The pandemic has shown us how volatile the life span of a restaurant is. As much as we may savor a certain dish and anticipate a favorite dessert, there is no guarantee it will be around for another year.
Here’s a look at some of the most memorable of times gone by.
The news that the venerable Haussner’s would close in 1999 was a game changer in local restaurant history. For a dining establishment, it had a long existence. It opened in 1926 on Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown and throughout the 1960s expanded with additional seating. Still, there was a waiting line on Saturday nights.
Haussner’s had its own bakery and displayed a ruby red glazed strawberry pie. The bread tray, in the era when the old Stone’s Bakery on East Lombard Street made the salt rolls, was a standout.
Patrons of Haussner’s returned for one last serving of crab imperial or Wiener schnitzel supper in the restaurant’s final days, then it closed and its renowned art collection was auctioned. While some made fun of the paintings and marble busts of Roman emperors, the artwork brought more than $11.3 million at a New York City sale.
The Yellow Bowl
The Yellow Bowl served patrons on Greenmount Avenue. The eatery took its name from the nearby Yellow Cab Company.
“The Bowl” as it was known, was known for its scrapple sandwiches, chicken, spicy rice, pigs’ feet and greens.
Horn & Horn
Downtown Baltimore and its Monday-to-Friday business workers were a hungry crew. Until it closed in 1976 with little notice, Horn & Horn on Baltimore Street near Guilford Avenue was mobbed at the noon hour. Fans liked its fried eggplant, chicken biscuit sandwich and homemade ice cream.
The restaurant was in the heart of Baltimore’s downtown legal and legislative district (City Hall was a block away) and there was many a political secret exchanged on its bentwood chairs.
Woman’s Industrial Exchange
Dessert? Yes, please — lemon meringue pie. The meringue pie left in 2005, the same year the chocolate sundaes ended at Marconi’s on Saratoga Street. Its passing marked the end of lobster Cardinale, sweetbreads Sarah Bernhardt (ham and chicken added) and four different potato varieties — au gratin, julienne, hash brown and Lyonnaise.
Baltimore was filled with small restaurants in corner rowhouses. Winterling’s in Southeast Baltimore made delicious platters and light-as-air homemade pies.
Baltimore remained strictly segregated in places of public accommodation until change arrived in the 1960s. The racial barrier first fell at the old Read’s drugstore lunch counter at Howard and Lexington streets. Read’s soda fountains and counters closed after its 1977 purchase by Rite Aid.
Not all restaurant owners were willing to desegregate. Civil rights protesters picketed Hooper’s Restaurant, a popular meeting place at Fayette and Charles streets, because its management refused to serve Black patrons.
Black students from Dunbar High School refused to leave Hooper’s in 1960 and were arrested for trespassing. Attorneys for the students took the case through the courts as a test case. The students and their lawyers persevered and the conviction was overturned.
One of the student protesters was Robert M. Bell, who went on to graduate from Harvard Law School. He was later named to the Baltimore Circuit Court, then the Court of Special Appeals and, in 1991, the Court of Appeals and served as its chief judge.
The restaurant closed shortly thereafter and was demolished for the Charles Center.