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Chef 'pauses' business at three Fells Point restaurants amid 'safety concerns'

Fells Point
Posted at 12:00 PM, Jun 17, 2024

BALTIMORE — A popular chef and restaurateur announced on social media he plans to pause business at his three Fells Point restaurants amid 'safety concerns."

Chef Ashish Alfred owns Duck Duck Goose, Osteria Pirata, and Anchor Tavern. In his Facebook post, he talks about the 7 years he's worked in food service in Fells Point.

The post goes on to say, "given the recent events in Fells Point, I feel it's in the best interest of my businesses, and the incredibly hardworking people on my team for us to simply 'press pause' briefly while the city works to remedy the safety concerns..."

On June 8, a 16-year-old girl was shot in the wrist in the 800 block of S. Broadway, the same block as Duck Duck Goose. She survived her injuries.

WMAR-2 News spoke to Alfred about the decision to temporarily close and he said the business has had challenges. He said after the shooting people started calling to cancel their bookings.

"There's a lot of problems that I know how to fix, how to fix the food, how to fix the service, how to, you know, market the restaurant, but what I don't know how to fix is getting more butts in seats."

He said he spoke to his employees well before he made this announcement and tried his best to help them find new placements.

"None of them were naive to what was going on. They know that we've been struggling for some time just to keep the lights on," says Alfred.

Large crowds can often be seen in Fells Point as it is a popular bar district but Alfred says it isn't the crowds causing the problems.

"The issue is the small, the few who ruin it for the many, you know, the ones that come down there with guns or full bottles of liquor and the police's inability to do anything about it, one, because of their policy, and two, because they're understaffed."

Since the teen was shot earlier this month more police have been deployed in Fells Point on the weekend.

Violent crime is down in Fells Point by about 14% compared to this same time-frame last year. Property crime is down about 38%, according to city data. There have been 3 shootings in Fells Point this year.

Maryland court records show that Baldor Speciality Foods, a distributor, filed a claim against Alfred Hospitality LLC, in April that references Duck Duck Goose and Alfred. Records also show a lien in Montgomery County.

Alfred says he has bought and sold restaurants for 12 years and says there is sometimes a "legal mess" to cleanup from one to the next.

Alfred does hope to reopen the businesses but has no timeline for when that could happen.