What do you get when you mix two fine dining chefs, a former bar manager and a revamped Chinese restaurant?
The answer is Perry Hall's newest sandwich shop: Ravage Deli at 9636 Belair Rd.
"I love making sandwiches," said Aaron Stahlmann, one of Ravage Deli's three co-owners. "I've cooked in about 20 restaurants, everywhere from fine dining to cruise ships to four-star hotels. I've done a little bit of everything and I've just always wanted a deli."
Stahlmann's journey to Perry Hall started at Yosemite National Park, where he worked as the executive chef of Evergreen Lodge. There he met bar manager and girlfriend Rachel Hanson, a Perry Hall native, and became friends with banquet chef Eric Davis.
Market pressures, however, caused the trio to leave California in 2011.
"I don't want to say that fine dining is dead, but with the economy, it's not how it was. All of sudden it got a lot slower and wages went down," Stahlmann said.
Hanson added: "We pretty much got tired of working 15 hours a day for other people."
After a stint in North Carolina, they traveled to Hanson's hometown, where her mother still lives in the Seven Courts neighborhood. When a former Chinese restaurant's space became available in Brick Bodies Square, they decided to try their luck at starting a deli.
Following a shared investment of about $75,000, Ravage Deli opened last month. Within the first week, they began selling between 40 to 50 sandwiches a day, according to Stahlmann.
The owners pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients and made-from-scratch sauces. Sandwiches with names like "The Mile High Rueben" and "The Noble Pig" range from $7 to $13.25. An assortment of sides include "Lump Crab Mac 'n' Cheese" and "Duck Fat French Fries."
Stahlmann said prices tend to be $1 to $2 higher than local competitors, but the upped size and quality account for the difference.
"We're supporting locals. It's farm to table—you want to keep it as fresh as possible," Hanson said. "If we were to have Sysco or US Foods bring in all of our supplies, it would be cheaper, which is crazy because it's coming from across the country. Local costs more but you need it to make good products."
Davis added: "Fresh is best. There's a new wave of people interested in where their food comes from, and we embrace that. We're trying to bring that here, northeast of Baltimore."
For Hanson, who now serves sandwiches to her family members and childhood friends around Perry Hall, the shop's culinary experiment is more personal.
"Every day we get a little busier. Hopefully people will come in and try us and keep coming back," she said.