The fellowship of Belvedere Square Market

By SIMON BOHN | September 22, 2016

Hobbits eat six meals a day: Breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea and supper. You could make a hobbit very happy at any time of day by taking them three miles due north of Homewood to Belvedere Square Market, a closed market best described as a gourmet food court.

Belvedere Square is great for weekends when you want to go somewhere fun with friends but no one can agree if it’s time for breakfast, lunch, brunch or perhaps elevenses. It is the kind of place you can go after eating a huge meal, look around and suddenly get hungry again. Belvedere has seven upscale-but-affordable dining options, ranging from the Neopol Savory Smokery to Ejji Ramen.

The array of restaurants surrounds a supply of shared table stock. If you go with a group, everyone can choose what appeals to them at the moment. The star and anchor of Belvedere Square is Atwater’s.

Occupying three market stalls, Atwater’s plays the role of bakery, coffee shop and American-fare restaurant in three dedicated operations. Since I was in the mood for elevenses (the hobbit meal between second-breakfast and luncheon) I decided to check out the coffee shop portion of Atwater’s.

Atwater’s has an excellent selection of coffees supplied and roasted by Durham, N.C. based Counter Culture Coffee. While it’s disappointing that they don’t use coffee from one of the local roasters, Counter Culture supplies excellent organic direct-trade coffee and is used by upscale coffee shops nationwide.

I ordered a pour over of a single origin Colombian coffee called La Golondrina and a croissant. The pour over, notoriously laborious for baristas, was done expertly. The inclusion of pour overs in Atwater’s menu allows them to offer enough options in filter coffee to please even the most adventurous coffee snob. Served in a lovely mug made by a Baltimore potter, the coffee was very good with a flavor profile closer to something from Central America with hints of fruity acidity and a light body, rather than the typical caramel Colombian ‘Maxwell House’ taste. The croissant was appropriately buttery and flakey and served as an excellent companion to the coffee.

The beauty of Belvedere Square Market is that I got to enjoy my elevenses coffee and croissant next to my friend who was slurping gourmet ramen for lunch. The Market is perfect for groups of friends with diverse (or divisive) tastes. With one of the best cups of coffee I’ve had in Baltimore, Atwater’s should certainly be on your elevenses radar.

You can also find Atwater’s breads closer to Homewood at Eddie’s Market and on Saturday mornings at the Waverly Farmer’s Market on E. 32nd Street and Barclay Street. The best way to get to Belvedere Square Market is by finding a friend with a car or using Uber. You can also take the 11 a.m. MTA bus or take a half hour bike ride.

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