We were pleased that Canton Crossing added another local restaurant to its suburban-style assortment of mostly national (except for Samos and soon-to-open Farmstead Grill), casual, fast food and chicken-and-waffle-fry chains.
Open about a month, Atwater's has many favorites from the Belvedere Square flagship, including a couple of homemade soups each day, hot and cold sandwiches on Atwater's breads, inventive salads, and an array of sweets and desserts in a smaller pastry case—much of it produced with locally or regionally sourced ingredients.
During a recent lunch visit, we tried their gazpacho with homemade croutons ($3.60/cup) and white chicken chili ($4.10/cup). Both were fresh-tasting and light and served with hunks of Atwater's bread to sop up every last drop. The chili came topped with fresh corn salsa. Tabasco and Sriracha were on hand to add extra heat. Although the corned beef Reuben on Irish brown bread beckoned us ($5.45/half; $10.50 whole), we decided to eat a little healthier and split an enormous and surprisingly filling savory kale salad with granola, pumpkin seeds, beets, and a creamy preserved-lemon dressing ($5.95). The dressing was tangy but not bitter, and complemented the earthy pumpkin seeds and not-too-sweet granola. The tender baby kale, the server said, is grown in Baltimore at Real Kids Farm.
You can't go to Atwater's without getting a dessert. Torn between the new housemade ice creams—eight flavors including coconut macaroon, honey vanilla, and dreamsicle (a double scoop is only $3.95)—an Atwater's milkshake, or something from the pastry case, we opted for a slice of Pimlico cake with chocolate ganache and nuts ($3.95 ), and a half-dozen almost palm-sized almond shortbread cookies with a raspberry jam thumbprints ($3.95). Both were winners.
The only menu items that are a little pricey at the Canton Atwater's are beer and wine (craft draft beers were $6-7, wines were $8-9 a glass), and there is no happy hour—yet. But Atwater's staff said happy-hour specials will be rolled out soon.
After an afternoon of fighting traffic on Boston St., jockeying for spaces in the parking lot, and bargain-hunting at Target, a happy-hour beer or craft cocktail will definitely take the edge off. You're in Canton, after all. (Danielle Sweeney)