In Good Taste

Actor Danny Glover to Appear at Ida B’s Table Grand Opening This Weekend

Chef David Thomas talks soul food and partnership with The Real News Network.

By Lauren Cohen | September 22, 2017, 12:39 pm

In Good Taste

Actor Danny Glover to Appear at Ida B’s Table Grand Opening This Weekend

Chef David Thomas talks soul food and partnership with The Real News Network.

By Lauren Cohen | September 22, 2017, 12:39 pm

Back in 2015, local journalism nonprofit The Real News Network approached chef David Thomas about partnering to open a restaurant inside its downtown building on the corner of Holliday and Saratoga streets.

The Real News is this no-nonsense organization that is very much trying to be a voice for the voiceless,” Thomas says. “And, in most cases, that is those in the African-American community. It really made sense to me that this restaurant paired nicely with their mission.”

This weekend, after more than one year of planning, Thomas will officially debut Ida B’s Table—his homage to legendary journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells that emphasizes modern soul food.

“The only true American cuisine is Southern cuisine,” says Thomas, who previously owned Herb & Soul in Parkville. “When slaves came from Africa, they brought foods like yams, watermelon, and salted fish, and the natives helped us to cultivate the land. I just want people to understand that local sustainability was not cliché for the slaves—it was how they survived.”

To properly introduce the community to the new concept, Thomas and his wife, co-partner Tonya Thomas, will be hosting a star-studded lineup of grand opening events running from Saturday, September 23 to Tuesday, September 26.

The celebration kicks off on Saturday, September 23 with a special event featuring activist and Hollywood actor Danny Glover (think Lethal Weapon and Angels in the Outfield.) Glover sits on the board of The Real News Network, and Thomas says that he has been involved in the restaurant since the beginning.

“Most restaurant openings don’t have this type of fanfare unless you’re a big chain or a big-name chef,” Thomas says. “But Ida B. Wells is worthy of that type of spectacle.”

Aside from sharing his grandmother’s monkey bread recipe with Thomas to feature on the menu at Ida B’s, Glover will also be cooking up his family’s time-honored gumbo for the event.

“The recipe has been passed down in his family for 100 years,” Thomas says. “I’m always excited when I can put my hands on that much history.”

Saturday’s ribbon-cutting will also feature a talk by Chicago-born author Michelle Duster, a direct descendent of Ida B. Wells who will read passages from her books detailing her great-grandmother’s work and legacy.

Emceed by local musician and Real News correspondent Eze Jackson, the evening’s program will also highlight live jazz sets by Ama Chandra and Lafayette Gilchrist. And, of course, Thomas will be whipping up a special prix-fixe meal for all attendees featuring Glover’s gumbo, fried chicken with pimento cheese, wild game hen, and biscuits with caramelized peaches and cardamom-sorghum whipped cream for dessert.

The grand opening festivities continue with a family-friendly workshop led by local music educators Jamaal “Mr. Root” Collier and Max Bent on September 24, a special industry night on September 25, and a presentation by culinary historian Michael Twitty paired with a meal inspired by his book on September 26.

Though Thomas is no stranger to the local culinary scene, he says that it’s refreshing to be able to launch something new.

“Restaurants are like babies,” he says. “You conceptualize them, and think and dream about them for so long that, even once you get them up and running, your mind never stops working. I’m always looking forward and thinking ahead.”




Meet The Author

Lauren Cohen is a digital associate editor for Baltimore, where she blogs about food, events, lifestyle, and community news.



You May Also Like


Food & Drink

Best Restaurants in Baltimore

As the dining scene sizzles, our picks for the top tables in town.

Food & Drink

Review: Well Crafted Kitchen

Two couples move their pizza business into Union Collective.

In Good Taste

The Most Decadent Dishes to Try This Valentine’s Day

Indulge in truffles, pasta, and red velvet cake at these romantic restaurants.


Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: To Market, To Market

We dish on all the big news from Baltimore's public markets, plus talk to Phil Han and share our best bites this week.

Food & Drink

Sacré Sucré Owners Share Love of Bake Shop and Each Other

Desserts are sacred at this haute pastry shop in Fells Point.

Food & Drink

Review: Le Comptoir du Vin

Le Comptoir du Vin dazzles in Station North.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Deyane Moses’ Blackives Revises MICA’s Racist History: New exhibit and online database inspires institutional change at the art school.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Maryland Prepares to Open in Jonestown: We chat with president and CEO Sandy Pagnotti about the new Baltimore facility.

Fancy Clancy Pilsner to Debut at Sliders on Opening Day: The beloved beer vendor finally gets a brew to call his own.

Five Things to Know About Broadway Market in Fells Point: For starters, one of the stalls officially opens today.

March Madness Food and Drink Specials That Are Slam Dunks: Fill out your bracket and head to these local watering holes for NCAA games.