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Eat Feature

Who Let the Chefs Out?

Where Baltimore's Restaurateurs Go When They Go Out to Eat

Sam Holden
Cover made possible thanks to 12 fake chefs and one real one: Gina Bollino, Jennifer Bollino, Michelle Bollino, Faye Cary, Shannon Enyart, Mike Gaitley, Jeff Holland, Bobbi Jones, Mark Linthicum, Brandie Rausch, Laura Smith, Sam's dad, and Andy Farantos, third-generation owner of Highlandtown's G&A Restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner at 3802 Eastern Ave., 88 years in the same location. Try the Coney Island Hot Dog.

Eat Special Issue 2001

Who Let the Chefs Out? Where Baltimore's Restaurateurs Go When They Go Out to Eat

Who Let the Chefs Out: The Poll Notes on scoring: Restaurants were awarded points based on where they placed in respondents' surveys...

Who Let the Chefs Out: The Unabridged List "All the Employees"Tyson Place1) Nacho Mama's2) Rusty Scupper3) Hilltop Carryout4) Yung's5) Phillips...

My Favorite Things A Professional Eater Picks Her Restaurants of Renown | By Susan Fradkin

Old World Remembering the Glory Days of Deli on Corned Beef Row | By David Jackowe

American McHistory Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation Is About More Than Just Burgers and Fries | By Kathryn Eastburn

Eat 2001

Posted 2/28/2001

It's a good sign in a restaurant, or so the thinking goes, when a lot of the people eating there trace their ancestry to the same place as the cuisine being eaten. Here at Baltimore's Most Gustatory Alternative Weekly, we're not sure how many grains of salt with which to take this particular saw, but we do know that sometimes clichés become clichés because they convey a grain of truth. So we got to thinking: If a bevy of native Asians in a Chinese restaurant or a chorus of Latinos at a Mexican joint is a sign that you're getting the real thing, what does it mean when a restaurant is popular with restaurateurs?

Fortunately, we got to thinking this about the time we began putting together this year's edition of EAT, our annual guide to Baltimore dining. Usually in this glossy-covered space we offer a lengthy compendium of local eating options grouped according to some cute theme--Beltway exits, times of day. (Yeah, even we get tired of it.) This year, we figured, why not ask a bunch of people who know what makes a restaurant work to name which restaurants work best?

We surveyed dozens of eateries (using recent dining guides and Best of Baltimore issues to compile the list), from ice cream parlors and corner delis to the haute-est of the haute, asking them to name, in order, five favorite peers and comment thereupon. Fifty-four owners, managers, and chefs played along (thanks largely to the tireless prodding of Wendy Ward, she-wolf of the EAT poll). The tabulated results begin on the next page, with notes and comment by our own crack team of foodies. Once you've digested their choices, collect yourself and head to the next stations in this year's EAT buffet. See where City Paper food critic Susan Fradkin goes when she's off duty; take a mustard-soaked trip down Corned Beef Row's memory lane; and be very afraid as author Eric Schlosser rips the plastic lid off the fast-food industry.

Bear in mind that the survey, with its relatively small, self-selected sample, is in no way scientific or comprehensive. As in any endeavor of this kind, we encourage you to consider the sources and interpret the results as you see fit. (See page 22 for the honor roll of respondents.) At best, think of it as a starter guide to the gamut of Baltimore dining--lots of old favorites, a handful of sleepers, a few genuine surprises; at worst, it's fodder for lots of tasty arguments. And any conversation about the culinary riches abounding in and around this town is worth having--especially over dinner.

Next, read The Poll.

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