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Apr 19, 2011 07:26 PM

quintessential baltimore?

ny chowhounder heading to baltimore for a couple of days. What should I eat that I can't get in NYC? or maybe something that's just a whole lot better than nyc? Things that come to mind are crabs and crab cakes but I'd guess the season isn't really in full swing until june/july. How about baltimore pit beef?

all suggestions welcome.

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  1. I am not a Baltimore local, but Faidley's at Lexington Market is well worth checking out. The market is a big, hopping sort of place and Faidley's is a perfect bit of Americana. The crab cakes are meaty and delicious, though they do vary a bit. But eating a crabcake and a dozen of the best oysters I have seen in a good while make a truly great lunch, even if there is only room to stand while you are eating. Faidley's is Baltimore to me.

    Lexington Market
    400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ziv

      If you go to Faidley's, try to go on a Saturday afternoon, between noon and 2:00. They have live music in the market and it's always a lot of fun (full discosure - I'm a musician and my band has played there a few times.)

      If you want a cheap beer while listening to the band, go to the little pizza joint there. It's something like $2.75 for a Heineken.

      1. re: 4X4

        thanks, I'd thought of lexington market but we'll have three chowhounds-in-training (my kids) in tow. They are very adventurous eaters but I've read that lexington market might not be the best area for them. true or overstated?

        1. re: vinouspleasure

          Plenty of tourists and other folks hit Lexington Market, but it's not cleaned up like RTM in Philly. I have no qualms whatsoever about taking my family there, other than the fact that I don't care that much for Faidley's.

          1. re: vinouspleasure

            I see families with kids there every time I go. It's not the nicest area, but it's pretty safe. The kids might see some homeless people and drug addicts - probably nothing they haven't seen in NYC.

            The market is also very close to the church where Edgar Allen Poe is buried. You and the kids might like that.

      2. If you're shooting for "quintessential" Baltimore pit beef then you have to hit up Chaps. It's a little pit beef shop in the parking lot of a strip club. Best pit beef in the city. If you want a crabcake then (as previously mentioned) Faidleys is a good spot. You could also drive a bit outside the city and hit up G&M's. It's not Baltimore at that point but their crabcakes are killer.

        15 Replies
        1. re: doperry

          I couldn't disagree more, Chaps is pretty tasteless as are G&M foreign crab meat crab cakes.
          For good crab cakes:
          Henninger's Tavern, Fells Point (
          )Dudas, Fells Point
          Mamas on the Half Shell, Canton (


          you also want to try "steamed shrimp", you usually see that in NYC as "peel and eat shrimp" served cold but these are piping hot, cooked to order!

          this is a good no nonsense place to eat too:
          The Dizz, Remington (

          1. re: hon

            I think we're just going to have to disagree on this one. Chaps is my favorite pit beef place in the city. Where else can you get a half-n-half, pit beef sandwhich, and gravy fries that even comes close?

              1. re: hon

                Chaps is ok, but I prefer the other pit beef stand further east on Pulaski highway.

                1. re: elgringoviejo

                  The pit beef place that gets mentioned the ost on this board is Pioneer Pit Beef in Catonsville. Caveat: I haven't been to it or Chaps.

                  1. re: JonParker

                    I actually don't think that Pioneer is the best. I think Beefalo Bob's, the one that's strictly carry-out as opposed to their sit down place, wins hands down.

                    Beefalo Bob's
                    107 Mountain Rd, Pasadena, MD 21122

                    1. re: baltoellen

                      Don't get down to Pasadena, so I can't have an opinion on Beefalo Bob's. Piooneer's pit beef is very good IMO, but perhaps the Route 40 west Ellicott City branch of Canopy is slightly better. Wish I could remember the name of that pit beef place on 40 further east than Chaps. All are quite good, perhaps with gas costing almost four bucks a gallon the best policy might be to patronize whichever is closest. Fieri glommed onto Chaps because he is the Great Touristic Diner and hits the obvious spots, but opften misses the smaller, less well-known gems. Just one man's opinion.

                      1. re: elgringoviejo

                        What I find interesting about the Canopy website is that the beef they are slicing up looks overcooked, medium-well.

                        The only reason why I always direct people to Pioneer is that when I lived in Baltimore for one year, many moons ago, I tried a couple of pit beef places and was underwhelmed. When I read that City Paper thought that Pioneer was best, I gave it a go and the difference was like night and day. I will have to try Canopy or Beefalo Bob's one of these days.

