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Dogwood owner to open Farmstead Grill in Canton Crossing

October 8, 2013

image003When Galen Sampson shut down the Dogwood restaurant last year and headed off to apprentice at an organic farm in Charlottesville, VA, he wasn’t sure what the next career move would be. “I was grateful to this farmer who took in a 50-year-old guy and showed me the ropes,” Sampson says of Jamie Barrett at Bellair Farm – where Sampson lived and worked for close to six months. “I was weeding, crawling in the dirt, fixing tractors.”

Sampson, whose Dogwood restaurant was an early entry in the farm-to-fork trend when it opened in 2006, was also committed to providing re-entry to ex-offenders through his restaurant’s training program. He knew he wanted to return to the culinary field and was a little shocked when his dream job landed in his lap.

Last summer, he got a call from the folks at Mission-Driven Dining, the outfit behind Waterfront Kitchen, which specializes not only in expertly prepared local foods, but in giving a leg-up to young people who need employment. The organization works with Living Classrooms’ Baltimore urban gardening for students (BUGS) program as well as Project Serve, which helps locals in transition enter the hospitality field.

Mission-Driven’s newest venture will be a barn-scaled restaurant called the Farmstead Grill, slated to open in April as part of the second phase of the new Canton Crossing development. The 200-seat upscale-casual place, with soaring ceilings and a locally sourced lunch and dinner menu, will have an offspring across the grassy park: The Farmstead Shack will serve lighter fare, including carryout breakfast items and will have outdoor seating.

Sampson comes from farmers on both sides – his parents were the first generation to leave the farm for college. So while he says he relished the chance to “go back to his roots” for a time in Virginia, “to come back to Balitmore and follow my passion is a blessing.”