Ida B's Table

Case Study in Design

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Project started in 2015, The Real News Network (TRNN) purchased a 100 year old building from the City of Baltimore for the main purpose of developing a restaurant concept that can become an extension of their mission. A non-profit, viewer supported center for digital journalism, dedicated to telling the stories that matter to fighting back against capitalism, white supremacy and imperialism. Clients needed to partner with a restaurant developer, to take charge of the concept development through operations and opening.

Existing Conditions

Building Built 1915, occupied by C.J. Youse Company, manufactured candy and confectionary paper boxes for 106 years. A Historical three story brick structure of 22,330 square foot, 7443 per floor. The restaurant would be located on the first floor with a banquet facility on the third floor. The location was not conducive for a restaurant facility, based on demographics. Obstacles to overcome: Working with TRNN board of directors, Historical building, located in a Flood plain, building did not comply with ADA, new electrical service, new water services, new sprinkler.

Program Objectives

To develop a new concept that would be a platform for the TRNN to reach out to the community it serves. Work within a specific budget, create a model that can be acceptable to the board of TRNN and open within 6 months from the starting dates. The restaurant where you can attend and participate in events that reflect contemporary politics and culture. Ida B. Wells’ mission was to help people understand the world—and therefore to change it—by seeing things from a different perspective. This mission is the foundation for Ida B’s Table’s character.


  • Branding, naming and trademark, design logo.
  • Develop a business plan.
  • Architectural, Interior Design, Food Service, MEP engineering drawings for permits.
  • Cost Analysis, Bidding, Construction management, Permit expediting.
  • Operations manuals, operations set up.
  • Obtain liquor license.
  • Purchasing of all items in the restaurant.
  • Interview and identify executive chef and partners.
  • Maintain a board seat for managing the restaurant.


Opening of Ida B’s Table, August 31, 2017. The restaurant opening serving modern soul food. It is a full service restaurant with bar and entertainment. Dining area 72 seats Full service Bar 35 seats, party room 60 seats. With a liquor WBL License. Banquet facility on the third floor for seating of 300. All operations are handled within the restaurant. Closed in 2021 due to Covid19.

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