Longtime Baltimore Businesses Take You Home for the Holidays: Iamp’s At Jennings Cafe


Jennings Cafe has a long history in Catonsville. Learn how Steve Iampieri upholds holiday traditions that were passed down over generations, and hear from Peggy Bailey—a server for more than four decades.


Jennings Christmas Display
Jennings Christmas Display | Photo: Provided


Omar Jennings opened Jennings Café in Catonsville on Frederick Road in 1958 after selling his Pimlico Hotel restaurant, bringing along his family’s love of horse racing and food. Omar Jr. took the reins in 1965, followed by Omar III, who retired and sold Jennings in 2017.

In stepped Steve Iampieri, who enjoys carrying on family traditions of hearty food and friendly, personal service.

Jennings Cafe
Jennings Cafe | Photo: Provided

“Thanksgiving Eve we get an oyster shucker, a couple hundred oysters and we shuck out back,” Iampieri says. “We have music, and of course we have our turkey dinners.” Holiday staples include fried oysters and oyster stew. “All kinds of fun things … we’re carrying on what Omar and his family did for a half-century plus.”

Even the red decor and paneled interior make this place a cozy holiday destination.

When Peggy Bailey, 79, started waiting tables at Jennings, it was the only sit-down restaurant in the area. She has been serving up holiday cheer there for 42 years, and she has her holiday favorites.

“I like the stuffed oysters, stuffed with imperial crab and stuffed shrimp. We have great imperial crab,” she says, “and I bring the liver and onions home.”

She looks forward to the holidays. “We are a family restaurant, and we have a lot of kids come in.”

808-810 Frederick Road, Catonsville. 410-744-3824 | jenningscafe.com

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