Restaurateur Sidney Friedman


August 03, 1993|By Staff Report

Sidney Friedman, the man who took his father's neighborhood lunch counter and transformed it into the grand Chesapeake Restaurant of Charles Street, died of heart failure yesterday at Sinai Hospital.

A resident of the Village of Cross Keys, he was 87.

Mr. Friedman was a devoted sports fan who worked to bring both the major league Orioles and Colts to Baltimore.

A Baltimore native, Mr. Friedman graduated from Baltimore City College in 1927 and the Johns Hopkins University in 1931. He attended Harvard Law School for a year, left during the Great Depression and came home to Baltimore and sold advertising for The Sun.

In 1933, as his father, Morris, lay ill, young Sidney took over the family business just north of Pennsylvania Station. Under his guidance, the modest lunch counter founded in 1918 was renamed the Chesapeake and became one of the city's premier restaurants, specializing in seafood.

Following a trip to Chicago early in his stewardship of the Chesapeake, Mr. Friedman introduced charcoal-cooked steaks to the restaurant along with the motto: "Cut your steak with a fork, else tear up your check and walk out."

From 1943 to 1945, Mr. Friedman was a private in the Army stationed at Fort Meade. In the 1950s and 1960s, his restaurant became a pregame spot for Colts and Orioles fans to gather.

A fire closed the restaurant in 1974, and Mr. Friedman retired in 1976, eventually selling the business to his brother Philip. The Friedman family severed its ties to the Chesapeake in 1986.

A witty, kind and affable man, Sidney Friedman enjoyed reading almost anything he could find, but was particularly interested in current events. "He was insatiable for details about what was going on in the world and what was going on in your life," said one longtime friend.

Mr. Friedman lost his sight to glaucoma five years ago, but continued to follow his beloved Baltimore Orioles on radio and through the sports pages, read to him by his wife, Audrey, or friends.

He was a founder of the Restaurant Association of Maryland and a lifelong member of Beth Tfiloh Congregation on Old Court Road.

Graveside services for Mr. Friedman were to be held at 3 p.m. today at United Hebrew Cemetery, Washington Boulevard and Sulphur Spring Road in Halethorpe.

In addition to his wife, the former Audrey Hart, he is survived by his brothers, Philip "Penny" Friedman of Baltimore and Norman Friedman of Delray Beach, Fla.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the Audrey and Sidney Friedman Glaucoma Foundation, c/o Dr. Irving P. Pollack, Sinai Hospital, 2401 Belvedere Ave., Baltimore 21215.

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