When she and her husband, David, began house-hunting in 2009, they knew they wanted to live among neighbors who felt like “extended family,” says Brandy Dopkin. They found that type of close-knit atmosphere in a cul-de-sac at Creekside at Quarry Lake.
“There aren’t many neighborhoods in Baltimore like this anymore,” she says.
Brandy says the Mount Washington neighborhood hearkens back to an era when children spent more of their time outside, and neighborhood activities — barbecues, holiday celebrations, parades and snow-day revelry — were more common.
“There are 25 kids under the age of 15 in our court alone,” says David, noting that their children, Jordana, 11, and Graham, 9, always have someone to play with.
David and Brandy, both 42 and Baltimore natives, also appreciate their neighborhood’s proximity to their workplaces. David, the son of the late legendary restaurateur/caterer Eddie Dopkin, is a partner of The Classic Catering People in Owings Mills and a managing member of the Roland Park-based Miss Shirley’s Café, where Brandy is director of human resources. The restaurant’s other two locations, at the Inner Harbor and in Annapolis, are also fairly accessible to their home.
Built a decade ago, the Dopkins’ four-bedroom, 4 1/2-bathroom home reflects their eclectic-yet-elegant style. “I wanted our home to be put together but I also wanted it to be warm, and for each room to tell a story about who we are,” says Brandy.
Their large, airy and well-equipped kitchen features a framed menu from Miss Shirley’s signed by Guy Fieri, host of the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” as well as autographed menus from other bistros.
Their home office is decorated with their children’s artwork on one wall and David’s sports memorabilia on the other. His collection features Cal Ripken Jr.’s jersey and license plate, a football helmet illustrated by artist Peter Max and a vintage photograph of Babe Ruth bowling duckpins.
Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, young Graham Dopkin also collects sports memorabilia. “He has his own autographed balls and bats, including a ball that Manny Machado threw to him at an All-Star Game we attended in D.C.,” says David.
“Classic caters for a lot of sports figures, and we used to do Cal’s Easter egg hunt,” he notes. “I dressed up as the Easter bunny for three years. There aren’t many Jewish Easter bunnies!”
Speaking of matters that aren’t quite kosher, the Dopkins are immensely fond of the rather large blue crab sculpture installed in their backyard. The artwork originally belonged to Eddie Dopkin.
“He passed away [in October of 2013] and after we sold his house, we kept the crab,” says David. “I like that it’s a traditional blue crab.”
Brandy says she adores the faux crustacean as well. “It’s great in the winter when it snows, and in the spring when the lilacs grow around it,” she says. “And it’s a great conversation piece because it’s such a Baltimore thing — ‘Oh, you have a crab at your house?!’”