In 1957, while in the twilight of their careers as Baltimore Colts in the burgeoning NFL, Alan Ameche and Captain Gino Marchetti opened up the first Gino's with their pal, Louis C. Fischer. Through the years, the crew helped innovate the restaurant industry, especially with the Gino's Giant burger in 1966, whose triple-decker design arguably went on to inspire the multipatty burgers of other national fast-food chains. Ahead of their time, the team later cobranded with Kentucky Fried Chicken to bolster their menu and widen their appeal to the public before Gino's was acquired by the Roy Rogers brand in 1982, leaving many nostalgic for one of the fast-food industry's originals.
It wasn't until 2009, when Tom called up Gino to pose the idea of bringing Gino's back, that fans of the eatery could begin to quell their well-documented nostalgia in anticipation of enjoying Gino’s special recipes once again. Today, the menu boasts off-the-grill burgers, more than 100 flavors of real ice-cream shakes, and the return of the Gino's Giant, slathered in a secret sauce that was kept secret all these years by hiding it inside a modern-day football.
Mike and Tim Murphy, the brothers behind Burger Bros., specialize in hand-sculpted burgers that weigh in at a hefty 6 ounces. They crown the patties with toppings such as caramelized onions or blue cheese and also marinate portobello mushrooms for a vegetarian version of their classic handheld. Burgers aren’t the only reason to visit, though. Cooks also toss chicken wings with piquant sauces and cut Idaho potatoes by hand to create their fries. Patrons can sip ice-cream floats, freshly squeezed lemonade, or Mexican Coca-Cola sweetened with real cane sugar rather than mashed up cupcakes.
The chefs at Bread and Circuses Bistro—formerly called The French Press Cafe—serve up colorful American cuisine with a contemporary edge in a vintage-café-inspired dining room. The bistro's menu, like a yellow-marker-wielding culinary student, highlights an eclectic array of paninis, such as the grilled vegetable, a sumptuous repository of root vegetables and roasted red pepper garbed in bruschetta and balsamic vinaigrette ($8), or the new york strip steak and cheese ($10). Chew into the crusty exteriors of nonpressed sandwiches, including the baltimore club, a double-stacked crab-cake BLT (market price). Explore entrees such as the shrimp-and-scallop risotto ($17) or the salmon, pampered with a molasses kneading, rainforest-fruit-salsa dressing, and a French manicure before nestling against roasted red potatoes and grilled vegetables ($15).
At Orchard Market and Café, chef Nahid Vaezpour accents the menu's traditional Persian soups with khoresh and kebabs with a motherly touch and exotic spices. Like an unmarked box filled with fireworks, the aash-o-reshteh soup bears warm surprises, including sun-dried herbs, lentils, and chickpeas in vermicelli-filled broth. The gulf salad satisfies legume cravings with a medley of pepperoncini, black olives, and artichokes that graze atop a pasture of mixed greens abundantly sprinkled with Bulgarian feta. Diners can bite into chicken fesenjune khoresh, which is poached in a sauce spiced with cinnamon, walnut, and pomegranate molasses, or slide filet mignon, grilled tomato, and onion off the soltani kebab. The small, luxurious dining room sports regal touches such as a glass waterfall, bas-reliefs, gleaming brass samovars, and paintings by local artists of Cleopatra opulently drinking ranch dressing.
Instead of limiting themselves to one type of cuisine, S & J Crab Ranch has included two of their favorites—Maryland seafood and southern barbecue. Local flavors pile up at the raw bar, where diners can order gulf shrimp by the pound or plates of clams and seasoned mussels; however, as the restaurant’s name implies, crabs are the signature item. They can be steamed and served whole, as jumbo lump crab cakes, or in a creamy soup spiked with a bit of sherry.
Of course, the seafood seeps into the southern-inspired meals as well. A selection of classic southern sandwiches includes fried catfish with creole mustard. Regional cuisine builds out the rest of the menu, giving diners options such as slow-cooked Texas brisket, Carolina-style pulled pork, and st. louis ribs rubbed with secret spices. Even the classic American dishes take cues from S & J’s penchant for the ocean—fresh crab meat bulks up the mac ‘n’ cheese, and pulled pork and barbecue sauce enhance a pile of nachos.