Woody Harrelson is in love with Fell’s Point. It all started about three years ago when Harrelson was in town filming the HBO movie, “Game Change” and stayed at the very, very new Inn at the Black Olive. So new, in fact, that there were only a few rooms even finished. Harrelson, a huge proponent of eco-friendly living, was impressed with their commitment to all things organic. While staying at the inn, Woody became friends with owner and operator Dimitris Spiliadis and even after filming wrapped, the two stayed in touch. And a few years later, when the hotel was struggling financially, Harrelson and local banker Jack Dwyer stepped in and bought the place. I’m not sure how often that could happen, but really…in a scrappy, up-and-coming town like Baltimore, it seems that almost anything is possible. Woody and Jack saved the day. Last weekend, to celebrate the new partnership and to raise money and awareness for the fantastic Great Kids Farm, the Inn at the Black Olive hosted a dinner at the Olive Room, located on the fifth floor of the hotel. Guests feasted on Greek specialties like dolmades and other hors d’oeuvres and then four courses and organic wines, beers and more. The blueberry vodka crushes were a big hit…
The mission of Great Kids farm is one that Harrelson is really passionate about: providing opportunities for Baltimore City Public School students to understand and participate in every aspect of food preparation, from seed to fork. And from day one of the hotel, Spiliadis has been a supporter of the farm. And Harrelson sees that as a really good thing. During a small pre-dinner press conference, Harrelson said, “The passion Dimitris has for food, the earth and organic living is amazing. He has a high level of integrity and this just seemed like a smart investment for Jack and me. Something very worth doing. I was happy to be involved.”
And then (like magic!) illusionist David Blaine walked into the room and Harrelson got up, the two embraced and he joined us at the table. He had flown in from Paris just for the event. Wow – that was quite a surprise! Blaine told us a crazy story about the night he met Harrelson – let’s just say it involved a face plant dive into a swimming pool. (It all worked out and the two have remained quite close since.) Throughout the dinner, Blaine visited with guests, doing tricks and blowing minds. After talking with Blaine, it was clear why the two connected. He was raised by a macrobiotic mom in the 1970s. While other kids were eating potato chips and McDonald’s, he was eating clean and organically. His friends thought it was a little weird, but it prepared Blaine for a life of thoughtful food and living choices. That’s pretty cool.
My favorite quote of the night: “The measure of any city is its people and I’ve really liked everyone I’ve met in Baltimore,” Woody said to me. God bless him. He loves this city! Agora Market at the Inn is open for breakfast and lunch from 7:00am – 3:00pm – check out their extensive menu: Breakfast + Lunch. And you can do dinner, too! Dinner at The Olive Room. The Spiliadis family, of course, also operates the often overlooked AMAZING Black Olive. It’s been in operation for over 17 years. That is saying a lot in the ever-changing landscape of restaurants in Baltimore. I haven’t been there in a long time – I’ve gotta get back. Love the table side fish cleaning – I’m always in awe. Skill!