PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
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

photo
Cafe Hon, before the make-over by British chef Gordon Ramsay. (Courtesy Baltimore Sun/Amy Davis)Cafe Hon, after the make-over. Here Chef Gordon Ramsay and owner Denise Whiting take part in a press conference. (Courtesy Baltimore Sun/Amy Davis)

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 So before the Cafe Hon was reopened, Whiting and Ramsay announced that she had rescinded the “hon” trademark.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.

May 26 5 Comments

As Lethal Heroin Overdose Numbers Rise, Families Find Solace In Organ Donation

Organ banks around the country have noted an increasing number of organs from donors who have died of overdoses.

May 26 3 Comments

NEADS Assistance Dog Bailey Graduates From Service Dog Training

NEADS provides dogs like Bailey, a yellow Labrador, for deaf and disabled Americans.

May 25 Comment

Celebrating The Class Of 2016: Peace Odiase

Odiase is one of two valedictorians at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee.

May 25 8 Comments

NEADS Service Dog Meets His Match

Here & Now has been tracking service dog Bailey, who recently met his new owner, since last year.