Morris “Maurice” Martick, the eccentric restaurateur who ran Martick’s Restaurant Francais for many years in downtown Baltimore, died this morning, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The quirky restaurant on W. Mulberry Street had closed in 2008. At the time, Martick told the press he was tired. No wonder. He was 86 then.
Baltimore diners sadly said goodbye to the elegant pâté, roasted duck, and bouillabaisse that Martick prepared in a kitchen behind the dining room that had become quite worn-out over the years.
We last heard about Martick in an April 2011 Baltimore magazine profile about Henry Wong, who transformed An die Musik into one of the city’s busiest concert venues.
In the story, staff writer John Lewis wrote about an occasion where Martick, a regular guest at An die Musik, approached Wong at the end of a meal at the Chinese restaurant Zhongshan, asking him, “What’s on tap for tonight?”
It was American jazz. As Martick left the restaurant, Wong made a comment that many of us would agree with: “That man, Morris, is full of history. It’s an honor just to know him.”
Martick’s restaurant was also a regular on our annual Best Restaurants list. In 2007, we wrote:
“If you have an ounce of flexibility and sense of adventure, please go, and go often. Slurp down the sweet potato soup; wolf the house made pâté; revel in the bouillabaisse, or the scallops over jasmine rice and brandied seafood. Wash it down with copious amounts of passable red wine in tiny little wine glasses.”
It’s too late now, of course. But Martick left behind a generation of diners who will always remember the man, the food, and the chipped blue door, where you had to reach up to press the doorbell before gaining admittance to the restaurant.