For lunch today, I ran off to Caton Ave. After you take the Beltway exit 11A into the city, the first exit off of I-95 is Washington Blvd. To get there, you have to merge onto Caton Ave. first.
There are a few places I have been to on and off of this stretch of Caton Ave. between Washington Blvd. to the south and Wilkens Ave. to the north. I have traveled it, oh, thousands of times in my life. I've had simple but filling foot longs at a popular corner deli, Polish sausages and franks from Polock Johnny's (map), food after my 9th grade semi-formal some - DAMN, I didn't realize it was THAT long ago! - and even a below average chicken curry from one of the increasing numbers of pizza-subs-and-curry houses that are popping up all over Baltimore. The one I reference is in Morrell Park, somewhere between Carroll Park and Patapsco Blvd. But you can find them everywhere from Pigtown to Mt. Washington to Hampden (so far, I've found six in the Baltimore area).
One place I have, again, passed by thousands of times but never thought to go into was the Caton House Restaurant (map), right off the Washington Blvd. off-ramp near the Violetville area, and next to the TESST College of Technology at Caton and Joh Aves (only hint about my 9th grade semi-formal - it happened before TESST was even built. No wait, they might've been building it at the time). Caton House is your average bar-restaurant, a bit less charming on the inside than Snyder's (off Exit 8), and less interesting on the outside than the Lansdowne Inn or Leon's (off Exits 9 and 10 respectively). And I don't know why, but as I said, I've never bothered to stop in. But it's a quiet neighborhood bar - as it would probably be at this time of the day.
Not a lot of people there for lunch, though I did get there after the lunch rush. If you stick to the sandwiches or burgers, you can order a drink and a side and you can eat for less than $10 - pretty cheap (make that $20 for the dinner platters). But bring a dollar or two extra for the tip. They also take Visa and Mastercard.
It took a little while to get my food, but I'm guessing it was made to order, so no complaints there. And the Reuben that I did order, though soggy and falling apart in some places, was still very tasty. The sauerkraut wasn't too pungent - some may like it very tangy on their Reubens, but I find that overpowering. As a result I could really taste the corned beef and the Swiss cheese a lot better. The thousand island dressing that usually comes on it was in a cup on the side - actually a plus, because I could regulate how much I wanted. Also served were a few pickle slices, which I usually devour though didn't really touch today. Along with the sandwich I ordered fries with gravy - better than most I've had - and a Diet something. Typical bar fountain soda, which seems to taste the same just about everywhere (a little more flavorful than dishwater), watered down enough that I couldn't tell if it was Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi (unusual for me).
Total cost of the meal was about $9.50. I left $2 tip for the waitress. Heck, I paid the same amount as I would have for two beers, and I usually leave a dollar for every beer anyway.
Places I visited:
Caton House Restaurant (bar & cocktails / American) - 1506 S Caton Ave, Baltimore, MD 21227; Phone: (410) 644-8496
- Would I eat there again? Yes
- Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Probably not
- Would I eat there again? Yes
- Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Yes