Salomon Bemaras, a resident of Pikesville and member of Beit Yaakov Congregation, started The Daily Special in 2018.
At the time, he had two separate establishments named Me Latte, one located in the Johns Hopkins area, and the other at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC. He had been getting a sizable number of orders for catering services from both kosher and non-kosher clients in the downtown area, which was an impractically long distance away from his JCC location. He decided to sell the Owings Mills location and opened The Daily Special.
Now, a few years later, downtown Baltimore’s The Daily Special, which had been known for serving fresh and healthy kosher cuisine, has experienced a change in both management and menu. The restaurant is now called Daily Special Restaurant Authentic Mexican Grill and will have a new focus on non-Kosher, Mexican cuisine.
The food business, Bemaras recalled being told, was a particularly hard one, and his 15 years in the industry have given him no reason to disagree. “It’s 100% a much harder business,” he said. “It’s a lot of money, a lot of hard work.”
Despite the challenges, “It doesn’t scare me, hard work,” Bemaras said.
When The Daily Special first opened, approximately 60-70% of the clientele were people who kept kosher, Bemaras said. The non-kosher customer base grew to about 60% of their sales. Many of their customers ate at The Daily Special after being called for jury duty, he said.
The restaurant was located in a basement, which may have made it a more challenging establishment to run, Bemaras said, but he worked hard to provide customers with excellent service and quality food. The first year running the restaurant was arduous, but afterward it became increasingly profitable, he recalled.
Then, of course, came COVID-19, hitting Bemaras’ business hard as it had with every restaurant, leading to his decision to ultimately sell the establishment. While he initially had hoped for a few months to sell it to someone who would keep it a kosher venue, he found that the number of entrepreneurs looking to open a restaurant had substantially declined during the pandemic. In the end, he found it necessary to sell to the location’s current owners, who had a different vision for it.
The community, Bemaras said, has been sad to hear the news of their closing.
Bemaras’ best memories from the restaurant, he said, have involved all the people he has had the privilege of meeting during the journey.
Bemaras is now looking to transition out of the food industry and has been finding success instead in property management.