What I miss about dining out in Baltimore

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A cocktail from Bluebird Cocktail Room.

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this whole quarantine thing. Trying to write something meaningful or helpful. But I just keep writing sappy notes about the places and people I miss. So, I’m going with that.

I miss Old Fashioneds at Lobo and Manhattans at Peter’s Inn. Negronis at Sugarvale and Orto. Martinis at La Cuchara and The Prime Rib.

I miss driving by Dylan’s and scoping out a parking spot and miraculously snagging the last seat at the bar. Then, a cocktail, kale salad and whatever else sounds good that night.

I miss watching people on first dates and dressed-up kids sitting patiently, having their first real restaurant experience.

I miss walking downstairs in my building to True Chesapeake and seeing the lovely people who work there, a quick catch up with Chelsea, a bowl of oyster stew and glass of white wine.

I miss walking on the Avenue and seeing twenty-somethings out with their parents visiting from out of town, taking them for a grown-up night out at the Bluebird or The Food Market.

I miss everything about Petit Louis.

I miss sitting at the Long Bar at Golden West in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. Same goes for Grand Cru.

I miss family-style dinners at The Helmand and practically throwing elbows for the last spoonful of kaddo bowrani.

I miss watching cooks and chefs on the line when they’re in the zone. Zen masters of the flat top, sauté, cold side. Theater.

I miss sitting at a bar on a busy night, there are tickets for days, and the bartender keeping it all straight and yet, “How are you over here? Need anything?” Refilling the water. All the while smiling.

I miss walking into Hoehn’s Bakery early on a Saturday when I am craving a honey-dipped doughnut. The red and white twine on white boxes.

I miss my favorite time to visit Union Craft Brewing, late Saturday afternoon to say hello to Jay, Jon and everyone working the taproom bar.

I miss coffee at Sophomore.

I miss meeting friends at Clavel for house margs and queso. And sitting at the mezcal bar, listening to Dre tell me about his adventures in Mexico.

I miss laughing with Naomi at Pen & Quill as she makes me the best happy hour martini for $6. And, talking baseball and vermouth with Helmand.

I miss a crisp, almost fall, night in the courtyard at Tagliata, sharing a huge ribeye and a bowl of pasta with a friend.

I miss sitting at a friend’s bar and having them say, “Hey, wanna try something I’ve been working on?

I miss the dining room at Le Comptoir du Vin. I will never forget the first time I had the chicken liver pâté. Close your eyes, smile, quiet applause.

I miss tourist and day date watching over lobster rolls and ice cold Narragansetts at Thames Street.

I miss sitting outside at Hersh’s and having my friend try his first taste of Josh’s wonderful food. You know, it’s the best watching people flip over the food you have loved for years.

I miss steamed crabs and cheap beers on the rooftop deck at LP Steamers. It’s just so Baltimore to eat crabs in a rowhouse.

Mostly, I miss my people. Food people, old friends, new friends. Sending a quick text to a friend, “Hey, what are you doing right now…let’s meet up.” To me, an impromptu meal or drink is the greatest pick-me-up.

I miss lunch with my Mom.

There are like 50 more “I miss” statements I could write. They’re all in my head. Let’s support our restaurants as much as we can. If you possibly can, order takeout directly from the restaurant and pick up your order curbside. This way, the restaurant makes all the profit.

But, really, hospitality is not meant to be curbside. It’s meant to be all in. Hopefully, we can all get back to the places we love, the way we are used to loving them. Till then, please stay safe, Baltimore.

Want to help? Or maybe you need some help?

Restaurant Workers Community Foundation
Industry Assistance/Relief Services

Amy Langrehr runs Charm City Cook, a local recipes and posts on Baltimore’s dining scene.

Amy Langrehr

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  1. Great article Amy. Your closing comment that “hospitality is not meant to be curbside. It’s meant to be all in” truly resonates with me. While my cafe remains open for carry-out & delivery, this style of service has diminished the heart & soul of my place. We look forward to the day when we can return to providing true hospitality. – Roseann Glick, Owner Village Square Cafe

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