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New Shortline Café now open

Renovations at one of Charlestown’s seven on-site restaurants offer a fresh take on casual dining

Danielle Rexrode
February 18, 2019

Good food and great variety go hand in hand at Charlestown, Erickson Living's flagship community in Catonsville, Md. Seven on-site restaurants serve up outstanding cuisine with daily menus and specials ranging from much-loved comfort foods like meatloaf and pot roast to international fare. 

Now Charlestown is celebrating the re-opening of one of its signature dining venues, the Shortline Café. The café recently underwent a complete renovation as part of Charlestown's ongoing modernization project.

"We are thrilled to reveal the new and improved Shortline Café to the community," says Aida Blanco Galindo, director of dining services at Charlestown.

Diners can now enjoy fast, casual service for lunch and dinner in a new, streamlined layout with additional seating.

The Shortline's Executive Chef Paul Brewer has created a versatile menu that incorporates many favorite dishes, such as sautéed salmon, Philly cheesesteak sandwich, classic burger, and turkey club, along with some creative additions like the Chessie Club, a succulent crab cake club sandwich.

Hand-spun milkshakes and house-smoked meats, including bacon, pastrami, and corned beef are also among the new offerings.

"Thanks to Chef Paul, who is incredibly creative, our residents are able to enjoy everything from a simple cup of soup to a made-to-order meal featuring fresh, house-made ingredients," says Blanco Galindo. "He and his amazing team are excited to be back together and look forward to serving our residents in this beautiful new space."

Great food, interesting history

Located in the community's recently updated Cross Creek Station, the Shortline Café is named for Catonsville's historic Short Line Railroad, which began service in 1884. The Catonsville Short Line shuttled both people and freight between Catonsville and the mainline tracks of the Baltimore & Potomac (later Pennsylvania) Railroad for decades before ending operation in 1972 due to competition from streetcar lines.

This local heritage is featured prominently in the restaurant's décor as well as its menu. Several items like the East Side (a corned beef sandwich on grilled marble rye bread with Swiss, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing) and the Camden Yards (a smoked beef panini with Vidalia onions, horseradish, and Boursin cheese) are named for locations that the Short Line passed through, as well as long-standing businesses along its route.

"I am so excited for residents to enjoy all that the new Shortline has to offer," says Nathan Blumberg, Charlestown's associate executive director. "Charlestown has always been proud to offer fabulous dining for our residents, and the Shortline continues to enhance those options with delicious and healthy meals to fuel our community's active lifestyle."

The new Shortline Café also fits nicely with Charlestown's traditional meal plan, which provides one meal for every day of a given month at any of Charlestown's on-site restaurants or a 20-meal plan, which provides 20 meals in any calendar month. Both plans allow residents to allocate meals any way they choose—treating family and friends to dinner, eating multiple meals on the same day, or dining once a day over the course of the calendar month.

Endless choices

Of course, the Shortline Café isn't the only place to enjoy a bite to eat on Charlestown's 110-acre college-style campus. Six other popular dining venues offer a wide variety of delicious options to satisfy any appetite:

The Fireside serves up American cuisine with a fresh salad bar, chef-prepared entrées, and friendly tableside service.

The Terrace Café features a brick hearth oven, Teppanyaki grill, rotisserie, cocktail bar, as well as a covered alfresco dining area.

The Refectory, located in Charlestown's Historic District, offers a wonderful brunch and a variety of homecooked favorites throughout the week.

The Chesapeake is popular for its homemade soups, entrée salads, and signature steak and seafood selections.

The Atrium is known for spectacular views of the Baltimore skyline, grilled specialties, seafood selections, and a variety of vegetarian options.

And if you're looking for a casual place to enjoy happy hour with friends and watch the game, the Black Swan Pub can't be beat.

As for the Shortline, Blumberg says the feedback he's received from residents and staff has been overall positive, and he looks forward to sharing many delicious meals with friends and neighbors in the months and years to come.

"People are thrilled with the new venue and, particularly, the new menu," says Blumberg. "We now have a beautiful venue to complement the already wonderful food and staff.