As you sit in Savage Mill Cafe tucked in the New Weave Building of Savage Mill, you can't help but be conscious of the buildings' historic origins.
In 1820, Amos Williams and his three brothers received a loan from their friend John Savage to start a textile weaving business on the banks of the Little Patuxent River. Savage Mill - named after their generous friend - functioned as a textile mill from 1822 through 1947.
"I love being here," says cafe owner Ryan Belen, who was born and reared in Istanbul, Turkey. "It's a beautiful place, here at Savage Mill, and I like the feeling of being surrounded by history."
The main product woven at the mill in the 1800s was canvas, which was used first in making sails for the clipper ships that sailed in and out of Baltimore harbor.
During the Civil War, the canvas woven at Savage Mill was also used to make tents, cannon covers and other supplies for the Union army.
Later, Savage Mill became part of America's entertainment industry: Its canvas provided the painted backdrops for the first silent movies filmed in Hollywood from 1890 to 1900.
During World Wars I and II, Savage Mill again answered its country's call: Its canvas was turned into tents, cots, truck covers and transport bags used by U.S. troops in Europe.
On the menu
Like its setting, the menu at Savage Mill Cafe is simple. Look for salad platters: egg, chicken, pasta, shrimp or the three-salad selection.
Daily specials vary: Look for choices such as chicken fajita, crab cake sandwich, and cheese or vegetable lasagna.
"I go to the Jessup Produce Market, and if I see nice, big, fresh portobello mushrooms, I'll get them and offer portobello sandwiches for the special," says Belen, who graduated from the Baltimore International Culinary College in the early 1990s.
His portobello sandwiches also have cheese and crab meat in them.
In addition to the small salad bar, soup is offered daily (three choices in winter). The selection ranges from chicken noodle to Manhattan clam chowder to chicken and sausage gumbo.
Sandwiches range from corned beef to chicken salad. A gyro sandwich, the Power House (a vegetarian sandwich layered with cheese, guacamole, alfalfa sprouts and other greens on multigrain bread) and the Cafe Club (a triple-decker sandwich with smoked turkey, bacon and ham) are on the menu.
If you've brought along the kids, take heart, for Savage Mill Cafe has provided children's meals on its menu. Choose from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grilled cheese sandwich or chicken tenders.
Finish your meal with one of the assorted desserts - cookies, Danishes or cake.
The restaurant also offers beer, wine (Zinfandel or Chardonnay) or mixed drinks.
Savage Mill Cafe
Where: Historic Savage Mill, New Weave Building, 8600 Foundry St., Savage; 410-724-0060.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
Prices: $3.95 to $9.95
Credit cards: None - cash only.