The Story Behind a Fells Point Favorite

October 19, 2018

Fran Lane

Fells Point’s Bertha’s Restaurant and Bar is world famous. Their infamous “Eat Bertha’s Mussels” green bumper stickers are spotted around the globe. Their mussels are fresh, delicious, and steamed up and served just right with a variety of dips. We know about their great seafood, but how did this Fells Point favorite get its name?

 It all began when Tony Norris, an instructor of classical guitar at George Washington University, Washington D.C., and his wife Laura Norris, a violinist and music instructor, also at George Washington, teamed up with a friend to buy a decrepit bar in the backwater area of Baltimore (Fell’s Point).  The bar at the time was called “The Lone Star”. 

 The neglected waterfront area seemed to attract a very creative crowd. The Lone Star bar that Tony and Laura purchased around 1972 picked up an almost instant clientele due to its funky location. Tony found a stained glass memorial window in a Baltimore junk shop, this window was dedicated to the memory of Bertha E. Bartholomew, whose identity remains unknown to this day.  The stained glass window displayed with lighting behind it was hung over the bar and thus the bar became known as Berthas.

 Whenever we’re in Fells Point Tom and I always stop in at Bertha’s.