Two years ago, fellow food writer Suzanne Loudermilk and I set out on a journey to explore the stories behind the beloved restaurant’s of Baltimore’s past–places that were once hot spots but, over the years, shut their doors for one reason or another. The result was “Lost Restaurants of Baltimore,” which includes the tales of 35 of the most iconic restaurants from Baltimore’s past, from those that came and went in the 19th and early 20th centuries, to those that closed their doors just a few years ago.
Baltimoreans are a notoriously nostalgic bunch, so convincing local restaurant owners, chefs, wait staff and guests to share their memories was a fun experience. We heard stories of favorite dishes, of wild nights in kitchens and of famous faces in dining rooms. We include those stories–and more–in the book.
Below, we’ve shared one chapter from the book, the story of Jimmy Wu’s New China Inn, a N. Charles Street destination from the late 1940s through the early 1980s. Like many of the restaurants featured in the book, the New China Inn’s story has a little bit of everything. Inside the dining room, Jimmy Wu’s inviting personality was a dominant force, while outside the restaurant’s walls, Baltimorean’s tastes and attitudes rapidly evolved.