On the menu, chicken salad, tomato aspic, meatloaf, and more. Chef Tina Perry, formerly a sous chef at The Chameleon in Lauraville, will be re-creating these familiar dishes that were once served in the Woman's Industrial Exchange restaurant space that has variously been called the Lunch Room and Tea Room in the past.
Whirlwind entrepreneur Irene Smith—also known for her Souper Freak food truck—is the force behind the new enterprise, now called Woman's Industrial Kitchen. She recently raised more than $10,000 in a seven-day kickstarter.com campaign for the restaurant.
"We wanted to create the idea that home cooking has value," she said on the phone today. "It's a version of love. This food reminds you of the best dishes you've had."
The décor also honors Maryland women, with dining-room tables named after well-known and unsung residents, like Billie Holiday, Harriet Tubman, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Dr. Eugenie Clark (a shark expert). Irene has also decorated the walls with photos of women taken by famous photographer A. Aubrey Bodine that she bought at auction.
Besides celebrating local women, Irene also hopes the new restaurant—enter through the Woman's Industrial Exchange and head toward the back of the room, though you may want to shop for homemade items first—will lure people to the 300 block of North Charles Street.
"We want to bring it back," she said of the area. "We want to rebuild the heart of Baltimore."