Monday, September 15, 2008

Exit 44 - Broening Hwy (to Dundalk)

As I mentioned before, you have to do a crazy U-turn thing to get to Exit 44 if you're coming from Essex. It's a bit easier, for me at least, to come from Glen Burnie and cross the Key Bridge instead. If you go this way, be prepared to pay the toll (of course). Through the toll plaza is really the only way you can get from Glen Burnie to Dundalk without completely going around the other way, or taking a boat. Coming from Essex you can get there a few ways. Exit 39 may be easiest: just take Merritt Blvd to Holabird/Wise, turn right and keep going until you hit Dundalk Ave. Let me go out on a limb and assume this is probably the way most people get here.

Broening Highway takes you past Turner Station and then Dundalk. I didn't find any eateries in Turner Station as I'd hoped, so I followed my GPS on to Dundalk Avenue. It first took me past the Logan Village Shopping Center, which is just a strip mall. I was almost drawn in by yet another Capt. Harvey's I had seen down here - or is it still open in this location? It sure didn't look closed. I wasn't so much drawn to the China Town Express (map) - no offense, just not in the mood for Chinese. I could have easily gone to the Blue Claw CrabHouse (map), but crabs are an investment in time that I couldn't make today. Dante's Frozen Pizza (map) intrigued me, especially since its enticing smell wafted towards me and my car. But I think it's one of those places that only sells pre-made frozen pizzas (hence, "Frozen Pizza") for fundraisers and taverns, so it was doubtful that I'd find anything to eat in here that I didn't have to throw in a pre-heated oven first.

And then I hit the newly refurbished Dundalk Village Shopping Center, next to which is a park and the Dundalk Patapsco Neck Historical Society. Here you can find probably find out interesting facts about the history of Maryland's Dundalk. Before you do a spit-take: yes, there are interesting facts about the history of Dundalk (of any place, really). John Smith, later famous for his escapades among the Powhatan Confederacy, set foot (though did not set up camp) in what is now Dundalk in 1608, circumnavigating the Bay until he eventually sailed back toward the James River. So Dundalk is one of the first places that Europeans ever set foot in what is now Maryland - another thing that someone raised in Lansdowne would be unlikely to know.

There are a few small shops in Dundalk Village, and a few small and not-so-small eateries. The Scoops Café (map), which has ice cream, is next to the Asian Diner (map), which has a buffet but from the looks of the menu also sells items a la carte. Towards the other end, on the other side of the Rite Aid, lies the Big Boyz Pizza (map), which you could easily miss since it's on the outer edge of the complex. The most prominent business is the Holiday Foods (map), a carry-out that sells everything from breakfast to subs to pizza. With this big place there, it's easy to miss the Village Coffee and Tea Shop (map) tucked around the corner. I almost missed this place and saw it quite by accident, when trying not to collide with a few college students hanging out in front. It's a small, dark and cozy little place that sells coffees, teas and baked goods of the cookie and bagel variety. I ordered a small cappuccino for $2.50, and two brownie bites for $1, and the barista engaged me in a brief, friendly conversation. This was a nice change from the last few minutes, as I had run into the gloomiest group of scowlers I have seen in a place of business in a long time. One whole store front I looked into stared at me with a sea of faces that just screamed "What the fuck are youse lookin' at, hon?" I gave a quick "Fuck you, too" nod and went my way. So the Village was a nice change from that.

Continuing north, you once again hit Holabird. Going back toward Merritt you hit a few more restaurants:

  • Tony's Pizza and Carry-Out (map) has a Holabird location. I would say it also has another one on Wise, but I'm not sure if that was the one that I found off of Exit 43 - the one that was closed down.
  • I can't find anything about Phillip's Inn and Restaurant (map), so some information would be appreciated. At least I could find something about Donna's Tavern (map), which touted its "Dundalk Idol" contest in April. Oddly, their website hasn't been updated since Dundalk Idol happened.
  • Won Xing (map) serves not just Chinese but also American subs. Or do they mean Chinese-American subs, Chinese subs and American subs, or just American subs and Chinese food-which-does-not-include-subs?
And, of course, there is Squire's (map). When I stopped off Exit 39, several posters cried "Foul!" when I failed to include Squire's in my list of restaurants. So I said they gave me an idea for a place to visit when I got this far. Squire's is a restaurant/carry-out/catering outfit whose massive operation you can see into as soon as you step to your left, into the carry-out area (to your right is the dining room, relatively empty at this time of day, around 1:30 in the afternoon). I would have picked up a menu from Squire's but they were out. I did get to see dozens of empty pizza boxes, ready to be filled with pizzas, as well as a refrigerator case by the door with pizzas and cans of tomato sauce. Their lunch specials lasted until about 2 or 3, so my eyes went right to those. After looking over the many pastas, pizzas and other Italian dishes, I finally decided on the lasagna ($7), which came with complementary bread. I did not know this, and I ordered garlic bread ($2) to go along with it. Total: about $9.

That's not a lotta lasagna

Once I had it at home, I was taken aback at the very small size of the lasagna. Sure, I'm all for small portion sizes. I mean, Americans really do eat way too large portions. But still, it was a little small for $7. At least it tasted good. I liked the flavor. It was nice to not get a "lasagna" with a hard, crusty layer of caked-on cheese to have to chew at, and equally nice to not be overpowered by the flavor of tomatoes so tangy that they make you wince. This was a smooth and soft (but not soggy) lasagna. It was just a little smaller than I had expected. But while I really liked the lasagna, I did not care for the garlic bread. It was a bit overdone, and tasted so.

