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A Taste of Maryland History: A Guide to Historic Eateries and Their Recipes

Debbie Nunley and Karen Jane Elliott

John F. Blair, Publisher
$19.95 paperback
7 ½ x 8 ½
206 pages
illustrations throughout
Published in 2005

Ever since hearing a restaurateur describe himself as a “keeper of the history,” authors Debbie Nunley and Karen Jane Elliott have been on a quest to find other kindred spirits who share their passion for excellent dining and historic preservation.

Tradition-rich Maryland provided them many opportunities to visit restaurants where the scent of yesteryear lingers in the air. At the Reynolds Tavern and Tea Room in Annapolis, they ate in a structure formerly known as The Beaver and Lac’d Hat, where customers could take a meal, play cards, stable their horses, and make purchases ranging from hats to dry goods to theater tickets. While visiting The Milton Inn in Sparks, they sampled desserts in a former school boasting an infamous graduate—John Wilkes Booth. At Gabriel’s Inn in Ijamsville, Debbie enjoyed a French Provincial feast near where residents once witnessed America’s first railroad trip—four rail cars pulled by horses between Baltimore and Frederick. Inside John Hagan’s Tavern in Braddock Heights, Karen dined sumptuously at the place locals once came to “fight chickens, drink bad whiskey, and black each other’s eyes,” in the words of one long-ago servant.

Nunley and Elliott have won a loyal following for their deft touch in describing the architecture, décor, cuisine, and ambiance at the many establishments they visit. A Taste of Maryland History covers 90 restaurants and includes 200 recipes adapted for home use, from local standards like Crab Cakes and Seafood Imperial to surprises like Hibiscus Tea Sorbet and Pot Pie of Wild Mushrooms. It compiles the best of what Maryland has to offer.


“Authors Debbie Nunley and Karen Jane Elliott have been on a quest to find those who are passionate about both fine dining and historic preservation, and Maryland provided them with the best opportunities to visit restaurants steeped in both fine food and rich history. A Taste Of Maryland History: A Guide To Historic Eateries And Their Recipes thus serves two distinct purposes: as a survey of Maryland historic establishments it provides would-be travelers with a guide to fine historic eating houses across the state, providing an entire page of history to compliment the authors' descriptions of the atmosphere and offerings they experienced today. And as a cookbook, it provides a fine collection of these signature dishes, selecting several from each establishment which have been adapted to home cook proportions. Enjoy Pan-Roasted Scallops with Ginger and Lemon Grass or Buffalo-Style Pizza in a fine gathering. Highly recommended both for Maryland history buffs, cooks, and armchair travelers alike.” —Midwest Book Review