By the 1990s, things weren't exactly falling apart, but you could tell that fatigue had set in at the operations, which had been run since the beginning by the Woman's Industrial Exchange, a benevolent organization established after the Civil War to help needy women find a marketplace for their handiwork. It closed in 2002.

Legacy: Starting in 2003, the renovated space was turned over to a series of outside operators. Then in 2011, a lawyer, chef and food-truck owner named Irene Smith reopened it as the Woman's Industrial Kitchen. She found just the right balance between old and new, and she brought back the simple white-meat chicken salad and the tomato aspic, which makes people smile just thinking about it.



Louie's Bookstore Cafe was the place to go for dessert after a show at Center Stage, or late in the afternoon, when you could browse the bookshelves to your heart's content and sit down with your new book at the long bar in the back.

Opened in Mount Vernon by James Rouse Jr., Louie's is remembered as much as a gathering spot as a restaurant. The service had a reputation, perhaps unfairly, for sullenness. And the food was good. A few menu items, like the Chesapeake chicken and the okonomiyaki, were excellent.

In 1998, Rouse, who at that time owned the building at 518 N. Charles St., sold the restaurant to two former employees. A year later, Rouse foreclosed on the business and Louie's closed. Rouse found new buyers who reopened the restaurant in late 1999 and still called it Louie's, but the books were moved to the basement and the menu was expanded.

Legacy: In the fall of 2000 the name was changed to Scotto's. A year later, Scotto's was gone. A restaurant named Ixia opened there, followed by its current tenant, Creme Restaurant & Lounge.

The Brass Elephant


The opulent rooms and formally presented meals that attracted diners to the Brass Elephant turned into liabilities when tastes, and the economy, changed.

Known for years as the most beautiful restaurant in Baltimore, the Brass Elephant, at 924 N. Charles St., closed in August 2009. "The phone doesn't ring — what can I tell you?" Randy Stahl, one of the restaurant's owners, said at the time. "People still want to go out and be pampered, but they can't afford it as frequently. That's what we've been running up against."

Legacy: Thwarted in their attempts to sell or auction off 924 N. Charles St., the owners leased the property in 2012 to an outside operator who opened it as The Museum. The liquor board voted in May not to renew the property's liquor license, and the current status of The Museum is unclear.



Dark and masculine, Burke's Restaurant at Lombard and Light streets was for 70 years a reliable cornerstone of downtown Baltimore dining. When its closing was announced, just after New Year's Day of 2011, there was a mixture of sadness and guilt. Another old Baltimore place was closing up, but many Baltimoreans had to admit that they hadn't been to Burke's in years. And suddenly everybody wanted onion rings.

Legacy: Burke's Restaurant is now a Royal Farms store.



Connolly's Sea Food House, a favorite of William Donald Schaefer and famed for its waterfront "old salt" atmosphere, operated out of several ramshackle buildings at Pier 5 and Pratt Street. Old-timers said it was typical of the no-frills seafood houses that once dotted the Baltimore waterfront. The Historic American Buildings Survey of the Library of Congress said "Connolly's Seafood Restaurant, probably constructed during the 1920s, is the last remaining example of structures devoted to historic commercial activity on the finger piers extending into Baltimore's Inner Harbor."

Legacy: Connolly's held on until 1991 but eventually made way for the Columbus Center for Marine Research and Exploration. Mama's on the Half Shell, which opened in 2003, honors Connolly's with a menu section of plain seafood preparations it calls Connelly's Classics. (The variant spelling denotes an homage but not a replica.)


(1959-1991; Gino's Burgers & Chicken, 2010-present)

Established under the name Gino's in 1959 and named for its co-founder, the Baltimore Colt Hall of Fame defensive end Gino Marchetti, Gino's made its way into the hearts and stomachs of Baltimore's baby boomers the way diner culture had for the generation that came before.

The favorite was always the Gino Giant, a double-decker wonder that Gino's introduced before anyone had heard of a Big Mac.

The last Gino's, located in Pasadena, closed in 1991. But long before then, Gino's had left town. Founded in Baltimore, the company relocated its headquarters to King of Prussia, Pa., before it was acquired by Marriott Corp. in 1982.

Legacy: Partners in the former corporation revived the franchise in 2010, calling it Gino's Burgers & Chicken, and opening the first location in Pennsylvania. In August, 2011 the first of the new Gino's opened in Towson.