Food & Drink

Auction for Bertha’s Mussels in Baltimore is canceled as owners work on completing deal with mystery buyer

Bertha's, a Fells Point institution, is famous for its mussels and its green-and-white bumper stickers.

The auction for the famed Fells Point seafood joint Bertha’s Mussels was canceled Thursday as the owners work on completing a deal with an unknown buyer.

Bids for the property through Alex Cooper Auctioneers reached over $1.3 million before the online auction was canceled minutes before it was scheduled to close at noon Thursday. Bidding began Nov. 12.


Jared Block, director of luxury real estate at Alex Cooper Auctioneers, said the restaurant’s owners were in negotiations with “an interested party” but did not provide details or a timeline of when a deal might be complete.

Tony and Laura Norris opened the South Broadway Street bar in 1972 to establish a venue for musicians like themselves to perform, adding a restaurant two years later. Their son Andy Norris, also an owner, could not be reached for comment Thursday.


The owners announced in October that they would close the restaurant, allowing them to retire after 50 years in business.

“Closing Berthas is bittersweet. As a family, we’ve given so many great years to this wonderful place and are now ready to pursue other life paths and interests,” the Norris family wrote in a Facebook post last month.

Bertha’s Mussels will remain open through the end of the year.

Three generations of the Norris family have worked at the restaurant, which is known for its fresh seafood, live music and green bumper stickers that tell people to “Eat Bertha’s Mussels.”

734 S. Broadway, Fells Point.<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

Those stickers have been spotted all over the world, reminding Baltimoreans far from home of an iconic Charm City destination for food and live music.

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“Bertha’s Mussels is one of those things that brings people from the area together when they see it,” said Chloe Morival, who now lives in Ithaca, New York.

Morival and her husband spotted the bright sticker in an Ithaca alley soon after they moved to town.

“It’s so distinct that you just know it when you see it,” she said. “Someone from Baltimore must have stuck it on there.”


Ali O’Neill of Bel Air found a Bertha’s sticker on a restaurant’s grill hood in rural Montana and Sarah Eikrem of Baltimore encountered one on a lamp post in Breckenridge, Colorado, on a family vacation.

Essex resident Jasmine Dixon even saw a sticker glued to the bottom of someone’s boot at Target in Canton, completing a cool outfit.

“It was always just a really lively space down in Fells Point,” Dixon said. “You could always count on really good energy, really good vibes.”

Baltimore Sun reporters Amanda Yeager and Lilly Price contributed to this article.