Soup Is On At Java Joe's (BBJ Story)
The soup's on again at Java Joe's, a downtown eatery that closed in March along with the rest of the world. At the time, owner Michael Ditter thought the coronavirus pandemic would have passed after a month or so.
His popular sandwich shop at 8 E. Baltimore St. — well known for its sweets and homemade soups — instead closed for six months. It was ready to reopen a month ago but then Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young cut capacity at restaurants to 25% in August. Ditter admits he came up with 50 reasons why he finally needed to reopen on Monday, though he could have come up with another 40 for why he should stay closed. For one, downtown Baltimore remains a ghost town while the throng of workers who used to walk by — or into — his store remain holed up in their houses. Health officials are fearful of a second wave of the virus, a prospect that has small business owners like Ditter terrified. Downtown has already lost several high-profile restaurants, including the Alexander Brown, Chez Hugo and Luna del Sea. Ditter is not sure if Java Joe’s is sustainable. But he said he’s willing to give it a try.