Here comes the neighborhood

Venue watch
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  September 19, 2007

MJ Reed wants you to have brunch. She wants you to cook some bacon, scramble some eggs, and pour some mimosas — and she wants you to be able to do it all at the last minute, even if you live on Munjoy Hill, even if you don’t want to get in your car and drive to the supermarket on a lazy Sunday morning.

That’s why the 29-year-old East Ender is opening FatBaxter's, a neighborhood grocery store that will carry fresh produce, local foods, beer and wine, some hot meals and sandwiches, and other basic necessities that are currently lacking on the Hill. Not that the existing retail options don’t serve their purpose (we heart you, Colucci’s, for your saucy pizza and grapefruit-sized muffins and heavily iced cake). But FatBaxter's, which takes its name from Reed’s dog (not fat, but called Baxter), and which plans to open its doors on September 29, will fill a long-gaping niche.

In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables from Rippling Waters Organic Farm in Standish, FatBaxter's (which will occupy the stone building adjacent to the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Association building, diagonally across from the Blue Spoon) will feature unique lighting, so that Reed — who also runs her own electrical contracting business — can display her talents in a public space.

The market will reside next to the soon-to-be-relocated Hilltop Coffee Shop, in the other half of the same building. That’s right — everyone’s favorite local caffeinery is moving across the street, where it will provide seating for 25 (quite a change from the current cramped quarters), as well as ice cream and homemade desserts. Luke MacFayden, 47, who co-owns Hilltop with Jeromy House, hopes the expanded café will open seamlessly around Thanksgiving — turning off the lights at the old joint one night, and turning them on across the street the next day.

FatBaxter's and the new Hilltop Coffee Shop will be at 88 Congress St.

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