Posted on : Wednesday June 29, 2016

By Sharon Mager

TOWSON, Md—Church planter coaches, their spouses, and several staff members of the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network enjoyed a night of fellowship together at “The Real Thing” restaurant in Towson.

North American Mission Board (NAMB) Church Planting Catalyst Marcus Redding thanked the coaches for all they do to assist church planters.

It was a casual night of light-hearted discussion, laughing, and eating lots of cheesesteak subs.


Michael Crawford and Harcharan “Tony” Marwah, owner of “The Real Thing”

The restaurant is near and dear to Michael Crawford, Network Team Strategist for Church Multiplication. Crawford lunches at “The Real Thing,” when he’s in Towson. He loves their subs.

When the riots broke out in Baltimore after the Freddie Gray trial in the spring of 2015, Crawford asked his friend Harcharan “Tony” Marwah, owner of “The Real Thing,” if he could make 1000 cheesesteaks to feed the people who lived at ground zero and all those who were present because of the unrest.

Marwah didn’t hesitate. He wanted to help. NAMB, and the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network cooperated together to provide the resources needed to pay for the cheesesteaks and Marwah closed his restaurant and brought in extra help.

“It took seven people seven hours, with no breaks, and it took a lot of food. It was unbelievable. But thank God we did it,” Marwah said. “We wanted to do something, to make sure they had food and water. I wanted to help the National Guard and the others. Everything was closed down in the area, and when you’re out there, naturally you get hungry.”

Crawford and Marwah have remained friends, so it was a natural to choose “The Real Thing” for the coach’s dinner, giving back to Marwah’s business. Marwah gave the Network a significant break on the price of the subs.

“I wanted to do it. It’s a good thing. You guys are doing so much,” he said.

Marwah’s cheesesteaks are legendary in the area. “I learned from the best—Geno’s in Philadelphia,” Marwah said. Marwah moved from New Delhi, India in 1983 and got a job at Geno’s, where he worked for nine months learning how to run a restaurant. He brought those skills to “The Real Thing,” and business is booming.

He says some folks say his subs are better than Geno’s, but Marwah said, “You can’t beat them. And, no one’s better than their teacher.”

Church Planting Ministry Assistant Nikki Taylor, who loves to bake, provided an array of homemade, specially designed “MABN” cupcakes for dessert.