Our favorite old restaurants never go away. Mostly, they linger in our memories, but some of them actually make a return in name, if not in spirit.
Martick’s Restaurant Francais is reopening soon, but as a lounge, which is what it was before it was a French restaurant. And the Charles Street location that once housed the Chesapeake Restaurant, a fine-dining landmark, reopened just last week as a casual restaurant named The Chesapeake.
Seldom does a restaurant retire before returns diminish, at the top of its game, like Greta Garbo or Sandy Koufax. But many decline slowly and quietly, and others are sold to people who either can’t or don’t want to keep things the same. Memory is tricky, though. After a few years, we forget the bad years and remember restaurants at their best.
Reader Carolyn Williams, commenting on an online feature of nostalgic Baltimore restaurants, wrote, “This is making me yearn for a Baltimore I don’t remember.” Baltimore’s most missed restaurants are a mix of fine-dining temples, quirky landmarks and fast-food joints. What they share is a powerful hold on our imagination.