Writers Suzanne Loudermilk and Kit Waskom Pollard revisit old Charm City eating destinations in their new book “Lost Restaurants of Baltimore,” an homage to spots that featured everything from a grilled cheese sandwich at the Read’s lunch counter to the Coffey salad at the Pimlico Hotel.
The authors emphasize the social aspects of food in Baltimore. They tell the story of how going to Hutzler Brothers’ Colonial Tea Room was a rite of passage for mothers and their daughters, and how the Read’s lunch counter at Howard and Lexington streets was a scene of protests in 1955, when African-Americans were not served in the majority of Baltimore restaurants.
So many restaurants flourished for a decade or two and left their patrons with the memory of a night out and an unforgettable dish.
The authors recall the delicious eggs-in-the-snow dessert at the old Jeannier’s on 39th Street and the crab and Smithfield ham at Towson’s Penn Hotel, overseen by Bernie Lee.
The old Harvey House, on Charles Street in Mount Vernon, was a destination for a three-martini lunch for some of its patrons. Others savored the chopped chicken livers that had a magical addition of honey. When restaurants regularly offered guests a basket of breads, the Harvey House’s wait staff brought pumpernickel rolls topped with coarse salt and caraway seeds.
Restaurants don’t have to be as famous as Haussner’s, Marconi’s or Martick’s to get an affectionate obituary from these authors. They describe in pleasing and memory-inducing detail Spike & Charlie’s, Wild Mushroom, Della Notte Ristorante and The Chameleon.
Say, who knew that Colts legend Johnny Unitas spent Tuesday nights at the Golden Arm on York Road?