2 S. Decker Ave., (410) 342-5226
Roman's Place has always been a hidden gem, tucked away on a tiny street in an East Baltimore rowhouse. Its roots date back to when the Hess family ran it as a speakeasy during Prohibition, and it never really made the jump to the modern era. On a dark night, a lone neon sign will guide you to the door. Beer bottles and shot glasses cover an oak bar scorched by decades of cigarettes long extinguished. The ancient National cash register is frozen in the "No Sale" position but still serves as a shelf for the bottle of Crown Royal. In the back dining room, meals of pork chops or fried chicken are all homemade, and club sandwiches have cool names like the Lexington or the Calvert. It's been like this as long as anyone can remember and doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon.