As Ron Cassie wrote about earlier, we were so incredibly saddened to hear about the death of Patrick "Scunny" McCusker, the owner of Nacho Mama's and Mama's on the Half Shell, who was killed riding a bicycle in Ocean City Friday night.
Our thoughts are with McCusker's family, close friends, and the tight-knit community that he built in Southeast Baltimore. Last year, I interviewed McCusker and asked him why he loved Canton, a neighborhood he was so instrumental in building when he opened Nacho Mama's 18 years ago:
Canton is like a small town they plucked out of the middle of suburbia and dropped into a city. The neighborhood has a real sense of itself, and a real sense of community. Plus, we have a waterfront for kayaking. We have a huge park for outdoor concerts. We have a lively square and tons of corner bars.
I opened Nacho Mama's 18 years ago and, along with the owners of Looney's, Claddagh, and Speakeasy, I've watched this neighborhood grow. When I first opened, a guy asked me why I was putting a Mexican restaurant in a Polish neighborhood. It's grown from that old-school, working-class feel to a place where people are settling down with their kids and raising families.
I have original customers of mine bringing in their grandkids now—which is a testament to the fact that people don't just live here, they stay here.
Thank you, Scunny, for creating that community. You will be sorely missed.
Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen and memorial contributions can be made to the Hopkins Children House's Believe in Tomorrow Children's Foundation, 6601 Frederick Rd., Baltimore, 21228.