R.I.P. Noah’s on the Side

The picture you see here is the carryout container I fished out of the recycling, to have a little moment of silence for it….It contained the last chocolate sea salt tarts I’ll have, but I didn’t know it then, so we just happily ate them, thinking there would alwasy be more. Such innocence.
I’ve been meaning to write about Noah’s on the Side for a a couple of weeks now, but hadn’t gotten around to it. Now it’s an epitaph….another worthy small business bites the dust.
I stumbled onto Noah’s a few months ago, out in Howard County on Route 40, at the other end of Victoria Plaza from Jason’s Liquors. Thought it looked interesting and stepped inside.
I was entering the foodie world of Sharon and Russell Braitsch…Russell helped put Corks in Baltimore on the map, and Sharon had worked at severa NY restaurants, and Linwood’s and Peerces Plantation locally.
Their dream was to make chef made food available for carryout for the rest of us. And people loved the idea….their espresso marinated flank steak was soooooo good, and roquefort mashed potatoes sublime. But for me, it was all about the chocolate sea salt tarts. My first purchase at Noah’s, these tarts deserve a place in the food hall of fame….pastry filled with a dark earthy caramel, topped with smooth chocolate ganache, and a sprinkling of sea salt. Sweet, salty, …unbelieveably delicious.
But I won’t be having any more of them. Their customers received emails yesterday, saying they were now closed, and thanked everyone for their patronage. A neighbor who also loves Noah’s, says they just ran out of capital, and that was the end of their dream.
It reminded me of a beautiful little antique business that opened years ago in Granite MD, on Old Court Road. An old stone school house became Schoolhouse Antiques. The older couple who owned it told me they had sunk their retirement savings into the place, and “sure hoped it made it”.I honestly worried for them, and encouraged them to try to get some free publicity from different venues, because they reallywere off the beaten path.
While I shopped there several times, I went back last year, and Schoolhouose Antiques was no more….it was now a private home. A family now occupied the rooms that had been filled with pretty antiques, the owners hoped customers would purchase.
Every business I drive by that is shuttered makes me feel the same….it’s the death of someone’s dream. No one opens a place expecting it to fail…it’s opened with excitement and dreams of success…then reality slowly begins to sink in, and then the final decision…it’s over.
Life is tough out there for small business owners, which is why I really do try to give them my patronage. I like to see them make it, but such a venture is not for the faint of heart or the under-capitalized.
I miss Schoolhouse Antiques, and I miss Noah’s on the Side already. Oh, Russell Braitsch is already in the kitchen of the highly regarded Salt Restaurant, downtown. Talented chefs can always find a kitchen happy to have them, so you can try his cuisine there. But I will never have another chocolate sea salt tart that good, I think.


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