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Restaurants flee the Grand Prix

September 2, 2013
By

2447829864Jesse Sandlin looked at the numbers from last year and decided to close her new restaurant, Oliver Speck’s in Harbor East, during this year’s Grand Prix.

“It just wasn’t worth it,” says Sandlin, who was chef at Vino Rosina (in the same space) last year when the Indy and LeMans cars zoomed through city streets just a few blocks away. Hersh’s Pizza and Drinks over in Federal Hill also closed for the weekend. The apology on their answering machine attributed the closure to the race – which makes access to the neighborhood a nightmare for anyone traveling from the north.

Restaurants along the race route were charged $5,000 to have the tarp removed so patrons could see the actual cars (rather than just hearing the souped-up engines behind the blue barrier). The Grand Prix is all about Baltimore, according to the mayor, and will someday drive $70 million a year into the economy, say race organizers. Meantime, Sandlin carted her barbecue up to Scapescape, the music and arts festival held over the weekend in the Station North neighborhood – where plenty of revelers arrived by bicycle or on foot.

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