It was a dull, cloudy Sunday morning. A fire truck siren wails in the background as I got out of my car and moved toward the green and white striped ironings and the bouquet of yellow umbrellas that lined the sidewalk. As I walked towards what is known as Belvedere Square Market, an older man walks his small dachshund and greets me with a smile.
As I entered Greg’s Bagels I was instantly greeted by the smell of bagels and freshly brewed coffee. After staring at the extensive menu on the wall for a minute or so, I was ready to place my order. Greg’s wife Cathy placed my order for a toasted cinnamon golden raisin bagel with honey butter and a small hot tea, while Greg asked a familiar face how a home project turned out. I soon found a table on the side and observed my surroundings.
The shop opened in 1989 after Greg had been told how good his bagels were and that they were worth money instead of being donated to various production sets and agencies in the area.
As I observed the black and white checkered tile plastered on the wall a small drawing caught my eye on the wall. As I got closer I noticed that it was a caricature of the owner Greg in an outfit similar to the one he was currently wearing.
People from the area come to Greg’s for many different reasons. Jessica and Matt Thompson, shared that they enjoy coming to the shop because the food is good and Matt has been coming there ever since he was a kid. “We love them,” said the couple as they enjoyed their breakfast.
Greg says that for the most part he and his wife recognize the majority of the customers that come in and out of the shop because they have been coming since the shop opened, but when a new face presents itself they are eager to keep them coming back for more.
If you are in search of a small, warm, personal shop to grab a freshly made bagel Greg’s is the perfect place. It represents the “old-American standard of family run business,” said Valerie Sirani. “The only downside is the shop is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays,” Patrice Gruber.
Greg hopes to “stay in business and keep feeding people good food.”
If bagels are not you food of choice, don’t worry because a few doors down lies Atwater’s.
Atwater’s has an extensive brunch menu ranging from breakfast sandwiches and bowls, plates, which contain heartier options such as French toast, bottomless coffee for the coffee lovers, and an ice cream bar to top it all off.
What makes Atwater’s special is the fact they use locally grown and organic products in their food and everything they serve is made from scratch not frozen or pre-made. They even use coffee imported from Ethiopia and Kenya instead using a major brand like Folgers.
Ralph Magwood and his wife enjoy coming here on the weekends for breakfast. The service is great, the food is great, and the food is “not greasy, but fresh,” said Mrs. Magwood.
In addition to the food being fresh, the presentation of the food when it comes out to the customer is excellent. I even noticed how they place the freshly made preserve in a little mason jar. On top of that the waiters/waitresses are always eager to serve the customers and ensure they have the best experience possible.
Chris Godack says that she always runs into someone when she comes to Atwater’s and they have a huge variety and it is all good quality food. “It’s a little expensive but I don’t mind, it’s all to support the community,” said Godack.
“We really do care about our customers” said Sienna Chupek, a third year Atwater’s worker. Not only does the company care about its customers but also their employees. They ensure that their workers are also eating healthy foods while they are there.
This location of Atwater’s is the hub location however there are also locations in Kenilworth, Canton, Falls Road and Catonsville.
Last but certainly not least of the many food places located in the market is Shoo Fly, formally known as Shoo Fly Diner.
Whereas many places including the ones previously mentioned focus on a specialty item, Shoo Fly has a different approach by offering an extensive list of Southern cuisine and comfort foods. Like the other places this restaurant is also a firm believer in sustainability and obtaining many ingredients locally when possible. When an item is not obtainable, John Norman the manager told me that they often change up the menu and include different dishes based on what is available.
Shoo fly is “a great experience with a diner vibe.” The restaurant has three different dining options for customers to choose from. They have a diner area equipped with bars and stools. Upstairs, they have a main dining room for the feel of a family sit down dinner. Finally, they have a new patio that just recently opened up for those who enjoy siting outside while they enjoy their food.
Norman expressed that they use counter culture coffee at Shoo Fly and it is important to him to make sure the coffee growers earn their appropriate wages which often times they do not. Likewise, he wants to ensure that his customers feel good about what they’re eating and receive the best product possible.
Shoo Fly has something there for every type of customer. They have familiar comfort food items such as chicken and waffles, and they even have favorites with a slightly new twist such as the disco fries which contain cheese curd, bacon and pepper gravy.
Whatever your interest may be these places are sure to satisfy your appetite. In a time where everything is rushed especially our food, these places are here to ensure that we receive the quality we are paying for without being extremely expensive and sacrificing taste.