Sunday, March 28, 2010


Esskay Meat holds quite a bit of significance for many Baltimore families. Their meat plant covered a sizable portion of the east Baltimore landscape. ESSKAY - The S stands for William Schluderberg who started the company in 1858 and the K stands for T.J. Kurdle who in 1919 merged with the Schluderberg part to make S K...or ESSKAY. In addition to providing quality products, the company made meat an amusing commodity. They sponsored “Sam and Friends,” a children’s show on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.—that’s channel 4 for those who were lucky enough to get good tv reception in Baltimore. This was Jim Henson’s first TV show. It was five minutes long and loaded with his very early puppet characters. We watched regularly thanks to a good roof top antenna.

Esskay also used the illustration of the portly butcher on the Ocean City Clocks in the 1950’s and 60’s. Who did not meet their friends on the boardwalk under his watchful eye?

"Esskay Clock, Ocean City Boardwalk" oil on board (24" x 12")

Let’s not forget all the baseball hot dogs they have sold to the Oriole fans for many, many years. And I am looking here at their packaging in this layout. The color combinations are outrageous and work very well. I never knew they sold eggs or Hollywood lunch meat. But I did love their bacon and still do. We usually had our Esskay ham on Easter Sunday and the sausage links were served for breakfast regularly at our house. However I always preferred their bacon. There are also forgotten products like Skeat and Esko pictured here. And when is the last time you saw a can of lard in the regular grocery store? I have news for you. Lard makes cookies and pastries and all kinds of meat dishes delicious so don’t turn up your nose just dig in!

from the author's collection

Here's a recipe for German Potato Salad served with Franfurts that I found in their handbook dedicated to homemakers. It looks to me like the authentic version that my German grandmother made . After all Mr. Schluderberg and Mr. Kurdle were from the country that made German potato salad famous here in Baltimore. As we say en fran├žais - bon appetit!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


"Edmondson Village at Christmastime" oil on board

Edmondson Village Shopping Center in west Baltimore, MD was our destination when the ride downtown to Howard and Lexington was not necessary. It was a grand complex built in the architectural style of Williamsburg. In fact my grandfather’s company, Sorensen Construction Corporation, laid most of the bricks for the entire plaza which opened in 1947.

The shopping center at night.
It had a tone of fun and amusement but there was also an air of elegance to the stores and so we had to dress up to shop there. Not quite wearing our crinolines, but no shorts or pants were permitted. We always parked in the rear of Hochschild’s because it was shady in the summertime and rarely congested like the front lots were. The escalator ride to the second floor toy department was a joyful ascent. They had the Tiny Tears doll that I coveted in 1957 and I would often visit her and dream of being her nurse. The Tommy Tucker Five and Dime was another favorite spot for children. They had all kinds of toys and novelties that were affordable for just about everyone. I wonder how many paddle-ball sets they sold in one year? Near Tommy Tucker there was a snazzy French restaurant called Mischanton’s where my school classmates would meet for Saturday lunch when we were old enough to dine without our parents. It had the hustle - bustle atmosphere of a Parisian Brasserie.
Mischanton's Restaurant in Edmondson Village
Mishanton's kitchen seen from the outside window

At the other end of the stretch, in front of Hess Shoe Store, were the mechanical horses one could ride for five cents. If you yanked back on the reins, the horse would go faster. Of course just about everyone remembers Hess Monkey Town. I have written about it here before and so will include a link to on the painting of "Hess Monkey Town" to read more

And of course the gorgeous movie theatre was where we saw so many first run Disney films among others. There were many merchants displaying their wares and clothing. Some of them included Gammerman’s, Whalen’s, Food Fair, Reamer’s and many more that I need help remembering.
Edmondson Village at Christmas (source unknown)
Christmastime at Edmondson Village was almost indescribably special. Every year on Thanksgiving night they would throw the switch to power lights strung across the rooftops and over the trees that grew near the brick wall by the busy Edmondson Avenue. Santa, as I recall, was driving his reindeer on the roof of Hochschild’s. What a splendid sight for everyone to see. It brought gawkers from everywhere in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The shopping center changed with the times. There was unbridled blockbusting which undermined the area beginning in the 1950’s. W. Edward Orser has written an excellent account of the history of the area his book “Blockbusting in Baltimore: The Edmondson Village Story."

Saturday, March 13, 2010


"Hot Shoppes" oil on canvas, ( 24" x 18") 2005

Ah! the Hot Shoppes at Edmondson Village next to the Hecht Company was a “treat” destination for many west Baltimore families with children. It was strictly a cafeteria in my memory. There was no drive-in window as many of the ads and postcards proclaim. But it was different! Many have expressed to me that they loved the self-serve style of the cafeteria and the cheerful, social clatter of the patrons. A good friend confided to me that the reason she never ate there with her parents was because the Hot Shoppes did not have a liquor license. Her father enjoyed his glass of bourbon before an evening meal too much to make the sacrifice. Another woman told me that the reason the Hot Shoppes did not have a liquor license was because it was owned by members of the Morman church and they did not believe in such pastimes. I do not know about this at all but I have heard from many people that the man who eventually opened the Hot Shoppes started with some A & W Root Beer stands around the Washington, D.C. area. This man’s last name was Marriott. Now we all have been guests of his for a night or two at some point. Some of us may have consumed cocktails or gambled in his hotels perhaps.

People still rave about the “Mighty Mo” hamburger served at the Hot Shoppes restaurants. Recently someone gave me the recipe for the much revered sauce. I cannot say if this is the authentic version but it sure looks good to me. Bon appetit!
•1/2 cup ketchup
•1/4 cup chili sauce
•1-1/2 teaspoons A-1 Sauce
•1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
•2 drops Tabasco Sauce
•1/2 cup chopped sweet pickle
•1-1/4 cups mayonnaise

Combine ketchup, chili sauce, A1,Worcestershire and Tabasco . Add pickle to sauce mixture. Combine the sauce-pickle mixture with mayonnaise until well-blended. Store in a tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Postcard of drive-in restaurant from author's collection.

Back of postcard describing a "beautiful dining room" et cetera.

The kitchen at the Hot Shoppes at Edmondson Village.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Everybody Goes to Gino's

"Everybody Goes to Gino's"
oil on canvas (16' x 20") 2008

Everybody did indeed go to Ginos which was partly owned by its namesake Gino Marchetti, the Baltimore Colts' football team captain. In the early days the drive-in restaurant offered 15 cent hamburgers. The front of the building featured a big window through which customers ordered their hamburgers, fries and soft drinks. For those who wanted to dine al fresco, ceramic tiled benches flanked either side of the small building. The first one that I saw was on Frederick Road in Catonsville. And recently another Catonsville man wondered in a post right here if I remembered it. Well I guess you can see from the 2008 painting above that I was thinking very hard with paint brush in hand. There was another building in this style in Towson where the Kentucky Fried Chicken is now.

Found this photo recently. It is the original Gino's on York Road in Towson.

Remember the original neon rocket? It cheerfully advertised the 15 cent hamburgers.

Later the restaurants were remodeled and you could eat inside and stare at the cars on the parking lot through the big glass windows. It was a great place for the teens to hang out and look cool, too. A popular favorite was the Gino Giant sandwich which was advertised as a “banquet on a bun.”

Not sure where this Gino's was located but it is a good photo of the newer style of architecture that invited diners to eat inside.

In an earlier post I wrote about the possibility of a Gino’s comeback. To read it here click on the bucket of chicken.