by Emily Bihl
For a city whose cultural points of recognition are commonly “The Wire” or John Waters, Baltimore is a constantly evolving town that has a lot to offer visitors and locals of all types, as we learned in our video guide to the city a few years ago. During a recent trip there, we stopped in to check out some of the newer additions to Baltimore’s food and drink scene. From relaxed spots to have a coffee to craft beer and oysters, there’s a delicious treat for every kind of tastebud in the oft-dubbed Charm City.
The laid-back breakfast and lunch offshoot of the wildly popular Woodberry Kitchen, a stop by Artifact Coffee is the perfect way to start the day in Baltimore After a walk to their out-of-the-way location, sample the unusually refreshing Basil Mint Creamy—an iced latte blended with house-made mint-basil syrup for an invigorating twist. Artifact’s commitment to local products can be seen not only regarding their partnerships with nearby farms, but throughout the entire store. The shelves of their market wall encourage shopping local and stocking up for later. Artifact excels where Woodberry Kitchen is so successful—a rustic, eclectic atmosphere, ultra-knowledgeable staff and delicious food to round out the experience.
A 19th century mill might not be the first place you’d look for fresh, innovative pizza, but then again just about everything about Baltimore evades expectations. More unusual still is Birroteca’s “Duck Duck Goose” pizza, featuring duck confit and fig-onion jam, topped off with a duck egg. Birroteca proudly offers 24 craft beers on tap to complement its pizzas, as well as an ever-changing cocktail menu. At Birroteca, the drinks play just as an important as a role as their tasty farm-to-table food.
Dylan’s Oyster Cellar
Baltimore newcomers Dooby’s Coffee have already put quite a mark on the place less than one year after opening. In addition to a covetable menu of pastries by day and ramen by night, we have Dooby’s to thank for Dylan’s Oyster Cellar. Housed in a partially underground space dubbed The Hatch, Dylan’s is just one of a rotating cast of retail and restaurant pop-ups that will inhabit the location—and it’s not to be missed. Dylan’s array of rich, vibrant oysters run the gamut from the umami-tinged Sea Cow to Maryland Skinny Dippers. Resist the urge to top them with anything; there’s little to improve upon the natural flavor.
With such a ubiquitous neighborhood feel, the one thing the Hampden area had been missing was a corner ice cream shop. Until The Charmery arrived, bringing with it an unassuming wholesomeness that is sure to satisfy kids and adults alike. We found their bold, Baltimore-specific offerings to be a treat: Berger Cookies & Cream reinterprets a classic pairing with the eponymous local confection, fudge-laden Berger cookies. The Old Bay Salted Caramel takes a favorite and amps it up a notch with distinct notes of the familiar spice blend. The Charmery is the perfect way to peek in on local culture while getting a welcome sugar fix.
Other Corner Charcuterie
Adjoining—both literally and figuratively—the success of sister restaurant Corner BYOB, the Other Corner Charcuterie pushes the envelope with unexpected fare and an eccentric Europe-via-Baltimore vibe. A selection of local cheeses and cured meats provide the baseline for more adventurous surprises (seared frog legs, escargot) that channel the owner’s Belgian background. With the option to BYOB from the extensive Wine Source store (conveniently located behind the building) or enjoy carefully crafted cocktails on-site, there’s no shortage of ways to embolden yourself to try even the most unusual offerings.
Word of Mouth presents a destination the way we experienced it. Following both trusted tips and our own whims we explore with the goal of finding what’s unique to that place. For deeper looks at some of our favorite metropolises, check out our CH City Guides.
Photos by Jamera Ésus