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Thread: Baltimore restaurants mark 20 years

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    Baltimore restaurants mark 20 years

    As Baltimore restaurants mark 20 years, owners share what gives them staying power
    By Sarah Meehan
    The Baltimore Sun

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    What keeps a restaurant open for 20 years? Consistency in the face of change, Baltimore restaurateurs say.

    Twenty years ago Kurt Schmoke was the mayor of Baltimore; the Ravens had just wrapped up their inaugural season; "Homicide: Life on the Street" was in its prime. And the Brewer's Art had just opened its doors in Mount Vernon.

    Much has changed over the past two decades, but the Brewer's Art and fellow stalwarts of Baltimore dining are still going strong. Charleston in Harbor East is entering its 20th year in business, while Sotto Sopra and Blue Moon Cafe just capped off their 20th year as 2016 came to a close.

    Longevity is rare in an industry where research shows the vast majority of restaurants don't make it past their first five years. Market changes, evolving consumer trends and growing competition drive many to close their doors.

    Only 21.3 percent of all businesses that launched in 1996 have survived, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. But 20 years later, veteran restaurateurs say consistency, staying true to their identity and customer loyalty have kept them thriving.

    When the Brewer's Art opened in 1996, servers spent a lot of time educating guests on the farm-to-table food and experimental beer the restaurant was making. Some turned their noses up at the footed glassware in which the restaurant served its beer, said co-owner Tom Creegan.

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    Last edited by Banjo; 01-11-2017 at 08:03 PM.

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