Last month, I wrote about the bizarre existence of Woodberry Kitchen since the pandemic. The restaurant has been in hibernation since last autumn, and mainly hosts private events. This week, there were signs of life. At least, it was a past life.
Alex Cooper hosts Woodberry Kitchen has an online auctionThese include commercial kitchen items, banquets and chairs, tables, serving platters, whiskey barrels, and a custom-made iron meat smoker.
Although it seems like the end, it could be the beginning. Spike Gjerde (owner) replied to our inquiry Monday by email, stating that Woodberry plans to reopen its doors after a renovation. “The furniture, tableware, artifacts, and equipment at the auction have been consigned to make room for our new look and operating model.”He didn’t elaborate.
The items in the auction will be on display in a gallery located in Cockeysville.
“The idea is to capitalize on the nostalgia of Woodberry Kitchen,”Alex Cooper, Lisa Jones “People who were fans of the food and dining experience would want a piece of that in their own home.”
Bidding closes March 29, at 7 p.m.
Jody Wright, Ocean City restaurateur, was recently a guest of mine.
For those unfamiliar, Shark on the Harbor, the restaurant Wright founded with her late husband, chef Travis Wright, has for around two decades been one of OC’s top dining destinations, known for its commitment to locally-sourced produce and seafood. Its fabulous view doesn’t hurt, either.
Jody took over the restaurant after Travis’ death in 2019. It would have been a huge undertaking in any circumstance, but then COVID-19 came along.
Jody says she almost welcomed the stress and chaos that the pandemic brought, since she was so busy navigating various crises that she didn’t have time to even think about her grief. But as the world has returned to something resembling normal, she’s begun contemplating life after the restaurant.
Jody posted on Facebook last week that she was selling the Shark to three of her long-standing employees: Victoria Sperry, executive chef James Samataro and Krystle Meekhan, who deals in reservations and sales.
Jody claims that after managing the restaurant with her husband and then alone, she was determined about handing the business over three times. She explained to them: “Three is a magic number because it allows all of you to have beautiful lives… no one will be swallowed whole”The demands of running a restaurant.
Jody, 52, says that the business of owning a restaurant is a rewarding career. “a young man, young woman’s game.”
Jody plans to write her next chapter and fulfill a long-held dream of becoming a full-time author and novelist. She’s working on a book about her life in the restaurant industry entitled “Seconds: My codependent restaurant life.”
In it, she plans to reflect on her husband’s years-long struggles with bipolar disorder and death by suicide. She wants to remove the stigma around mental health. Why shouldn’t it be as easy to talk about dealing with as cancer?
She’ll discuss how his passion for the restaurant both put pressure on him and gave him a productive way to manage his mental illness.
“We never had children probably because we were so consumed by the restaurant,”She agreed. There were many pressures that came with running a restaurant. “The neediness of that restaurant saved him. It needed him and it kept him on track.”
We are getting used to waiting because of the pandemic. I reported last week on the delays that business owners have encountered in getting required permits from the city agencies. Other business operators in Baltimore say they’re noticing backlogs from manufacturers as they try to get new restaurants furnished and ready to open.
“Anything that’s metal or structural steel – custom pieces have been delayed,” said Patrick Hudson who is opening a new branch of The Local Oyster in South Baltimore’s Anthem House this summer. Some ovens, steamers and walk-in refrigerators took up to nine months for shipping. The project has been in the making for three years and is due to open in June. “It’s been a long journey.”
The company’s planned restaurant in Remington is delayed indefinitely, Hudson says both due to supply chain issues and an overall increase in construction, as well as staffing. “We couldn’t staff that place if we wanted to.”
I received several responses to my question about reader’s favorite places to eat “Baltimore pizza.”
Harry Bosk proclaims Hersh’s to be “among the best in Bmore,” along with Hampden’s Birroteca. He adds: Cheezy’s Pizza on Joppa Road and or Remo’s of N.Y in Carney.
“Matthew’s is the classic, but my favorite is Barfly’s,” writes Stanley Feldman. “Make sure to dip it in the special sauce. Don’t sleep on the Fra Diavolo.”
“I love many many things about my adopted home town, but pizza is not one of them,” writes Philadelphia native Mitchell W. Feldstein. “For whatever reason pizza is not one of Baltimore‘s charms. And don’t even get me started on the falafel!”
Lorraine Mirabella, Baltimore Sun reporter, contributed to this report.
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