By Jessica Kartalija

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A fixture in Baltimore’s restaurant and catering industry, Edward “Eddie” Dopkin loses his battle with leukemia.

Jessica Kartalija has more from the community Eddie Dopkin helped transform into a popular dining destination.

More than 1,000 people attended his funeral, including Senators Barbara Mikulski, Ben Cardin and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

There’s a small memorial on Cold Spring Lane for a man with a big heart. At Miss Shirley’s, it’s business as usual.

“Eddie would have wanted us to stay open. That’s why we’re here,” said Lani Nguyen, manager, Miss Shirley’s.

Eddie Dopkin was an advocate for the restaurant industry, opening restaurants throughout Maryland. He always said: “There’s lots of positive things about being in Baltimore.”

In 1994, he began transforming the Keswick/Evergreen neighborhood.

“It’s such a great place and so lively and so much energy. It has to be a reflection on him and how he inspired his staff to do those types of things for the people who come here,” said Natalie Magdeburger, Roland Park.

“He loved this area. He grew up in Baltimore,” said Jennifer McIllwain, Miss Shirley’s. “He just loved this street.”

McIllwain is marketing and PR manager for Miss Shirley’s.

“He would give you the shirt off his back if you asked for it. That’s the kind of man that he was,” she said.

The mayor, remembering his dedication to the city, said,  “My heart aches at hearing the news of Eddie Dopkin’s passing. He has been a constant fixture in the restaurant and catering community of Baltimore for many years and his commitment to the city was unwavering.”

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler took to social media to remember Dopkin. Eddie Dopkin

“I’m going to miss him a lot. It’s really hard,” Nguyen said. “And I know it’s really hard for everybody here. We’re all trying to stay strong and push through and run the restaurant the way that Eddie would want it to run.”

Dopkin’s signature restaurant may be in the country’s top 20, but he was #1 in the hearts of so many.

Eddie co-owned Classic Catering. They provide catering services for the Ravens and other charity organizations like Meals on Wheels.

Eddie Dopkin was 61 years old.

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