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Baltimore for a weekend

Hey everyone,

A group of us from Boston and NYC are heading to Baltimore for the World Football Challange July 24th-25th. We will be staying near the Inner Harbor.

On the 24th we will be looking for a lunch spot and then a place for dinner near M&T Bank Stadium before the game at 8:00. After the match a cocktail bar would be nice for all of us to hang that evening as well.

On the 25th, breakfast and Lunch before we head off to the airport.

Now the criteria. We would all love to try some of the Baltimore classics like Steamed Crab, Pit Beef, Lake trout, Coddies, etc....Now I know that when people come to Boston I advise them not to JUST eat Chowder, Lobster Rolls and Oysters, but I think that it would be nice to at least try something that Baltimore is known for throughout the country.

For dinner the night of the match we would need a moderately priced restaurant (Entrees under $25), casual (We will be in our Jerseys) but a fun and active atmosphere; and most of all important Excellent food where the Chef and Kitchen staff are top notch. We have no preferences on ethnic or American.

Thank you in advance.

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  1. In Federal Hill (walking distance south of Inner Harbor):Cross St market, Mother's, McGerks, Looney's (Canton) Pickles is right next to the stadium, Locust Point (across the water from the Inner Harbor where Ft Henry is) used to have lots of neighborhood haunts, but the area has changed since the last time I was around.

    These places don't have 'chefs' but illegal aliens in the back or owner operated; but a true piece of Ballimur

    1. Pioneer Pit Beef is fantastic, literally a shack underneath the highway just west of Baltimore. No seating at all, eat on your car. Not open Sundays. Get the roast beef with tiger sauce (creamy horseradish). Don't fool around with their other meats cause you may want a second pit beef sandwich.

      They have both steamed crabs and coddies at Gunnings. You'll need a car to get there. Wherever you go at that time of year, expect a long wait for crabs unless you get in as soon as the place opens.

      If you need a place easy enough to get to by taxi, then go to Attman's. Batimore is also famous for the corned beef, and Attman's is located on the historic Corned Beef Row, though there are only three places left now. Corned beef, pastrami (I like a combo), and brisket are all top tier. Good knishes as well.

      1. Thank you for the rec's so far, one major piece of information I left out is that we will be car-less, so the restaurants will have to be either Public Transport accessible, by foot or cab.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Matt H

          One cool thing about Baltimore is that you can take the water taxi to all the different "neighborhoods on the water". Ask the taxi attendant and he will tell you where to get off and which way to walk towards your destination. $7 to ride all day.

          Fells Point - One Eyed Mike's, Duda's, Max's Tap House (best beer selection in town)

          Canton - Mama's On The Half Shell, Mahaffey's (great beer selection)

          Federal Hill - Ryleigh's, Mother's, Cork's

          Check out all the above places online and look at their menus. Also, right near the stadium is Pickles, which will have a "beer garden" open outside the day of the games.

        2. Friday Lunch...agree with Steve Attman's
          on Lombard street..walkable from the Inner Harbor..great deli(corned beef, on rye, mustard a half done pickle and a Dr Browns Cream soda) and coddies are usually available...
          Friday Ryleighs
          on Cross Street not that far from M&T Stadium(across Hamburg Street and south on Charles Street) Great Oyster bar with crabcakes.
          Drinks later wander back to Cross Street area make a choice.
          Saturday breakfast at Miss Shirley's
          on Pratt Street...Lunch head to Little Italy and find Isabellas http://isabellasbrickoven.net/default...
          or great sandwiches/pizza

          1. Thank you so far for the rec's, based on what I see so far:

            Fri Lunch: Attman's
            Fri Dinner: Ryleigh's
            Sat Breakfast: Miss Shirley's

            After searching it seems as if it is going to be quite difficult to find a Pit Beef spot that is close enough to downtown that we can access it. Any hope at all, even if its a half decent place we will be happy.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Matt H

              Can't help on the pit beef -- now, if you were staying through SUNDAY morning, there would be excellent pit beef under the freeway at the Sunday farmers' market.

              I would rethink Miss Shirleys for breakfast on Saturday. The downtown location is in a new office building and you could as easily be in Minneapolis or Kansas City. Not far away is the Blue Moon --

              1621 Aliceanna St
              Baltimore, MD 21231-2925
              (410) 522-3940

              which has excellent food (quite a bit more down to earth) but tends to fill up early.

              1. re: lawhound

                The Minneapolis and Kansas City references gave me a good chuckle... seems like a strange comparison!

                Based on what the OP has described above, I would reccomend Miss Shirley's over Blue Moon 10 out of 10 times. If you are looking for top-notch, original, and well-executed dishes, Miss Shirley's is surely the place to be. Granted the location and atmosphere might not be as "interesting" (read as: 20 minute walk followed by a 60 minute wait followed by frech toast crusted in captain crunch for $12. WTF?).

