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Dylan’s Oyster Cellar

"Behind Every Great Man Is A Great Woman."  Queue Irene Donnelly.

In this ongoing series of articles on Maryland and D.C. bars, restaurants, and taverns named after their owner (or a legacy family member), I typically talk to the actual namesake of the place. For Dylan’s Oyster Cellar in Baltimore, owner Dylan Salmon was unavailable. In journalism, though, one must be flexible. And, in this case, that flexibility paid off in the form of an excellent interview with Dylan’s wife, Irene Donnelly, the establishment’s co-owner.

She has been with him from the start, and she remembers some early trepidation upon making their restaurant a self-named eating and drinking place. She recalled, “There was a brief time where he felt, ‘I think I might have cursed myself because I put my name on the business.’ There was definitely a whole set of expectations that went with that he felt, and still feels, that I don’t necessarily feel. I watch him go around and talk to tables. And people are like, ‘Who is this guy?’ That’s because Dylan is very casual. He wears T-shirts and you’ll often see him in a beanie or a hat. He doesn’t present like a manager or an owner. He’s just a dude. But as soon as he says, ‘I’m Dylan’ then everybody lights up and gets really excited and they’re like, ‘Oh my God, you’re Dylan!’ It’s a lot for him, but he likes it.”

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