Morris Martick sells 40-year-old liquor license on Baltimore City Paper classifieds
Morris Martick, the 88-year-old proprietor of Martick's Restaurant Francais, is selling the liquor license he's held for 40 years.
Not with a broker, but on the classifieds of Baltimore City Paper.
Martick, who first opened the downtown French restaurant in 1970, closed it in 2008. He's tried to lease it since then but no one has expressed interest.
In January, he asked the liquor board to extend his due-to-expire license for six extra months so he could find a new buyer.
He tried Craigslist but was unsuccessful. Two weeks ago, he decided to try a classifieds ad on the alternative weekly. The ad appears on the back page, past all the ads for massage parlors, above a picture announcing $900 luxury apartments.
It is unadorned and pithy, reading simply: "Martick's Liquor License - for sale," with a few more words on location and a contact number. No mention of the restaurant's history, or its off-kilter reputation.
After 40 years, Martick had enough. "I won't re-open it ever again. I'm too old."
Martick was born in the building where he later opened his restaurant. When he couldn't afford the city's requirements for exterior improvement, which he pegged at $30-40,000, he closed the restaurant.
"it's an institution," he said. "Or it was. But I'm 88. What's the use of working anyway."
"I was going to lose it, so I might as well sell it," Martick said. "It's very hard to get a new liquor license." He's held on to his for 40 years.
When asked got the asking price, he gave an answer that was classic Martick. "Gee, I don't know. That's a good question," he said. "I think it's worth around $20,000 to $25,000."
Stephan Fogleman, the chairman of the Liquor Board, said Martick is within his right to sell the license, but it must be transferred within the same Senatorial district. If the new owners choose to move the location of the license, it cannot be less than 300 feet from a church or school.
For interested buyers, Martick's personal number - 410-685-5192 - is listed on the ad.
But so far, Midnight Sun's is the only call the tired chef has received.
Photo: Martick's/Jed Kirschbaum, Baltimore Sun