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October 26, 2010

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."

It's stayed closed since then. Without the liquor license in use, Baltimore city Liquor Board was about to suspend it before Martick began to seek buyers. A reader noticed the ad in the classifieds.

"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

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Posted by Erik Maza at 8:00 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


We bought our bar (including the liquor license,) off of craig's list. Its not that uncommon.

That 300 feet from a church or a school is b.s. They tried to hit me with that when i bought my liquour license and i pointed out that the folks to the immediate left and right of me had ones. They granted me a license directly across from the Basilica after fighting Jimmy Rouse's racist opposition.

Tif-- What bar do you run/own? I am just curious since you are such a frequent commenter.

I don't-- I sold my interest and got out about 10 years ago

@Tif-which bar was it? Is is still around from 10 years ago?
@Peter-which bar do you run/own?

Gallery 409 it was more like an entertainment concert hall (Floetry, Raheem DeVaughn, etc.) It's now An Die Music

@Tif -- I had no idea. That's cool man. Did you make money off it? How long was it around?

I have no respect for anyone who accuses Jimmy Rouse of such lies. Shame on "Tif" for trying to defame Mr. Rouse.

Can it, you grinning jackass.

@Sam about four years- too much money- my partners pushed me out and tried to run it themselves #fail

@Adam I hope your being sarcastic or as he said at our liquor board hearing "this is not a racial issue- look at all the things my family has done for you people"

I'm glad to see Mr. Martick is still around. I loved that restaurant and that mean old bastard. He was actually always nice to me even if he was very gruff.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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