There’s a little unassuming spot nestled amid a snarl of highways out there in the darkness beyond downtown Baltimore. The place serves smoky pit beef sandwiches that could stop a semi, as well as baked beans, creamy slaw, hand-cut fries — and you can slather your entire plate within an inch of its life in rich homemade sauces. I discovered this place after a long day at the Baltimore Convention Center while on a culinary reconnaissance mission spearheaded by a Canadian colleague. I can’t reveal the location of this place nor the names of my associates who accompanied us, but I can tell you it was worth the effort to Uber our way into the unknown in search of one of Charm City’s best plates.
Conferences like AB Show are invaluable in their capacity as professional gatherings — no doubt about it. We get to connect with peers in our industry, talk shop and go home with new ideas to improve the year ahead. I might suggest these gatherings are also about meeting new friends, relaxing and exploring new food and culture, and that those experiences and relationships also improve our work and offer us a more expansive worldview.
The conference life requires an artful balance, to be sure. Get your work on the expo floor done, pay attention at the educational sessions that serve your purpose, talk to strangers (they just might become friends), and enjoy your evenings with at least the intention of rising early. There’s always something to be learned if you’re open to learning it and sometimes the most important things are shared over a deep plate of pit beef in what, to you at least, might be the middle of nowhere.
As this issue of Athletic Business magazine will be distributed at AB Show 2023, I’d like to challenge any attendee reading this (heck, anyone reading this) to grab a couple professional acquaintances and venture out in search of your own off-the-beaten-path gem. I caution that while the destination may not always result in the best plate of bar-b-que south of the Mason Dixon Line, in the end, it’s really all about the quest itself and those with whom you endeavor to try something new.