's front

April 15, 2000|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

Shoppers at Eddie's of Roland Park could sit down for a cup of coffee, a snack and some kibitzing -- a staple at the 46-year-old neighborhood grocery -- if community groups and the city back the owner's plan to build a glass-enclosed cafe onto the front of the store.

The addition would have the feel of an outdoor cafe, with windows that could be opened during warm weather and tables where customers could order coffee, tea or food, according to plans presented to the Roland Park Civic League.

Eddie's owner Nancy Cohen said yesterday the cafe would be an extension of the informal gatherings that occur in the market on Roland Avenue. She said customers frequently ask for tables where they could stop to eat the thick brownies and crusty sandwiches sold at the store's bakery counter.

"When you go to other cities or you go out of the country, there are all these little outdoor cafes, and the area, it seems to me, would be conducive to that," Cohen said.

Cohen hopes construction could start this summer. But the project needs approval from Baltimore zoning officials, in part because the cafe would encroach on the small commercial district's deep sidewalks. And Cohen also wants the blessing of neighborhood groups, who are working on separate improvement plans for the area.

Architect George Thomas, who worked with Cohen to sketch out rough plans for the cafe, presented the idea to the Roland Park group last week. A similar presentation is planned for the Wyndhurst Improvement Association next week, Cohen said.

She declined to provide a copy of the plan, saying she wants neighbors to see it first. She also declined to say how much the project would cost, other than to say it would be "expensive."

John Stanton, a member of the Roland Park Civic League, attended last week's meeting. He said neighbors generally were receptive but want to study the project more closely to make sure it would complement other improvements planned for the area.

"People just want to look at it a little bit more, make sure it fits into the block and the neighborhood as a whole," Stanton said.

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