Despite the garlic bread, this meal at Squire's (and the cappucino at the Village) was a pleasant if anti-climactic way to finish out my Beltway Snacking series. It hasn't sunk in yet, but yes, that's indeed it! All over, finished, no more. As I drove home with my lasagna I felt a very satisfying sense of accomplishment, in a job that lasted well over a year and 64 exits (counting A's, B's and C's, and exits that had nothing to eat, like that Park and Ride at the end of Exit 16A). Since my Beltway tour has now taken me full circle, back at the Key Bridge and on to Glen Burnie, I'm not quite sure how to end this series. I'll do some recaps in the weeks to come - favorites, maybe least favorites, places I missed the first time around, that sort of thing.

If there is one big thing I have taken away from this project, however, it is that there is much more worth exploring (both in terms of food and neighborhoods) in the Baltimore area than just downtown. It's that great feeling of being a tourist in your own town. I got to see parts of Anne Arundel, Howard, Harford and Baltimore Counties and Baltimore City that I never get to see much, and in some cases have never seen at all. And if anyone else tries it, maybe y'all can use this bit of foodie fieldwork as an inspiration.

Just don't spend too much.

Other photos -

Oh boy, breakfast pizza!

Nope, doesn't look closed.

Hey hon, I'm takin' a ride down Dundalk.
(and the Turner Station girls say:

doo da-doo, doooo doo da-doo, doo da-doo, doooo doo da-doo

And so it ends, as we see the Key Bridge in the distance. Okay, I'm cheating. This is the Key Bridge coming from Glen Burnie, not going towards it.

Places I visited -

Squire's (Italian) - 6723 Holabird Avenue, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 288-0081
  • Would I eat there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Probably, though I won't be ordering the garlic bread
Village Coffee and Tea Shop (coffee / tea / baked goods) - 3 Commerce Street, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 285-7270
  • Would I go there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to go there again? If I liked coffee more, sure
Places to look up later -

Asian Diner (Chinese / buffet) - 67 Shipping Place, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 288-9889

Big Boyz Pizza (pizza) - 3 Shipping Place, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 285-5800

Blue Claw CrabHouse (crabs) - 3443 Dundalk Avenue, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 284-9800

Captain Harvey's Submarines (subs - Is this location open?) -
3435 Dundalk Avenue, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 284-7772

China Town Express (Chinese) - 3429 Dundalk Avenue, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 282-2002

Dante's Frozen Pizza (pizza - pre-made and frozen for fundraisers) -
3417 Dundalk Avenue, Dundalk, MD; Phone: (410) 282-2910

Donna's Tavern (American) - 6607 Pine Avenue, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 633-6677

Holiday Foods (American) - 41 Shipping Place, Suite 1, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 282-5587

Phillips Inn (no information) - 7018 Holabird Avenue, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 285-8318

Scoops Café (ice cream) - 63 Shipping Place, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 288-1988

Tony's Pizza and Carry-Out (pizza) - 6922 Holabird Avenue, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 288-3300

Won Xing Carry-Out (Chinese / subs) - 6705 Holabird Ave, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 631-9900‎

Squire's on Urbanspoon

for Squire's

Village Coffee House on Urbanspoon

for the Village Coffee and Tea Shop


theminx said...

Squires = pizza. My favorite pizza in all of Baltimore. The sauce is what makes it - and it's different than the sauce they put on the pasta dishes. Their meatballs are good too.

Asian Diner used to be good (in the late 90s, with different owners). My then-fiance (now husband) had a house across Dundalk Avenue, on Colgate, and that would be a regular weekend dining spot for us.

Pigtown-Design said...

I used to work over there and we'd get Squires to deliver to our office on ucky days. Their food is okay. Been to that little coffee shop, too. It's too dark and glum for me. And being the somewhat prep-type that I am, i got a lot of stares and glares in Dundalk, hon.

K8teebug said...

I have been going to Squire's since I was a little girl. Their pizza is my favorite. I also really love their eggplant parm (an app. portion is enough to feed a small army).

I surprised at the small portion they gave you. It always seems that they give you too much food there.

Next time, don't forget to try the meatsauce and/or green pepper and onion pizza. They cannot be beat.

Anonymous said...

Next time you're out Dundalk way, get to the Hard Yacht Cafe - out at the Anchor Bay Marina. Hard to find but good. They bring in their crabs from the Blue Claw.

John said...

Anon: I actually did mention the Hard Yacht Cafe in my post about the previous exit (43), from which it looks a bit easier to get to. But yeah, I looked around and couldn't find it. Now you've given one ringing endorsement for both the Hard Yacht Cafe and the Blue Claw!

Anonymous said...

The captain Harveys on Dundalk Ave IS still open.

You also have to include Andy's Carryout. It's right in St Helena, on the corner of willow spring and cleveland. They close early. Say around 3pm, but good food.

Also, the open hearth has good food (a bit pricey if you ask me for bar food, but it is good).

Any Q's? You can Email me at

jeff said...

the village coffee house has a new owner that makes homemade food go to it is so much better then before the cook is part greek/italian her food is better then my grandmothers and she sells giftbaskets really cheap i got one with a digital camera in it for 39.99 it works great