If you're looking for Jägerschnitzel or Käsespätzle in Richmond, there's really only one place to go: The Baltic. And thanks to owners Jayson Fennimore, Carlos Sanchez, and José Guevara, The Baltic is also a community hub unlike anything else in Richmond. Depending on the night, people can be seen enjoying live music, dancing to Top-40 hits, or even getting their bikes tuned up. For the 110 year-old establishment, this is new.
Fennimore, Sanchez, and Guevara's iteration of The Baltic may be the most ambitious version yet, and it is looking to be the most enduring in recent memory. Since the Baltic was originally established in 1904, it has opened and closed its doors nearly a dozen times under different management. Though it started as a tavern, The Baltic has been an Italian restaurant, a bootlegging hotspot, and even an apartment building. In the early 2000's, The Baltic was briefly renamed and given an English-style menu. "It looked like that was messing with the formula too much, though," jokes Fennimore. "That version didn't last too long."
Since 2009, The Baltic has been transformed under the joint vision of Guevara, Fennimore, and Sanchez. Chef Guevara is trained in German cuisine and ran kitchen in San Francisco for ten years where he mastered the flavors and techniques that go into these dishes. Guevara and Sanchez are good friends, and Fennimore -- the son-in-law of Sanchez -- lived in Germany for ten years, where he acquired a feel for good beer and good customer service. The three together are a hybrid of culinary passion, strong management, and familial bonds.
The combination appears to be working. "With The Baltic, we really just want to maintain quality food and service while striving to be a community center," says Fennimore. "We have such a diverse community in Richmond -- it's really interesting to work to pull all facets here. We're trying to create a place for everybody." Part of achieving this goal has been extending the back patio where families can sit and enjoy a nice dinner, while people inside enjoy the traditional pub environment inside and listen to live music inside or get a drink at the bar.
"At this point, we are known to have an established local crowd. And The Baltic itself really encourages that type of environment for open communication among different crowds," explains Fennimore. "We have created so many links with people here, and some really amazing opportunities have come out of that."
A meal at The Baltic is a chance to meet people from all walks of life, enjoy any of a variety of carefully selected beers and dive into a well-crafted German meal made by a professional staff. Fennimore recommends the venison steak, seared, medium. "The dish has great spices. Served with the traditional red cabbage and served with au ju sauce and cranberries. Delicious. You've got to try it."
135 Park Pl, Richmond, CA
Tel. (510) 237-1000
Tues - Sun 11 am. - 2 am.
Photo credit: The Baltic