In 1983, "Beefalo" Bob DiMartino began a small-scale catering operation built around no-frills, classic recipes of pit-roasted barbecue, growing his business to include a carry-out joint, sports bar, and even an upscale banquet hall. Bob's process is simple: slow cooking beef, ham, turkey, slabs of ribs and morsels of pork and chicken over smoking hickory fires and not cutting corners with gas jets or heat vision. The sports bar garnishes these backyard-style feasts with plates of oysters, lump crab cakes, and strip steak, as well as sports games on 20 big-screen TVs and rivers of cold beer.
True to its roots as a catering outfit, Beefalo Bob's supplies parties of up to 10,000 with bull roasts, crab feasts, and roasted pigs, as well as rentals of tents, tables, and moon bounces. Fancy occasions find a home in the 250-person Reflections Hall, decked out with chandeliers, DJs, a fireplace, hints of sparkly gold, and a wide-open hardwood dance floor.
Harford Vineyard and Winery caters to oenophiles of all stripes, creating limited productions of carefully crafted reds and whites. A trip through the rolling hills that surround the winery could culminate in a sampling of Harford's off-dry vidal, silken merlot, or a sweet blend of vidal grapes and ripe peaches. Visitors can also pick the vintners' minds for tips on winemaking, wine tasting, and telling the difference between wine and melted purple crayons.
Herb & Soul chefs B. Taylor and David Thomas operate under a simple mantra with several implications. When they say their mission is to "feed the soul," they mean that their fried chicken, short ribs, and Georgia bread pudding are more than just items on the menu—they’re nourishing reminders of the home-cooked meals of childhood.
They also mean that they do their best to foster long-standing relationships with local farmers and stock their small, down-home establishment with organic produce, grass-fed meats, and sustainably sourced fish. Herb & Soul's support of sustainable agriculture benefits the environment as well, since the restaurant converts its waste into compost and recycles its oil on the kitchen’s slip 'n' slide.
Forty varieties of bourbon and 60 beer draughts flow freely from taps into souvenir glasses, slaking thirsty throats with unlimited sips as guests tear through smoky meat concoctions at the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival's tasting stations. Once stuffed with ribs, brisket, and sausage, attendees can retire to the tasting theater to take in a seminar from pit masters and gourmet chefs on preparing fine barbecue or brewing stellar bourbon. Live rock, blues, and bluegrass bands set the airwaves quivering from the main stage with wailing tunes or announcements drawn in barbecue sauce. A cigar tent provides a smoky haven for puffing on fine tobacco products, and big-screen TVs beam the latest sports action directly into eyeballs.
Helmed by chef Jim Benson, Eleven Courses’ multifaceted team of chefs, artists, and organizers embraces the art of the party with elegant catering and event services ranging from in-home tastings to multicourse wedding feasts. Top-notch chefs curate nuanced tasting menus as well as wine and artisan-beer tastings that tease out the complementary tastes of bacon and beer or wine and truffles.
In addition to keeping kitchens alive and cooking, Jim’s team also handles the whys and wherefores of event planning. Resident visual artists contribute to cake and floral designs, and professional planners orchestrate happenings ranging from weddings and business meetings to black-tie fantasy-baseball drafts. Eleven Courses' staff members hone their skills at a range of regional events such as the Capital Bacon and Beer Bash, the Baltimore Bridal Show, the National Harbor Wine and Food Festival, and the 3rd Anniversary Hippodrome Foodie Experience with Andrew Zimmerman of Travel Channel fame. Eleven Courses has been featured on WTTG FOX 5 and WBAL 11.
While studying flute performance and classical dance at the University of Wyoming, Michelle Shaw's endeavors were hampered by constant back pain. She sought relief through massage therapy and yoga, and this holistic care soon developed into a passion, inspiring her to attend the Baltimore School of Massage. She now helps others revel in muscle relief at Mount Vernon Wellness. Within a private treatment room overseen by a serene painting of Buddha, she eases sports- and work-related injuries, which are often caused by repetitive motion, poor posture, and pole-vaulting over cubicles. To treat these ailments, she draws on an array of modalities such as Swedish, deep-tissue, and reflexology massage. She also employs traditional Thai-massage techniques, which incorporate pressure-point therapy, energy work, and yoga-like stretching to regain bodily balance.