Native to Rockville, Christian moved to Frederick, MD when he was fourteen. He inherited his love of cooking from his vegetarian mother who was creative in the kitchen and loved experimenting with sauces to add interest to her veggie-based meals. Christian didn't inherit his mother's veggie gene and actually worked for a butcher for a time. After graduating from the Lincoln Culinary Institute, he took his culinary skills on a path spanning the local restaurant scene for years. He loves his craft and is passionate about following in his mothers foot steps — creating flavorful and out-of-the-box dishes for his guests that has built a loyal following at Hootch & Banter.
Jeff is a Frederick native who has been working on Market Street for many years. He specializes in taking classic cocktails and giving them his very own personal twist. Jeff, a true master mixologist, has been with Hootch & Banter since the beginning and has transformed his 10 seats at his bar into a unique experience.
Hootch & Banter opened it's doors on November 5, 2015, bringing new life to the historic South Market Street building known to locals as Kidd’s Cafe and then The Canal Bar & Grill. Charles Kidd III was the third-generation owner and operator and was the cheerful face that defined Frederick's oldest family-operated restaurant. Charles, who renamed Kidd's Cafe to The Canal Bar & Grill, unexpectedly passed in 2015 and the historic restaurant closed its doors. Hootch & Banter owners Sherif Salem and Cherie Nearman met while working together at Smith & Wollensky Steak House in 2005 and immediately hit it off. When the two decided it was time to open their own restaurant they started searching for the perfect location.
From years of working in the fine dining sector, both knew they wanted a place featuring a casual atmosphere with upscale food. To honor the Kidd family and the building's history, they enlarged the old photo that prominently displays on the restaurant walls. The photo features Kidd’s Cafe circa the 1950s and includes Charles Kidd’s father and grandfather. Sherif and Cherie were married in 2015 and spent what should have been their honeymoon transforming their restaurant into a modern and sophisticated bistro. Dark wood tables, high-backed black leather booths and an attention-grabbing bar were added, built by local craftsmen and family members.
After months of hard work, which included their entire immediate families, Hootch & Banter came to life. Similar to the Kidd family, Sherif's mother, Nahed, and brother, Mohamed, and Cherie's sister, Julie, all have worked at the restaurant since opening. The menu and array of cocktails, wine and liquor emphasize fresh and seasonal ingredients, many local. As tribute to the former owners and their longtime family business, the house burger is named after Charles Kidd III.