The article relates the new food offerings at a strip mall development (the “MaGaw Plaza”) tucked between Apple Ford and Gramaphone on MaGaw Road. This collection of eateries (and a JHUAPL Credit Union) is billed as:
The site is designed to attract a lunch crowd from nearby office buildings and evening diners from surrounding residential neighborhoods, as well as patrons of the United Artists movie theater on nearby Robert Fulton Drive, according to [Manekin Senior Developer David] Meiners.
"We tried to get a mix of variety so there are different types of food to suit different tastes," Meiners said. "We're pretty comfortable that somebody could go to dinner at Greene Turtle and get a coffee at Orinoco and a dessert at Smoothie King."
My primary concern is the lack of connectivity. Yes, there are some sidewalks nearby, but most just end and do not easily link the nearby office buildings. The result is that most patrons, either lunch or dinner crowd, will be driving to the strip mall and driving away after. It seems that is the only way to use the center.
Secondly, the variety of fare offered is a little disappointing. In the interest of full disclosure, I have been to Greene Turtle and Orinoco (once, each, not in the same day), but an auto-dependent retail center that traffics in hamburgers, pizza, and burritos seems to be two wrongs that don’t make a right. (OK, yes, Greene Turtle has some salads, Atlanta Bread is not a really not a den of cholesterol)
Moreover, with very similar establishments nearby, we have to be near saturation in the fast-casual market. With respect to hamburgers, we already have a Ruby Tuesdays, Red Robin, Rocky Run, and Fuddruckers; all which have extensive hamburger menus. In the world of burritos, the Snowden Corridor already has Chipotle’s, Qdobas, Baja Fresh, Frisco Grille and Cantina (really, the only choice for burritos in Columbia), and now California Tortilla.
Lastly, the strip mall sits on land that was once designated the “Owen Brown Industrial Park.” This area was supposed to contain light manufacturing concerns and warehouses. Where people would be paid a wage that would allow some to live reasonably nearby. Now this piece of land contains many jobs that pay the minimum wage (or less for waiters).
As I said before, I have visited the establishments there, and will one day return. I’m just not feeling too good about it. Save me a parking space.