Patrick Russell grew up enjoying the fried pork chops, meatballs, and meatloaf of his mother’s Pikesville kitchen, but it wasn’t until purchasing Thames Street Tavern (now Kooper’s Tavern) in 1997 that he really learned the joys of cooking.
“I hired my friend [former Cork’s chef] Jerry Pellegrino to help me cook,” recalls Russell, who got his restaurant start as a busboy at The Mt. Washington Tavern at age 15. “I knew nothing. He brought me the Joy of Cooking, and he gave it to me and said, ‘Read this.’ Before that, a good dinner was Oodles of Noodles with jarred Prego Sauce.”