90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, December 22, 2011

Firebrand Chef Gordon Ramsay Gives Baltimore’s ‘Hon Culture’ A Make-over

Every city has its iconic restaurants. In Baltimore, tourists flock to Cafe Hon. The eatery has always been more famous for its kitschy take on Baltimore’s so-called “Hon Culture” (immortalized in John Waters films) than its comfort-food fare. Cafe Hon celebrates bee hive hairdos, cat’s eye sunglasses and the blue collar charm of its neighborhood, Hampden.

But now, the restaurant has undergone a make-over, under the direction of the foul-mouthed, hot-tempered British chef Gordon Ramsay and his “Kitchen Nightmares” program.

Part of the make-over included a marketing blitz to help rid the restaurant’s owner, Denise Whiting, of some bad publicity.

Last year, neighborhood residents turned on Whiting after it was discovered that she had trademarked the Baltimore endearment, “hon.” So before the Cafe Hon was reopened, Whiting and Ramsay announced that she had rescinded the “hon” trademark.

Baltimore Sun restaurant critic says the new menu is “perfectly fine.” Faint praise from a culinary perspective, but he does give Whiting and Cafe Hon credit for hiring locals.

Gorelick said the restaurant’s bright, loud decor is a great place for families and tourists. And he points out that it employs about 30 local people.

“Sometimes a restaurant, if that’s the best thing you can say about it, that it employs local people, that’s pretty good that it’s employing people,” Gorelick said.

Guest:

  • Richard Gorelick, Baltimore Sun restaurant critic

Other stories from Thursday's show
Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

November 25 8 Comments

Lightening Up Traditional Thanksgiving Fare

Our resident chef Kathy Gunst has created lighter versions of listeners' favorites, from mashed potatoes to green bean casserole.

November 25 Comment

U.N. Envoy Calls For ‘Firing Freeze’ In Aleppo, Syria

Staffan de Mistura says limited and localized ceasefires in this historic city could serve as a model for the rest of the country.

November 24 25 Comments

Jose Antonio Vargas May Soon Become Documented Immigrant

The activist and journalist is one of the undocumented immigrants expected to receive protection from deportation.

November 24 8 Comments

Doctor: Hard-To-Abuse Painkillers Won’t Fix Overdose Crisis

There's a question of whether the new technology of addictive painkillers will help stem the epidemic or help fuel it.