                1. re: gregb

                  I love both Miss Shirley's and Blue Moon but you will be seated immediately at Miss Shirley's and it is way closer.

                  I ate at Miss Shirley's Monday morning. It was a beautiful day and I sat outside, next to the canal. There were lovely flowers and a view of the shot tower and the harbor. Fantastic food. Could not have asked for a better location. My omelet was $14, but it was filled with shrimp so I can't complain.

              2. re: Matt H

                No pit beef. There's nothing (except the Farmer's market on Sunday). It's very sad.

                1. re: dcopeland

                  I know it's gotten mixed reviews on this board, but the new place Harborque just off Key Highway offers pit beef.

                  Harbor Que
                  1421 Lawrence St, Baltimore, MD

                  1. re: bordeauxfan

                    Really??? That's huge news. Have you tried it? Is it really pit beef? Because I've seen bbq places that claim to have pit beef and really just have bbq-ed shredded beef.

                    1. re: bordeauxfan

                      Harborque is the worst bbq I've ever had. It used to be a pit beef/Indian food joint and now the same owners made it into a bbq place. I don't even think they have a smoker.

                      1. re: abovethewaves

                        So after looking at Google Maps it seems like Chaps Pit Beef is accessible by the Bus (35 Bus). Would it be an advisable trip to plan?

                        1. re: Matt H

                          It would be a very long bus ride, and you'd want to hope the bus stop is very close to Chaps, as it's not a pedestrian-friendly area. Might take awhile to get a bus back, also, especially on a weekend. I'd probably advise against it.

                          1. re: Hal Laurent

                            Yeah...I wouldn't recommend the bus to anyone. Either water taxi or regular taxi all weekend.

                2. If you're going to federal hill I would maybe try Little Havanas for crabs or brunch on Saturday! They have great brunch specials (I usually go on Sun but Sat can't be bad!) and you can get crabs there as well. I agree with the Ryleighs posts as well. They don't have the best steam crabs around, but if you're on foot, you might be limited to this. Make sure you walk to the harbor too at least!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jennyjk

                    No offense but I'd do a search on this board on Little Havana before heading there for the food. Nine out of ten Hounders disagree with the above endorsement.

                    1. re: bordeauxfan

                      Agreed bordeauxfan. I went to Little Havana's for brunch last month and it was absolutely disgusting. Seriously. I only ate it because I was super hungry. The "sofrito" was a watery, bland, overly tomato-y mess that completely overpowered my baked eggs, which might have been a good thing since they had the consistency of overcooked eggbeaters. Service also was terrible. Apparently the recommendations I thought I had read about this place were based solely on the cheap price and all you can drink mimosas. Anyone who actually wants someting edible should look elsewhere, IMO.

                      1. re: charmedgirl

                        Little Havana is atrocious. For a more fun brunch in that area go to the Hull Street Blues Cafe. It's not gourmet but it is lively and tasty.

                        Hull Street Blues Cafe
                        1222 Hull St, Baltimore, MD 21230

                  2. So it was a great weekend in Baltimore. Chelsea beat AC Milan 2-1, the stadium was sold out (72k!) and the celebration afterwards was a good time.

                    Most relevant though is the food, here is a brief report:

                    Attman's Deli: We went directly there after checking in, not too long of a wait and even if there was it would have been worth it. I ordered the Hot Corned Beef, Nice portion, super tender and delicious. I can see why this is a Baltimore institution.

                    Ryleighs Oyster: Before the match we went to Ryleighs Oyster for dinner. The place was packed but they were able to get us a table upstairs. To start off I had a half dozen oysters from Maryland (Cant remember the name) Very sweet, fresh and tasty. For my entree I had the Maryland Crab Cakes which were incredible. Perfectly sauteed, great flaky crab meat and the hand cut fries were also very nice, overall just a great dish. Plus on top of all this they had Fullers on draft for $2! A nice way to wash everything down before the game.

                    I also would like to mention the excellent service at Ryleighs. It was packed because of being so close to the stadium, plus our server made sure to ask us what time the match started so that he could get us out of there in time. Well he and kitchen handled themselves flawlessly and we got out just in time to catch the opening of the game, kudos to the staff.

                    Miss Shirley's Cafe: The next day we woke up late after the aforementioned celebrating in Federal Hill at the bar, so we had time to hit Miss Shirleys right before we headed out. I ordered the Chicken and Waffles. I have tried Chicken and waffles all around (Up north, down south, etc..) but Miss Shirley's spin on the classic was excellent. The White Cheddar Green Onion waffles, the Jalapeno Butter and Honey Mustard syrup all really complimented each other perfectly. Most importantly though the chicken was perfectly fried and juicy.

                    Overall a great weekend in a very underrated and overlooked city that I love spending time in, thank you again for all your recommendations. I will be in DC end of next month so I look forward to picking your brains again in the near future.