I always take a special interest in the annual Best Restaurants feature, because fine food is close to my heart and one of the things Baltimore is known for.
When I see the list come out and one of my favorite haunts is missing, it’s sometimes hard to hold my tongue. I do, though, because the magazine’s reviewers take their jobs very seriously, have collectively written hundreds of restaurant reviews, and know a thing or two about food, wine, and service. In fact, I’ve never divulged to them, despite prodding, what my favorite restaurants are for fear of skewing the results. But I was especially pleased to see this year that three of my four favorite non-Little Italy restaurants are all on the list—Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Kali’s Court, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, and The Prime Rib. (My favorites in the old ’hood? We’re not going there because, as a native who’s returned here for good, I see these Little Italy restaurateurs every day!) Read the writeups and you’ll see why they made the cut, but I think you’ll also enjoy some of the accompanying stories. My favorite is the spotlight on Baltimore’s most popular waiters.
On a personal note, you’re all invited to a little birthday celebration—right here on this page. It’s for my company, Diamond Comic Distributors, but it’s also a nod to all the employers who have stuck with Charm City through thick and thin.
In the past generation or two, Baltimoreans have lost dozens of household-name companies that had headquarters or significant operations here, through closure, relocation, or buyouts. They’ve included London Fog, USF&G, the iconic National Bohemian, Bendix, and Alex. Brown, not to mention countless banks, steel mills, and shipyards. Thankfully, Baltimore has since reinvented itself as a major hub of healthcare and biotech, I.T., tourism, and finance.
But one of the significant employers that has stayed—and thrived—in Baltimore is Diamond itself, which has grown to be the world’s largest distributor of English-language comics, graphic novels, and related pop-culture merchandise. And though we operate distribution centers throughout the world, employing roughly 550 total employees, plus those at Diamond’s sister companies (like Baltimore), I never would have dreamed of moving out of the Baltimore area.
This year, Diamond celebrates its 30th year, ranking, as best as I can figure, among the top 150 or so employers in the area. Other well-known names among Baltimore’s stalwart employers? Northrop Grumman, T. Rowe Price Group, Legg Mason, Lockheed Martin, McCormick & Co., W.R. Grace & Co., H&S Bakery, Jos. A. Bank, and Venable, to name just a few.
So before I blow out the 30 candles (each molded into the likeness of a superhero, of course), I’ll make a wish for more employers to stick with Baltimore!