Kevin Brown, co-owner of Nancy by SNAC, a café in Station North. (Photo by Roberto Alejandro)
(Updated 2/7/2015) Kevin Brown opened Nancy by SNAC almost one-and-a-half years ago in honor of his friend Nancy Haragan, founder of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and someone who believed in dismantling arbitrary walls between different artistic communities in the city. With the café, Brown has created a space that honors Haragan’s memory and draws in the public not just for great food, but also for dialogue with the art that surrounds them.
“My friend Nancy, this was her office,” said Brown, who owns Nancy by SNAC with his partner of 24 years, Bill Maughlin, with whom he also runs the Station North Arts Cafe (SNAC) on Charles Street.
“There would not be the kind of momentum, and energy, and stuff that’s going on in this neighborhood, especially, had it not been for Nancy Haragan. A lot of people who have jobs and careers, and have made art education or art a business for them, that’s all Nancy; that’s what she did. She was one of those White women who said there is no Black art or White art, or Black music or White music, it’s all music; it’s all art. And it was her spirit that really made me want to come over here,” said Brown.
The café serves American fare with a twist, says Brown, including two daily soups and a menu with 11 set sandwiches as well as a daily sandwich special.
“Everything from a grilled panini sandwich to a chicken Caesar salad to tuna on brioche—you name it,” said Brown.
Open Monday to Friday, the café serves breakfast from 8-11:30 a.m, followed by lunch until 3 p.m. On Fridays, from 6-9 p.m., the café is open for dinner, when patrons are invited to bring their own bottles (BYOB) or drinks. The café also offers free Wi-Fi Internet access and opens into a gallery space of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), which changes its displays every 30 days.
“We’ve got great coffee and great atmosphere, and we encourage our customers to get engaged with us, not just to come in and hunker down or be sequestered with your laptop, really just to be engaged in the space and see the galleries while you’re here,” said Brown, who later added, “You eat your lunch, you walk out into the gallery, you may see something that sparks a dialogue.”
Some confuse the café for an eatery reserved for MICA student and faculty, said Brown, a misconception he wants to dispel.
“This isn’t a MICA space; it’s the people’s space.”
Nancy by SNAC is located at 131 W. North Ave., attached to the MICA building between N. Howard St. and Maryland Ave.