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June 20, 2009

Star Trek, Five Guys and McDonald's



When I went to the movies this afternoon, I parked for free at the Sun and walked down to the Landmark in Harbor East. I'm not as cheap as that makes me sound; Gailor, who was going with me to Star Trek, had driven down earlier to go to the gym, so her car was already down there.

Anyway, as I walked through the Inner Harbor, which was filled with people, someone stopped me to ask where a restaurant was. ...

What are the odds of that? You pick someone at random in a crowd to ask where a restaurant is, and she's the restaurant critic of the local newspaper. I felt like saying, Ask me anything about any restaurant in a five-mile radius and I'll be able to tell you. But that sounded kind of braggy so I didn't.

"Are there any fast-food restaurants around here? A McDonald's?" he asked.

Wow. I was stumped.

"There's a Five Guys in the Pratt Street Pavilion," I countered. "It has good burgers and fries."

He wasn't interested. "Is there a McDonald's?"

I had to admit I had no idea if the Inner Harbor has a McDonald's. Does it?

Landmark, by the way, has good movie popcorn. They pop it there and it isn't too salty.

(Karl Merton Ferron/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 9:21 PM | | Comments (27)


Somewhere on Charles or St. Paul or Calvert there is McDonalds. I can see it; it is a double decker McDonalds.

You should have taken him with you to the Landmark. I don't know what the food is like, although I know they have a crab pretzel, but I do know then have a full bar. What other movie theatre can one purchase a gin and tonic?

Ah, that nasty, sketchy double-decker McD's is no more. It was a really unpleasant place, more so even than most McDonald's - I believe there was a stabbing or shooting there a couple years back. It's a Subway now, which MIGHT be an incremental improvement...

Heresy. Landmark popcorn has nothing on the Charles Theater popcorn. The best anywhere. Semper Fi. Didn't the LM popcorn seem dry, almost air-pooped?

That's how I like it, it's how I pop corn at home. In a large skillet with no oil. So it absorbs more butter (not that I eat movie theater butter). EL

There's a big one on Baltimore Street - south side - between Light and Calvert. You can see it to your left heading south on Light as you go through the intersection - that's probably the one you're visualizing, Robert.
In the early 80's, when I worked for Legg Mason just out of college, it was the goto lunch spot for a bunch of us every two weeks, when we were trying to stretch our cash until next payday. Back then, with Harborplace still brand-new, that McD's was one of the busiest locations in the country, I was told.
I also thought there was a storefront McD's @ Calvert & Lombard at one point - maybe right down the street from the Brookshire? - but am not sure if that store is there anymore.

But how did you like the movie?

For the next couple of weeks while special screenings continue, you can still get great fresh-popped popcorn with real butter at the Senator Theater. Who knows what'll happen after the auction, so get it while you still can.
And the Landmark popcorn is not the greatest, IMHO - but I don't think I'd describe it as "air-pooped"!

So how was the movie? Any good space food?

The fact that McDonald's is so popular doesn't say much for the taste of the American public. For that matter, while in Portugal a number of years ago I was working with a young Portuguese law student who loved McDonald's. I couldn't understand that given that Lisbon has so many great restaurants and cafes. Obviously, those happy meals make people happy. Go figure.

Sorry, air-popped not pooped.

Major point of contention. The Senator Theater never had fresh popped popcorn before, one reason I gave up going there (just one reason). Their popcorn was stale garbage that they openly dumped from giant plastic bags into the bins. And it was more expensive than the Charles'. That's a hate crime.

I can think only of the McDonalds at Power Plant Live, being nearest to that location.

By day, infested with the screaming brat hordes from Port Discovery (with apologies to all the parents out there, I'm sure your screaming brat is marvelously behaved).

By night, drunk girls playing STD slalom at the bars, crying through all four applications of mascara over a McFlurry.



Great movie, but it isn't Trek.

There is a McD's in the Gallery-the one that use to be on Calvert and Lombard had a two levels and yes there was a stabbing in there in few years back. That place was always sketchy.

The "restaurant locator" in the McD's website still shows locations at the Gallery, Power Plant Live, and the corner of Baltimore and Light.

the double decker mcdonalds on lombard has been out of business for over a year due to a fire. tyhe only one downtown is at power plant live next to the kids museum.

Who goes out of town and looks for McFood? Sounds like sociopathic behavior to me! You should have steered clear, EL!

Is there a fourteen-letter word for someone who has a phobia about trying unfamiliar restaurants? (hmpstd?)

Dahlink -- the name "Elizabeth Large" has 14 letters, but I think that EL is far more adventurous in her choice of restaurants. ;-)
And, no, I can't tell you when I last was in a McD's.

The number 14 just flew into my head--I didn't have anyone in particular in mind, hmpstd, but you are such a treasure trove of odd lore I thought that if there is a word for someone who prefers the tried and true in eateries, you would find it and enlighten us.

Dahlink -- how about indeterminable?

That's good, hmpstd--but it could also apply to other conditions. Anyone?

There is a McDonald's on Fayette and Howard, but I guess some wouldn't consider that downtown.

Might be amusing to steer a tourist there.

Well, Yahoo had an entire page of 14-letter words, but I couldn't find one more appropriate than indeterminable. Does anybody else have a better word (one that can be applied to both singular and plural)?

I don't like fast food, and never went to the McDonald's in Hampden until a couple weeks ago when a friend from out of town asked to go there. We "ate in" (this was a week day) and were surprised at what a brisk business this McD's had - both drive through and walk in. Also, the employees were as polite as those at the best restaurants in the region.

Kudos to the manager of the Hampden McDonalds! He/she got it down.

I don't like fast food, and never went to the McDonald's in Hampden until a couple weeks ago when a friend from out of town asked to go there. We "ate in" (this was a week day) and were surprised at what a brisk business this McD's had - both drive through and walk in. Also, the employees were as polite as those at the best restaurants in the region.

Kudos to the manager of the Hampden McDonalds! He/she got it down.

sorry for posting the same message twice

Perhaps this person was severely hungover. The type of hangover that can only be cured by McDonald's fries and a Coke.

When the water was out in the Gallery, that McDonald's was the only eatery in the building that remained open. I haven't eaten there since.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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