EAT BERTHA'S MUSSELS
An imperative sentence made famous in Baltimore, Maryland as the "motto" of Bertha's, a local seafood bar located in Fells Point (on Broadway, one block North of the water) which serves, amazingly enough, mussels -- on the order of 2,000 pounds per week!
Bertha's opened in 1972 as a venue for owners Tony and Laura Norris (players of classical guitar and violin) to perform music and promote the local music scene. When city ordinances cracked down on strip clubs1 by changing laws on cabaret licenses, their plans for running the bar as a music club quickly vanished. Instead they turned it into a seafood restaurant and quickly gained a following with their quirky attitude and faux history.
In the 1980's, when Baltimore again changed their laws for music clubs, the restaurant had become an attraction on its own. To complement the food, the Norrises added regular jazz performers -- which are scheduled still today.
Baltimoreans (or Baltimorons) know the restaurant best for the green bumper stickers proclaiming "EAT BERTHA'S MUSSELS" and the same message emblazoned on the side of the building in foot-tall letters.
743 South Broadway
Hours (Dining Room):
Fri, Sat 11:30AM-Midnight
(The Bar is open until 2AM each night)
If you're a total tourist visiting the area, ask everyone for directions to the Homicide: Life on the Street set, then go diagonally across the "plaza" with lots of skateboarding kids around.
Originally, the founders of the restaurant wrote a song (aptly named "Eat Bertha's Mussels") about their restaurant. It has been performed by numerous bands, including a Californian sketch comedy group, Sons of Anacreon The lyrics go something like this (to Irish folk tune -- if you've ever been in a bar where people sing you should be able to figure out how it goes):
A sailor came to Bertha's with a problem most severe:
His manly pride had been atrophied by a voyage of fourteen years.
He ate a plate of mussels, now he sings in a different key --
His jib boom’s set right, he’ll be in there tonight, and he’ll never go back to sea!
Eat Bertha's mussels, they're the best there is by far.
You can eat them in the dining room, you can eat them in the bar.
So when you're ashore in Baltimore and you fancy a bite to eat,
Just follow your nose to Bertha's,
you'll be in for a rare old treat.
A lady came to Bertha's who wanted a daughter or son.
The doctor had said, with a shake of the head, that she couldn't have either one.
She ate a plate of mussels, then went home to her husband dear --
She tuned up his creweth, and I'll tell you the truth; They had triplets the very same year!