Irene Smith is a go-getter. She was on board last year for the food-truck trend with her Souper Freaks mobile van. Then, she set her sights on the vacated dining space in the Woman’s Industrial Exchange (333 N. Charles St., 410-244-6450). In December, she officially opened the Woman’s Industrial Kitchen, an homage to both the comfort food once served by doting waitresses and to other Maryland women—famous and unknown. Tables, for instance, pay respect to Billie Holliday, Emily Post, and Nancy Pelosi with photos and passages. The menu reveres women, too. “We wanted to create the idea that home cooking has value,” Smith says. “This food reminds you of the best dishes you’ve had.” Marguerite’s chicken salad with aspic and deviled egg ($9) recreates a once-popular dish and is named after a long-ago server. In fact, most of the food honors female cooks: Addie’s tuna melt, Aunt Irene’s crab cake. “It’s a version of love,” Smith explains.
Bringing back the past in food and spirit
Issue date: February, 2012