                        Beefalo Bob's
                        107 Mountain Rd, Pasadena, MD 21122

                        1. re: Steve

                          The beef at Canopy is always rare and delicious. I go there, well...a lot. Maybe 3-4 times a month. There are a few other trailers on Route 1 I hit during the good weather, but the Canopy is my regular.

                        2. re: elgringoviejo

                          Haven't been to the Route 40 Canopy (and am not planning to), but I found the pit beef at the Glen Burnie Canopy quite unimpressive.

                          1. re: Hal Laurent

                            I have been to the Route 40 Canopy, unimpressive is the perfect description.

                            1. re: hon

                              I like the fact that they serve Ocean fries with what is IMO a perfectly decent pit beef. I would go to Pioneer when I am in the Rolling Road neighborhood and Canopy when in Ellicott. BTW let me put in a good word for the pit beef at Little Texas at 8014 Pulaski Highway in Rosedale.

                          2. re: elgringoviejo

                            I agree with elgringoviejo - Pioneer is good but really not any better than Canopy. I guess I expected to get my socks knocked off after all the raves, but it's just beef on a bun. Plus Canopy has my favorite fries, Md. crab soup, mac & cheese and other things. Heck, maybe they're the quintessential Md. casual eating experience. Either that, or a lake trout/chicken box place.

                          3. re: baltoellen

                            Is Pasadena the strictly carry-out location? Where is the other?

                            1. re: Steve

                              The one in Pasadena on Mountain Road is strictly carry out. The other one is in/around Curtis Bay. (I've only had pit beef from the Mt Rd location. I do know that the CB location doesn't have the same sort of smoker, so why bother....)

                              I've been to Pioneer a couple of times, and while I think they make a very good beef sandwich, I've never detected much of a smokey flavor.

                              I'll be interested to learn what people think when they get to Beefalo Bob's. (And, yes, I know that Pasadena is a haul for many of us--myself included--but at least pit beef is cheap eats, so it all balances out!)

                              Beefalo Bob's
                              107 Mountain Rd, Pasadena, MD 21122

              2. Two 'only-in-Baltimore' treats:

                Pioneer Pit Beef is literally a shack underneath the highway. Order the beef medium rare, they will give you a sample. My standard is a sandwich with tiger sauce, but I have been known to order it by the pound and eat it straight.

                Bill's Terrace Inn for pickin' crabs. They open at 4pm. Get there early or expect a serious wait.

                You'll need a car for both.

                There is also this thread:


                1 Reply
                1. re: Steve

                  I second Pioneer - just make sure it's not raining.

                  I also dissent against G&M - nice interior but not a good crab cake. However, on a different token, just down the road (within eyesight) of G&M is Snyder's Willow Grove. Basically this is a time machine to the 40's or 50's for some good homestyle food. Their fried chicken is good. This is a Hon type of place (where they may call you Hon).

                  I do like Faidley's, and no you shouldn't worry about Lex Mkt - especially coming from NYC. When I go I actually go more for the spicy fried chicken (numerous places, though I prefer a place against the far wall).

                  Snyder's Willow Grove
                  841 N Hammonds Ferry Rd, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

                  Lex Cafe
                  111 Massachusetts Ave NW Ste Bsmt, Washington, DC 20001

                2. Like to get crabs at Frank's in Jessup on Oceano off 175 running east of Toute One right next to the Wholesale Seafood Market. Make my own cakes, and with McCormick's crab cake mix it is as easy as pie. King's Kabob on the Avenue in Hampden has bab ghanouj, chicken kabobs, and fresh-baked Middle Eastern bread as as that to be obtained up there in the town so nice they named it twice at well-below Big Apple prices. Angelo's at Keswick and 36th also in Hampden offers ginormous slice of thin-crust slices at Baltimore prices. The Lexington market is quite safe IMO, and Andy's offers gut-buster cheesesteaks for a very reasonable price. Since I am a cheap bastard, I often get my oysters on the half shell on the cheapside West market, rather than paying estra at Faidley's on the east side. Finally, i would recommend the taramasalat and beef tas kabob at Ikaros in Greektown on Eastern Avenue even though I am aware that NY, NY is noted for its Greek cuisine.