By Michelle Gienow (Baltimore City Paper, 12/21/2011)
Baltimore has certainly enjoyed its share of eccentric eateries over the years, but perhaps none so endearing—certainly none so enduring—as Martick’s Restaurant Français. Patrons had to ring a bell to gain admittance to the dimly lit and eclectically furnished dining room, where mismatched silver and china topped the tables and a multifarious array of works by local artists graced the walls. It was funky and shabby and utterly unlike anywhere else.
The restaurant’s inimitable founder and chef, Morris Martick, died Dec. 16 of lung cancer at the age of 88, having literally spent his life there. He was born in the building—214 W. Mulberry St.—and grew up working with his parents, two brothers, and two sisters in various enterprises operated there by the Martick family: a grocery store and then a speakeasy during the Prohibition years. (Rumor has it a gin still remains in the building’s basement.)
Later in the article…
…The brutal working conditions at Martick’s were famous among employees—Brennan and Oldfield both recall a thermometer in the kitchen that routinely pegged out at its top reading of 115 degrees F—and over the years there were many tales of Martick working in his underpants, if he bothered wearing them at all. “I worked there with a guy who had been with Martick on and off over the years,” Smith recalls, “who told me that Morris would be in the shower—his bathroom was between the front and back kitchens—and customers would come in, and Martick would just step out of the shower, put an apron on, and start cooking, his wrinkly old ass hanging out while he was cooking this amazing food. I never saw it with my own two eyes, but this was the legend.”
Continue reading “Morris Martick 1923-2011” at Baltimore City Paper.