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 So before the Cafe Hon was reopened, Whiting and Ramsay announced that she had rescinded the “hon” trademark.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.
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VDH4GYJMIUFU373W3XUQVD2V4E Patrick

     Looking forward to this.  I’ve been to that cafe in Hampden.  Very humorous, but probably could use some culinary guidance.  I’ll have to stop by again.

  • Kat

    we went to cafe Hon before Gordan Ramsey.  decided it was a one time thing.  We decided to try it once more after gordon ramsey.  Wow what a difference.   absolutely delicious and i can tell you, we will definitely make it a routine .  love you Gordon

  • StaceyH

    “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.

    Get out! It employs PEOPLE?! That is so revolutionary. I’ve never heard of a business doing such a great job at curbing unemployment as hiring employees. And they are LOCAL?! Dang, I thought they all flew in from Minnesota.

  • Lan

    I think we just figured out how to solve the unemployment problem. Just open more restaurants and hire locals!!! I mean if the best thing you can say about a restaurant is that it hires locals, forget about whether the food is good or warm or has rat droppings—big deal. THEY HIRE LOCALS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Robin and Jeremy

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

August 21 21 Comments

The Challenges Of Recruiting An All-Volunteer Army

The Army is meeting its targets, but the man who runs recruiting says finding qualified candidates in the 17 to 24 age group can be difficult.

August 21 Comment

Syrian Clarinetist Finds A Home For His Music

"Does the clarinet stop a bullet or does it feed a child or does it rebuild a destroyed home?" Kinan Azmeh asks. "Of course it doesn't. But... it can inspire."

August 20 Comment

James Foley Remembered For His ‘Extraordinary Courage’

U.S. officials have confirmed the authenticity of a video showing the beheading of the American journalist.

August 20 7 Comments

L.A. Moves To Arrest Fewer Misbehaving Students

The change in the school district's policy is the culmination of a long fight by judges, government officials, advocates and attorneys.